This is the next post in a series of articles discussing defending against domestic violence charges in Little Rock, Arkansas. Our previous post discussed the serious consequences of a conviction for third degree domestic battery in our state. Even if accused of this lowest degree of crime, a person convicted will potentially face jail time and significant financial penalties. Additional long-term ramifications of a conviction include a permanent criminal record for either a serious misdemeanor or felony, potential loss of parental rights, limitations on employment and housing, and restrictions of rights to own or possess firearms. For these reasons, it is imperative to defend oneself against domestic violence charges as vigorously as possible. In this article, we will discuss what one may expect when defending against a domestic violence charge at trial. If you need assistance, contact our office today to speak with an attorney.
Those accused of violating Arkansas’ domestic violence laws are entitled to a trial by an impartial jury, at which the prosecution must meet its burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The trial process begins with jury selection. Potential jurors are summoned and subjected to questioning by the prosecutor, defense attorney, and the judge to determine whether they will be unbiased in their evaluation of the case. Each party may eliminate a certain number of potential jurors based on answers they provide during this process. Once completed and the jury is empaneled, the case will begin with the prosecution’s and the defense’s opening statements. Each side will use their statements to explain their version of the case and highlight key arguments. Next, the prosecutor will present its case, calling witnesses to testify and submitting evidence required to prove each element necessary to obtain a conviction. The defense may cross-examine witnesses who are questioned by the defense. At this point, the defense will decide whether or not it is necessary to present its case. If defense counsel believes that the state has not met its burden of proof, it is not required to present evidence and witnesses, but has the option to do so if needed to oppose the prosecution. After both sides have completed this phase, the attorneys will make closing arguments and the jurors will be dismissed to deliberate their verdict.
As previously discussed throughout this series, domestic violence cases can involve complex facts and complicated legal strategies and theories. Defenses such as self-defense or violations of one’s Miranda rights often require the submission of large amounts of evidence and explanations of legal precedents that may not be easily understood by the average juror. The success or failure of one’s defense, therefore, may depend upon one’s attorney’s ability to clearly and effectively communicate this information to the jury. Given the potential ramifications of a conviction, it is imperative to retain counsel with criminal trial experience to help ensure that your interests are protected.
If you have been charged with domestic violence, contact our Little Rock office as soon as possible to speak with a criminal defense attorney. We also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas.