What to Expect in a DC Spousal Abuse Case

If a person has been accused by a spouse of committing an assault, the person could be arrested and charged with a criminal offense and prosecuted by the US attorney’s office. An important thing to know is that when a person has been charged with a domestic violence offense, it is not up to the accuser to decide to press charges or dismiss charges. These are not civil matters in which the person making the accusation has that kind of power over the case.

To better understand what to expect in a DC spousal abuse case, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. An experienced DC spousal abuse lawyer will be able to prepare an individual for the legal process and aim to produce a successful outcome on their behalf.

Dropping the Charges

Clients often ask if the accuser has the ability to drop the charges or decline to press charges. The answer to those questions is no. The US Attorney’s Office or the prosecutors who represent Washington, DC, represent the government.

They file criminal charges and they are the ones who get to decide whether a prosecution moves forward or does not move forward. It is the case that prosecutors can take into consideration the desires and feelings of a person making an accusation and may sometimes say that they do not want to prosecute the case if the initial accuser may not want to be involved anymore. It is important that individuals expect this circumstance during their DC spousal abuse case.

Moving Forward with the Charge

Ultimately, an accuser is a witness in a criminal offense and prosecutors get to decide whether they would like to move forward with charging a person with a crime and either resolving the matter without a trial or potentially proceeding with the trial to secure a conviction and sentencing.

If a person has been accused, they can expect, during their DC spousal abuse case, to possibly be arrested and charged with a criminal offense and appear before a judge who imposes release conditions that a person would have to comply with in exchange for not being held in jail while the case is pending.

A person would have to comply with those conditions strictly and get the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer to assist in preparing defenses and preparing the case for a possible trial.

Initial Legal Proceedings

If a person has been accused of some kind of offense against a spouse, they can expect that the police may be involved. The police could decide that there is evidence to support an arrest. A person should always recognize that when police are involved, anyone who may be a suspect has a right to decline to answer questions knowing that any answers or any statements given could be used as evidence against the person.

A person has the right to not answer questions to not incriminate themselves. Nonetheless, a person could get arrested on allegations of a domestic violence offense and be brought before a judge the following day to be arraigned on that offense. An arraignment is a hearing before a judge where the judge would inform a person of any charges that prosecutors have decided to file and would set release conditions.

The prosecutors and the US Attorney’s Office gets to make the decision as to whether or not they would like to file charges; that is not up to the person who made the accusation. If prosecutors decide that they would like to file charges, the case would proceed and the defendant would have the ability to potentially hire counsel and work with an attorney preparing defenses to be able to work out a resolution of the case.

A person should expect during their DC spousal abuse case that a criminal offense involving domestic violence allegations will be treated seriously by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Therefore, a person should get the best legal assistance that they can get.