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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