DC Spousal Abuse Lawyer
In DC, the abuse of one’s spouse is referred to as intimate partner violence. Intimate partner violence is a category of domestic violence in DC and includes any criminal offense committed or threatened to be committed by the accused upon his or her current or former spouse. This includes a person that the accused either is or was married to in the past. In DC this offense is a serious offense and therefore warrants attention from an experienced domestic violence attorney in DC as soon as possible.
Accusations of Abuse
In DC, an act of domestic violence is also referred to as an intra-family offense. Intra-family offenses include violence between intimate partners which can involve current or former spouses. Therefore, acts of spousal abuse are considered to be a type of domestic violence. There is a specific unit in the DC Superior Court called the Domestic Violence Unit that oversees cases where a party may request a civil protection order against their current or former spouse, cases of a violation of a civil protection order, and criminal misdemeanor cases involving violence between current and former spouses.
If a current or former spouse accuses an individual of spousal abuse and reports the allegations to law enforcement, it is possible that they will face criminal charges if the allegations of abuse amount to a criminal offense. Law enforcement would first investigate the allegations, and if probable cause was found to arrest the accused of a criminal offense, the case would be sent to the prosecutor’s office.
Spousal Abuse Investigations
The investigation may lead to the accused’s arrest for the criminal offense if law enforcement finds probable cause. If they are arrested, the case will be forwarded to the United States Attorney’s Office for review. The prosecutors of the United States Attorney’s Office will determine whether it will pursue the case and file criminal charges against the defendant. If the criminal offense was allegedly committed against their current spouse or former spouse, the case will be considered a domestic violence case.
The prosecutor makes the final decision whether to file a criminal charge based on the allegations and supporting evidence. It is also possible for a former or current spouse to seek protection from the civil court based on allegations of abuse. A civil protection order would be issued by a judge, if the judge found good cause to believe that the respondent committed the criminal offenses alleged in the petition for civil protection order.
Role of an Attorney
If a person has been accused of committing a criminal offense against their spouse, and another party or witness alerts law enforcement, the accused should expect that there will be an investigation of them and the allegations.
When this takes place, it is important to have the assistance of a DC lawyer as they will be able to explain the possible outcome if there is a pending investigation or if you think that there may be an investigation in the future. The lawyer will also be able to explain what to expect if a person files a petition for a civil protection order against the defendant in civil court.
Even if you are not facing a criminal charge, there are significant repercussions you may face if a judge issues a civil protection order against you. A lawyer is in the best position to make you aware of all possible outcomes and help prepare and defend your case.