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Understanding defense options in domestic violence situations

Domestic violence laws vary by state but, while there can be significant differences, there are some common considerations to be aware of concerning domestic violence laws. The definition of domestic violence can vary but generally includes physical abuse and may also include emotional, psychological, financial and sexual abuse as well.

Concerning domestic violence arrests, many states have preferred arrest policies which require police officers to arrest one or both parties when called to a domestic violence situation or to write a report justifying why an arrest was not made. In some states, mandatory arrest policies require police officers to make an arrest if the circumstances meet certain criteria. Mandatory reporting laws in some states may also require certain professionals to report suspected domestic violence.

Domestic violence should never be taken lightly. However, domestic violence situations can be complex. As a result, it is important for individuals facing domestic violence charges to be aware of the protections they have available to them and to be familiar with the options that may be available to them when facing domestic violence allegations, accusations and charges. In the criminal justice system, there are two sides to each story and accused individuals are able to utilize criminal defense rights, including silence, to protect and defend themselves against allegations, accusations and criminal charges.

Being accused of a crime can be overwhelming and unfamiliar and uncertain territory for many. In those situations, including alleged domestic violence situations, it is important for accused individuals to know how to protect themselves through their criminal defense rights.

Source:, "State Domestic Violence Legislation," Accessed July 26, 2016

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