Why I Represent Domestic Violence Defendants

attorney randy collins

 
Friends ask me “How can you defend someone who commits domestic violence?” as if people are only entitled to a defense if they are accused of littering or jaywalking. It’s a question people ask criminal defense lawyers all the time.
 
My answer is “All of my clients are presumed innocent. A lot of them really are innocent. And even if I know they are guilty, I also know they have the right to make the government prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s a right that keeps us safe from tyranny.”
 
Every individual who is accused of a crime has the right to a fair trial and to be represented by a lawyer. Those rights apply to the innocent and guilty alike. My job in domestic violence cases is to protect the rights of the accused and to make the government behave reasonably. I’m proud that I do that job well.
 

Attorneys as counselors

 
I don’t represent clients charged with domestic violence crimes because I approve of abusing spouses or family members. I hope the victims of domestic violence get the help they need to live in a safe environment. I also hope that abusers get the help they need to change their behavior.
 
If a client tells me that he directed an angry act of violence toward a spouse or domestic partner, I urge that client to get help to prevent that behavior from reoccurring. Anger management classes and other programs designed to prevent domestic abuse make a difference in people’s lives. Jail sentences only feed anger.
 
Attorneys are more than hired guns. We are advocates but we are also counselors. Part of our job involves giving clients the benefit of sound advice that is based on the knowledge we acquire as lawyers. Sometimes that means referring clients to other specialists who can help them resolve emotional problems that underlie their legal problems.
 
During the course of my law practice, I’ve worked with therapists and other professionals who can help my clients overcome the experiences that caused them to become abusive. My ability to help clients improve their lives by referring them to treatment providers is one reason I represent people who are guilty of domestic violence. If I can help break the cycle of violence, I’m doing more good for my clients than a prosecutor or judge who thinks that jail sentences are the answer to all of society’s problems.
 

Protecting the innocent

 
Of course, when friends ask how I can represent someone in a domestic violence case if I know they are guilty, they assume that I always know the truth. In fact, I wasn’t there. I didn’t see what happened. All I know is that everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence. If I don’t presume that my clients are innocent, who will?
 
Many of my clients are falsely accused. Their accuser may be telling a lie out of spite or a desire for revenge. One parent might accuse the other of domestic violence to gain an advantage in custody proceedings. Some accusers want the sympathy or attention that comes from labeling themselves as a victim. There are all kinds of motives for making false accusations of domestic violence. I represent the accused so I can expose those lies and protect the innocent from wrongful convictions.
 

Making the system work

 
Domestic violence convictions have serious consequences. Nobody should be exposed to those consequences unless the legal system has addressed their cases fairly. The criminal justice system is like a steamroller that crushes defendants who do not have a strong advocate to make judges and prosecutors see them as people rather than statistics.
 
There are two sides to every story. A victim of domestic violence has the right to be heard but so does the accused. Accusations are often blown out of proportion. Sometimes there is a mitigating explanation for the accused’s conduct. Even if my client violated the law and is prepared to accept a consequence, the consequence should be fair and proportional to the client’s misconduct. By making prosecutors and judges understand my client’s life and actions, I am often able to make them shut off the steamroller and behave reasonably.
 

free-case-evaluation

 
The criminal justice system doesn’t work without criminal defense lawyers who are dedicated to making it work. That’s my job. It is a job I am proud to do well, whether my clients are accused of domestic violence or any other crime.
 
Need assistance with your domestic violence charges? Call (888) 250-2865 to obtain a free case evaluation.

  • http://www.peopleschoicelaw.com/ People’s Choice Law

    Hi Randy, great post. I do want to point out though I think you forgot a key word in the 4th paragraph of your blog. I don’t think you meant to say, “I approve of abusing spouses or family members,” as in the sentence below:

    “I don’t represent clients charged with domestic violence crimes because I approve of abusing spouses or family members.”

    • AttorneyRandyCollins

      Hi People’s Choice Law,

      Thanks for the comment. I actually did mean to say “I don’t represent clients charged with domestic violence crimes because I approve of abusing spouses or family members”. I can see how that could be misinterpreted, but it is what I meant to say nonetheless. If you look at the rest of the paragraph I believe it is quite clear as to my intent. I could have said “I do represent clients charged with domestic violence crimes because I do not approve of abusing spouses or family members”. They both mean the same thing.

  • MollyPurpLean

    I went to jail for DV neighbors called the cops my wife have a skin disease so her body always red I’m black she asain it was nothing physical all verbal stuff so they charged me with DV she told I did nothing physical at all I still go jail I’m worried because I don’t know wat to do clean record trying to keep it that way any advice would help

    • AttorneyRandyCollins

      Hi Molly. I suggest taking advantage of a free case evaluation from an attorney in your area. They will help you to evaluate your situation.

  • Dante Quinn

    I have a public defense lawyer , who seems pretty good on this, He say’s she has nothing on me .I have gone to three court hearings on this , It has been postponed. He is talking to the DA about reducing this as an ADC. I am proactive ,and attending anger Mgmt, as well as regular therapy to show the court I am serious about getting this dismissed…

  • http://cabreralawoffices.com/ petercabrera

    Great article. Domestic violence remains a serious problem in our society.Very few cases in our legal system move with the speed of domestic violence hearings. As such, it is often difficult to marshal all facts and witnesses in time for trial. Nevertheless, attorneys can adequately defend persons falsely accused of committing acts of domestic violence. To do this, attorneys must be prepared to work expeditiously and to treat domestic violence cases with the importance that they deserve.

  • http://www.indiobailbonds.com/ Indiobailbonds

    If you have children, you may want to talk to a domestic violence advocate or a lawyer in your state about how to present any evidence about what your abuser has done to the children. You want to be sure not to present this information in a way that may implicate you in some way (i.e., you don’t want to be accused of failing to protect your children from abuse) and so asking a lawyer for advice on this topic is often best.

  • John

    Have a question in this area. .you wife and I got in an argument which elevated we kinda wrestled a bit and Hand were going. We bother ended up slapping each other in. The scuffle the neighbors called and I got charged for domestic violence and battery. Neigh there of us have any marks and neither of us press charges but the police said the state is pressie charges. California any suggestions would like to get it dismissed

    • AttorneyRandyCollins

      Hi John,

      This is a very common situation. I suggest contacting an attorney you trust in your area for a free consultation to help determine your best options moving forward.

      Take care,

      Randy

  • Rocco

    I was false charges by my ex in nh I was scared into taking a deal but this has ruined my life what are my options I’m running out of time please help

    • AttorneyRandyCollins

      Hi Rocco,

      I suggest contacting an attorney you trust in your area for a free consultation. Going over your situation on a public forum is not in your best interest.

      Take care,

      Randy

      • Rocco

        Thank you

  • Donna Hurd

    I’m am being treated like a criminal in a incompetent trial and denied my rights to see my son based on lies. I was accused of threatening a doctor to take my son out of the hospital when I brought him to the hospital. I was accused of not providing services to my deaf blind 20 year old son, when the Dept health & human Svcs. Blocked all Svcs to him for years. State deaf schools are under dhhs, broke state & federal laws ( were charged). My son was raped while in school, got STD not found till almost year later. I took him to health Dept for std test. I was also slanderer @ hospital from DSS- representative, claiming I had sexually abused him and was a compulsive liar, while I stayed in hospital for 72 days, (DSS- didn’t provide Svcs, interpreters during surgery). I was wrote in attendance of a court trial before a Judge that I never attended. My attorney gave convent for emergency protection I never agreed to, was not allowed to go in front of Judge only Clerk of Superior Court. Two trials were inter twinded, but i was never told about other trial. My son didn’t want help from DSS-, Atty ad litem lied say he did want her to represent him, then claimed after his consent he became incompetent. I don’t know where my son is, how he is doing & only seen him short supervised visit on Oct. 25 since I was forced to leave him on Oct. 5.

    • Donna Hurd

      Sorry my Atty gave my concent I never agreed on in trial was not told about.

  • jmcuruguay

    I pleded not guilty at court 1year and half ago, but was made to take classes for domestic violence back then the prosecuter woudln’t let my wife remove the charges, she made both of us continue and sign this paper to take classes which i did and they said that in upcomeing may of 17, they will be able to dismiss my chrges what the prosecuter told me then was that she will remove it form my recoed, and that it woudn’t affect immigration, Well now i just form out by reading online that that stays for ever. If i would of knownn i would of fought my case because i really didn’t do anythign to her that day. I still have my final convection on May of 17 is there anything i can still do?

  • Denean Gray

    I had a DV case in 2000 I did 90 days in jail and I havent been in any trouble sense. Im going to school for ultrasound tech and I know this DV is on my record ,how can I get this expunged and how muchwhat will it cost? Thank you Denean

  • Patpat Jones

    Pat
    I recently been just accused of felony domestic violence toward my ex fiancé.she told the cops i slapped her and when they got there they asked her did he choke you and she said yes. Later i was jailed and just got out on bond a few month’s ago, she ended up signing a affidavit and saying i didnt touch her she was just mad and the cops kinda persuaded her to say the choke part. We had no restraining order in place so we needed up geting back together and s low and behold we broke up i told her i was finna leave and she called the DA and told them i slapped her again, both times she had no bruises on her at all, the DA wanna take it to trial because. In the 911 call on the first offense they say it sounds like her store is true. Then she told them i told her to sign the affidavit and say she was lying. The 911 call does sound like its something going on in the back but not any choking. I have a court appointed lawyer and he keep telling me to get on the stand and explain the 911 call but i get nervous when i talk in front of people and i dont think thsts a good idea

  • ladyslick

    My daughter was involved in a domestic violence situation on February 2015. The guy was in the military hit her. They were both arrested because the officer said he could not determine who was the aggressor. He made bail that same evening. But she had a knot on her head so they took her to the emergency room. We hired an attorney, had to pay the doctor bill and now is faced with charges she cannot join the national guard. But he is going on with his life. What can be done to clear her record so that she can join the military?

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