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Domestic violence, prior acts and admission of evidence

by | Feb 2, 2017 | Court System, Criminal Law, Domestic Violence, Firm News


If you have been faced with a charge of domestic violence or a party is seeking a restraining order on you you must be careful about prior acts of domestic violence that can creep up on your during a contested hearing or trial. Often clients feel that prior acts of domestic violence may not have much weight with the Judge , however it is to the contrary. Prior acts of domestic violence can often tip the scale in favor of the party seeking a restraining order. In a civil setting he burden of proof to prove a domestic violence case is preponderance of the evidence. That means it is more likely than not an act of domestic violence occurred. The judge will often give the benefit of the doubt to the party seeking the restraint order.

Now what prior acts constitute domestic violence? It may be very surprising to know that Simple acts that might seem innocuous to our every day relationships with our significant other will be Fuel by the other party to prove up their case.

Acts such snooping through someone else phone even once can be seen as obsessive behavior and look bad upon the court. Also looking through baggage if that person goes on a trip can be viewed as too nosy and appear over controlling if you are looking for something. Stopping. Y uninvited by the other party can also be seen as stalking and shown to be an act of domestic violence.

Interestingly these acts which may often seem benign are actually very strong elements to prove a case of domestic violence.

Now if we combine these little small acts with a prior act of domestic violence wherein there was a order granted or a conviction the Judge will give a lot of weight to a person snooping through the personal belongings of another person.

It seems that obsessing upon another person and becoming overly jealous will be used against that person even if no violence occurred.

Police reports often are attempted to be used by the other side which often are biased and fraught with inconsistencies from when drafted. It is always important to object to their admissibility, if not the reports will adversely effect your case.  The only way a police report should be admitted into evidence is if the police officer themselves come to court to testify.

Often it is overlooked how distant in time the prior acts that were alleged have been committed. Sometimes the Court can go back years to acts that they deem were committed relevant to the current domestic violence allegations.  It is important to argue that acts too far in the past are to tenuous in time and are not relevant and carry less weight for the Judge to determine if the prior acts are probative of domestic violence.

So in concluding it is important to take each domestic violence allegation based on a case by case basis.  Also it is important to look at the past acts that might have occurred and remember even the most minor event can be used against you and should be taken very seriously when going to court.