Practice Areas

Domestic Violence

  • Disorderly Conduct

  • Battery

  • Stalking

Emotions run high in Domestic Violence cases. Accusers may be angry about a difficult relationship or infidelity; there may be an ongoing (or planned) divorce or legal battle over child custody, or financial pressures. Clients can have the double burden of a broken relationship and criminal charge. Understanding how clients and witnesses react to criminal charges requires experience, strategy, and sometimes counseling to reach a good result.

Domestic Violence (DV) is not a particular crime. Instead, it is a way of classifying many kinds of crimes – from disorderly conduct to battery to homicide – that involve members of the same family or household. DV cases are handled differently than non-DV cases as a matter of public policy. For example, Wisconsin has a mandatory arrest law that only applies to DV cases – police officers can be required to make an arrest if there is any evidence of an injury, not matter how minor. In some Wisconsin counties (like Milwaukee), DV cases are handled by specialized courts and prosecutors.

“No-contact” orders are a major issue in domestic violence cases. Once an arrest takes place, a person may be forbidden from returning home to get their car, their clothes, or even to see their children until prosecutors have the chance to review the case. Even then, judges may not allow an arrested person to have contact – even if their spouse or partner comes to court and asks the judge to allow it! Obeying a no-contact order can require preparation, a lot of extra effort, and close contact with a lawyer to make certain that small mistakes or the desire to “make up” don’t lead to new charges. There are many good reasons for “no-contact” orders, but it takes experience and effort from a knowledgeable defense lawyer to make sure that everything works correctly in each case.

Many cases involve couples with no prior history of abuse or criminal records, and prosecutors may be willing to consider non-criminal alternatives to prosecution; a well-informed defense lawyer can help make these alternatives more likely.

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