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Special problems for domestic violence defendants

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Special Problems for Massachusetts Domestic Violence Defendants

In the state of Massachusetts, domestic violence (or domestic abuse) cases generally involve similar legal elements and offenses as those found in assault and battery cases. However, the primary problem arises in how harshly they are treated and handled by judges and prosecutors. Many individuals are unaware that Massachusetts state and local police have a zero tolerance policy towards domestic violence, which usually results in mandatory arrest. This is the standard approach of MA police departments when incidences of domestic violence arise in intimate partner relationships.

As they should, police officers chose to err on the side of caution. In October of 2010, Massachusetts law enforcement agencies, domestic violence advocates, and state police departments instituted new standardized guidelines to assist police officers in cracking down on chronic domestic violence batterers. The development of these new guidelines required 3 years of effort, nearly $1.1 million in federal and state funding, and much collaboration to create.

The new statewide official policy for Massachusetts police departments is to arrest the alleged perpetrator at the scene of the crime. When police officers arrive on the scene of an alleged domestic violence incident, these guidelines specifically instruct the officers “to make arrest and prosecution the “preferred” way to deal with domestic violence accusations”. The decision to make an arrest is no longer based upon the evidence of a crime or left to the officer’s discretion.

Furthermore, an alleged victim’s “desire” to testify in a court of law is no longer taken into consideration when domestic violence is prosecuted. Even if the alleged victim admits that they simply wanted to scare the arrestee, these statements will not be taken into account. Regardless, the accused will be arrested. The new guidelines also instruct law enforcement officials to take statements from any individuals who may be present at the scene of the crime or from individuals who may have knowledge of the crime. These guidelines are intended to make it easier for prosecutors to obtain a conviction in the courtroom, even if the victim should change their mind about moving forward with the prosecution.

The approach that Massachusetts law enforcement agencies have towards domestic violence incidences is becoming increasingly aggressive. If you have been accused of domestic violence, then it is going to be critical for you to have an experienced, strong MA domestic violence lawyer to represent you. This is where our firm’s expertise can positively impact the outcome of your trial. If you are currently reading this article, then you are searching for the right Massachusetts domestic violence attorney. Because you are in serious trouble, whom you choose to hire as your legal representation is a critical decision.

 Bear in mind that the new guidelines and standards we have discussed are applicable to domestic abuse incidences between intimate partners who share the same residence or to those who are involved in an ongoing relationship. They do not apply to extended family members or in laws who may be residing with the family. Under the aforementioned circumstances, if an arrest occurs, it will most likely be due to a much more serious offense having taken place. These types of cases are typically prosecuted outside the parameters of domestic violence laws and guidelines.

Here, it is important to note that even the smallest instances of domestic abuse can result in prosecution and arrest. The domestic abuse incidences that appear in the media generally involve elements of murder, rape, and kidnapping. While the horror of these crimes should not be downplayed, Massachusetts prosecutors have adopted a scorched earth policy towards any type of domestic abuse, no matter how major or minor. Because older cases of domestic violence were not taken as seriously as they should have been, it has resulted in tragic circumstances that blight Massachusetts’ history.

This toughened policy is required to protect the innocent and those who cannot protect themselves. District attorneys in Massachusetts are elected government officials. They do not want to see their name in the headlines because they did not treat a domestic violence case as seriously as they should have and have a tragedy later result because of it. The end result? If you are charged with an offense involving domestic violence in the state of Massachusetts, regardless of whether or not you actually committed the crime, you will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

As a result, you are going to need to have a professional, effective, and experience MA domestic violence attorney at your side.