What to Expect in a Domestic Violence Case

tertia-van-rensburg-37121-copy-300x224Chicago domestic violence cases are some of the most stressful and frightening for everyone involved. Not only is the defendant facing years in prison for the alleged crime, but the victim has to face his or her attacker once again. What many people do not realize is that when someone calls 911 to report domestic violence the police, have to arrest the accused even if the caller does not want to press charges. The state is the entity that winds up pressing charges against someone accused of domestic violence. Let us take a look at what to expect in a domestic violence case in Illinois.

First Court Appearance

If you have been charged with domestic violence in Chicago you will notice that the first court appearance will be a bond hearing in front of a judge. Many charged with domestic violence for the first time will be surprised that they can not post bond at the police station, which is how it is done for almost all other types of misdemeanor crimes. Instead, the defendant will need to wait until a bond hearing can be scheduled with a judge.

The bond hearing will likely not happen right away, either. It might not take place until the next morning or even until Monday if the arrest happened over the weekend. There are only a handful of issues that the judge will take care of during the hearing. Those issues include the bond, if an order of protection needs to be administered, and if there needs to be conditions placed on the bond by the judge.

Bond is determined by the criminal history of the defendant, mitigating factors offered by the defendant through his or her attorney, and the seriousness of the alleged domestic violence action. The defendant will not be allowed to have any contact with the victim for a period of 48 hours, even if the victim wishes to connect with the defendant.

Status Hearing

The next court appearance the defendant in a domestic violence case will make is known as the status hearing. This is when the court will subpoena the victim to make an appearance. If the victim fails to appear in court, it is possible that the state could dismiss the case. Again, this might not happen since it is the state’s case and was not brought by the victim. The state could set an alternate date for another status hearing in an attempt to get the victim to make a court appearance.

If the defendant confessed to the crime and there is other evidence available, such as other witnesses, physical evidence, or pictures of the injuries inflicted, the state could still proceed with the case even without the victim testifying.

The Trial Phase

Should the victim respond to the subpoena issued by the state in the case and is willing to testify, the case will move to the trial phase. The judge will set a date for the trial, which may or may not be reached. At this time the defendant has the option to try their luck with a trial or instruct their criminal defense attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor assigned to the case. This is when you plead guilty to the crime in exchange for a lighter sentence.

Schedule an Appointment with an Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with domestic violence in Chicago, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact the office of David Freidberg today at 312-560-7100 to schedule an appointment to discuss your case. The sooner you discuss the charges, the sooner you can build a defense and protect your rights.

(image courtesy of Tertia van Rensburg)