Prosecution Tactics in Domestic Violence Cases

***Note: This blog article is for informational purposes only. Our law firm does not handle matters outside Pennsylvania. ***

Domestic violence has serious implications for victims and their families. Unfortunately, many domestic violence cases are handled improperly by prosecutors and other court officials who may rely on unfair tactics in order to secure convictions. 

Understanding these tactics and how they might be used is essential if you want to protect your rights throughout your case.

Fighting to Have Defendant’s History of Violence Disclosed

Prosecutors will fight to have any prior instances of violence disclosed during trial. They may try to present evidence, such as police reports or testimony from witnesses who have allegedly seen or experienced similar behaviors from the defendant in the past. 

They want to demonstrate a pattern of violent behavior and paint a negative picture of the accused.

The Use of Video Evidence and Recorded Jail Phone Calls

In some domestic violence cases, prosecutors may have access to video evidence that shows an incident or reveals a conversation between the defendant and the alleged victim. They will use this evidence against the defendant.

Additionally, all jail phone calls are recorded, so prosecutors will often go through these phone calls and see if the defendant is caught talking to the victim or friends/family about the incident. 

Offering Plea Deals That Reduce Felonies To Misdemeanors         

In some situations, prosecutors will offer defendants plea deals that reduce felonies to misdemeanors or allow defendants to plead guilty in exchange for reduced sentences. 

Protective Orders to Prevent Reconciliation Between Defendant and Victim   

In most domestic violence cases, prosecutors will seek out protective orders that prohibit the defendant from having any contact with the victim. If the defendant violates the order, they can be taken back to jail, have their bail increased, or even be charged and sentenced separately on this violation. 

If a defendant and the alleged victim reconcile, it’s likely that the victim won’t want to testify anymore or move forward with the case. This essentially ruins the prosecutor’s case, so they try to prevent this from happening.

Witness Intimidation Charges

One of the most common tactics used by prosecutors in domestic violence cases is the threat of witness intimidation charges. This means that if a defendant tries to contact the victim or any other witnesses, they could face additional charges on top of their existing domestic violence charge. 

Overcharging To Force A Plea

One of the most common prosecution tactics used in domestic violence cases is to overcharge defendants. This is when prosecutors add multiple charges to an accused person’s case even when they know they likely won’t secure a guilty verdict on many of the charges. 

For example, a prosecutor may charge someone with assault and battery as well as kidnapping or false imprisonment after a domestic violence incident, even if the accused was only charged with domestic violence initially. 

This practice is used to get defendants to plead guilty in exchange for having some of the charges dismissed. 

Brady Rule Violations – Failing to Turn Over Evidence 

Another tactic prosecutors have been known to use in domestic violence cases is failing to turn over evidence that could prove helpful to the defense. This goes against a legal doctrine known as the Brady rule, which requires prosecutors to reveal certain evidence to the defense before trial begins. 

If prosecutors fail to turn over such evidence, it can create major problems for defendants who cannot mount an effective defense.

Calling the Defendant a Liar and Using Stereotypes

Finally, prosecutors may try to discredit defendants by calling them liars in court or using stereotypes about domestic abusers. They may suggest that men are typically more aggressive than women in intimate relationships or that men are naturally prone to violence when angry. 

This strategy can be convincing for jurors who may have embraced certain gender stereotypes without realizing it.

Contact an Experienced Domestic Violence Lawyer for Help

If you’ve been charged with a crime related to domestic violence, it’s important that you contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately so they can help ensure your rights are respected throughout the process. Contact DiCindio Law to schedule a free consultation

If you are facing criminal charges and need legal help, contact the West Chester, PA criminal defense lawyers at DiCindio Law, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation.

DiCindio Law, LLC
29 S Walnut St
West Chester, PA 19382
(610) 430-3535

***This blog article is made available by the law firm publisher for educational purposes and to provide general information, not to provide specific legal advice. By reading, you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the publisher. The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. Please contact DiCindio Law, LLC for a consultation and to discuss what law is relevant to your case. ***