Josh Harper | September 9, 2021 | Domestic Violence
The prosecution tactics in domestic violence cases in Texas present unique challenges for criminal defense attorneys and their clients.
Here, we discuss some of the common tricks employed by prosecutors to make you look bad and secure a conviction or guilty plea. Fortunately, our Plano defense attorneys know about these tactics and have strategies to defend our clients against them.
Prosecutors are known to overcharge all types of cases, but overcharging most frequently occurs in domestic violence (DV) cases. DV cases seem to really rub judges and prosecutors the wrong way. It is almost like they forget you are entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty under the Constitution.
Overcharging in domestic violence cases usually means the prosecutor throws the book at you. They can either charge you with a felony when it should have been charged as only a misdemeanor or “charge pile” you with multiple crimes for one incident.
For example, a clear misdemeanor assault could be charged as a felony. They do this to coerce you into accepting a guilty plea to avoid the felony or multiple charges.
Manipulating the History of the Relationship
Prosecutors are also skilled at manipulating the history of the relationship to make you look bad and make the victim look like a saint, regardless of reality. One way they do this is they argue to suppress evidence of the victim’s criminal history in order to hide this information from the jury. At the same time, they will argue that your criminal history needs to be shown to the jury, and then argue that because you were guilty in the past you are guilty now.
This practice is unfair, and a good attorney knows how to fight back against attempts to manipulate the past. Every case and incident stands alone and the state is required to prove every element of this case, not a past case. If the victim has acted aggressively towards you the jury should know about it.
The prosecution may also try to elicit testimony that makes you look like a terrible person, bringing up really minor incidents from the past that are irrelevant and may have a rational explanation. It is important to counter this kind of testimony with evidence of our own about the victim.
No Contact Orders to Prevent Reconciliation
Another prosecution tactic in domestic violence cases that is particularly reprehensible is the use of no-contact orders as a bond condition during the pre-trial process which can take months and months. Prosecutors almost always ask for no-contact orders in domestic violence cases, with no regard for whether there is any actual danger to the victim.
The prosecution claims they want no-contact orders to protect the victim, but the reality is that they don’t want the couple to reconcile and heal. This is because the prosecution would lose their star witness against you. By doing this, the State rips families and parent-child relationships apart, all because they want a conviction. Good defense attorneys know how important it is to fight hard against no-contact orders to preserve your family.
Recording Your Phone Calls
The State of Texas is also skilled at using your phone calls from jail against you by recording them. They may obtain an incriminating statement or admission you made on the phone talking to someone about the incident.
If you call the victim the State is known to frequently file an additional criminal charge of witness intimidation. Seemingly innocent words like “come on you don’t want me to get in trouble” can be the foundation for significantly increased jail time.
Make sure that you do not discuss the incident or case with the victim in any way whatsoever. In fact, you should never speak on the phone with anyone about your case, because all your calls may be recorded.
Taking Sides and Calling You a Liar
Domestic violence cases, more so than any other kind of case, are always a “he said – she said” situation. In order to resolve these cases, the police simply pick a side to believe so they can finish their paperwork and go home. Usually the police side with the woman, or whoever called 911 first, even if both parties were violent or the other person was the victim.
Regardless, if you have been accused of domestic violence you are almost certainly being called a liar by the police, who have decided to believe the other person. This arbitrary decision of who to believe has massive impacts on the accused. This is why Edgett Law Firm takes domestic violence cases in Plano, TX so seriously. You have a right to due process of law – and we’ll fight to make sure it’s fully exercised.