Why you never contact the victim in your domestic violence case

If you've been charged with domestic violence, there's at least one critical mistake you do not want to make: Contacting the victim.

Many defendants fail to understand exactly how serious this particular point really is -- especially when the incident that led to an arrest was overblown, two-sided or outright fictitious. They think that if they give their accuser time to cool down, he or she will start to regret the whole situation.

So, the defendants pick up a phone (often, while still in jail) and try to talk to their alleged victim. Or they have a relative reach out to the victim on social media. Maybe they send a letter, pleading for the victim to drop the charges. Maybe they ask a mutual friend to stop by the victim's home or work to plead their case for them.

Here's why all of those things are really bad ideas:

1. You're legally barred from contacting the alleged victim in any way pending the outcome of your case.

That includes via email, letter, social media or third-party spokesmen. Even if you are acquitted of the domestic violence charge, you can now be convicted of violating the restraining order that's currently in place -- which is a separate criminal offense.

2. The victim cannot stop the proceedings against you.

Many people (including the alleged victims in domestic cases) believe that a case can be "dropped" if the victim recants or just asks the prosecutor not to continue. In the past, that was often true. Now, however, the legal authorities usually take the position that victims only recant or ask for the charges to be dropped because they suffer from psychological distress due to the abuse.

3. You're quite likely handing the prosecutor more evidence.

There's nothing that will convince a jury faster that you're a domestic abuser than hearing you -- on tape from the jailhouse phone -- threaten or cajole your alleged victim over the charges. Even if you're innocent of the charges themselves, you won't sound that way.

If you've been charged with domestic violence in Birmingham, talk to an experienced defense attorney promptly.

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