A situation at home got heated. Voices were raised and, just maybe, a few objects were thrown in the heat of anger. Someone called the police, and you ended up arrested for domestic violence.
For any ordinary U.S. citizen, this would already be a crisis, but it’s doubly so for an immigrant who doesn’t have citizenship. If you’re convicted, unfairly or not, you can end up being deported.
Right now, your focus needs to be on two things: How not to make the situation worse and how to defend yourself.
How not to make the situation worse
First, make sure you clearly understand that you cannot contact the alleged victim in your case. That means you may not go to your shared home to pick up a few things (unless you arrange to do so with the court’s permission). You also cannot:
- Contact them in person to try to reconcile or apologize
- Ask them to drop the charges against you (which they cannot do, anyhow)
- Contact them by electronic means, including social media
- Have a friend or relative reach out to them on your behalf
Until your case is over, you need to adhere very strictly to the terms of your restraining order or bond. Otherwise, you can be charged with new crimes, like witness intimidation, and your case will be infinitely more complicated.
How to mount a defense against the charges
Second, you need to carefully explore all of your defense options. Commonly, these include:
- A lack of intent (accidentally hitting someone with a door as you tried to leave isn’t the same as slamming their face into the door on purpose)
- Self-defense (if the other party was physically attacking you or others or making realistic threats, you may have been entitled to respond with violence)
- False accusations (maybe your partner said something in their anger to the police that wasn’t true, or maybe the police simply over-reacted to what was nothing more than a shouting match)
Whatever your situation, it’s wise to recognize that – especially with the possibility of deportation on the table – you need experienced legal guidance to get you through this situation.