Fairfax Domestic Violence Investigations
Typically, Fairfax domestic violence investigations begin when someone calls law enforcement. The moment police show up at a scene and begin intervening, the person has a right to a lawyer. Police will interview the alleged victim who called them, any other witnesses, as well as the accused. According to Virginia law, police are supposed to, in every case, determine the primary aggressor and charge someone. Domestic violence is a serious offense in Fairfax and police officials handle it accordingly. They protract an investigation, and the charges come almost immediately.
If law enforcement is called against you for domestic violence offenses, it is imperative that you speak with a trained and knowledgeable local lawyer. Police need to determine the primary aggressor to press charges, and if they interview you or investigate the scene, you have the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent until you have legal counsel. It is important that you do not admit to violence because anything you say or do in front of a law enforcement official can be used against you in a court of law. You should request to speak with an attorney right away.
Determining the Primary Aggressor
Police must determine the primary aggressor so they can charge the subject with domestic violence offenses. The primary aggressor is can be a subjective determination. In most cases, officials are going to be looking at who started it in terms of not necessarily who started the argument but who was the person to commit an act of violence. In some cases, who has the most injuries can be a significant answer, and all other things being equal, gender can be a factor in that determination.
Rights During an Investigation
All of the rights that are guaranteed to an individual under the US and the Virginia Constitution attach and remain throughout the domestic violence investigation in Fairfax and throughout the entire process. That is going to include everything from the person’s rights under the Fourth Amendment to not be reasonably detained or to be unreasonably searched for their rights under the Fifth Amendment to not incriminate themselves and their right under the Sixth Amendment to have counsel be with them at every important juncture in their case.
Treatment Before Conviction
It is easy to feel like someone has already been convicted when they are charged with domestic violence because often, the charges will arise based on the testimony or the accusation of someone else and nothing more, and often the person will find themselves arrested when the only evidence that is available is that someone else says that they have committed that act. That can make it feel like the system is rigged against someone as long as there has been a conclusion that is jumped to by the police.
It is important to keep in mind while it is to get easy to get a charge, the system is set up so it is much more difficult to get a conviction. The system is set up so that it is easy to obtain a charge but it is much more difficult to obtain a conviction. While the standard for a charge issuing is probable cause, which is a fairly low standard, to obtain a conviction, the prosecution has to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest standard of evidence that exists in the law. Just because someone has been charged with something is no reason to lose hope or to run up a white flag. There are a number of ways that these cases could be defended and, often, the outcome may not be a conviction.
Benefits of a Lawyer
It is important to have a domestic violence lawyer at someone’s side at every step of the investigation because there are critical things that can be done to assist them during the investigation and there are also a number of common mistakes that people make that can make their case much more difficult to defend from the outset. If someone is in a scenario where the police have been called to their home, where they are suspected of domestic violence, if they are able to reach out to an attorney right away, that can be beneficial. In many instances, someone is going to be detained by police or they are simply not going to have that option, and so the best thing that someone can do is not making statements to anyone until they have an opportunity to talk with a lawyer, and they should clearly assert to the police that they want an attorney and that they are not answering any questions.
The best thing you can do during an investigation is request legal counsel before giving any statements. Law enforcement is trained to determine the primary aggressor during domestic violence situations and determine if there is sound evidence to press charges. Once you request an attorney, police officials cannot talk to you without your lawyer present. Legal representatives can ensure that your rights are not being violated during Fairfax domestic violence investigations.