Domestic Battery (1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree) is the criminal offense most likely to result
from a husband and wife (or other family member living in the same household)
getting into a physical altercation. The level of the offense is dependent, to some
extent, on the level of the injury. The most common offense, Domestic Battery 3rd,
would be a likely result after the accused and the "victim" scuffle, the police are
called, and when they arrive, there is a mark (cut, scrape, or bruise) on the victim.
At that point, the police officer will usually be frustrated at having gotten called out
to a domestic dispute. Often, officers in this situation just want to resolve the
situation and leave, but they are under pressure from their superior to make an
arrest, if the evidence warrants it (police higher-ups don't want officers responding
to multiple disputes without something to show for it, in the form of an arrest).
Remember, the fines resulting from misdemeanor criminal offenses and traffic
offenses are how cities and other municipalities make most of their money, so
officers have an incentive to make arrests in these kinds of cases.
However, given that in domestic cases, the "victim" is also usually a family member,
that person has a lot of "say" in what ultimately happens with the criminal charge.
Because prosecutors have a certain amount of independent authority to do their job
as they see fit, that doesn't mean that the "victim" can just decide not to press
charges, and the case will be dismissed. However, because the victim is always the
key witness (and often, the only witness), the prosecutor has no choice but to listen
to what that person wants to do, and often this enables us to achieve an outcome
that is very favorable to our clients in these types of cases, especially after some
time has gone by, and once tempers have cooled.
Finally, it is worth noting that if you have a domestic battery charge on your record,
federal law prohibits you from owning or possession a firearm, and doing so is a
crime. Further, depending on the level of the offense, domestic battery charges take
a minimum of five years to expunge (remove from your record), and under some
circumstances, may never be removed. For these reasons alone, if you are facing a
criminal charge for domestic battery, you should hire an attorney now, to safeguard
your rights, and maximize your chances of a favorable outcome.