The preliminary hearing for domestic violence is a legal procedure in which the accused has an opportunity to contest certain allegations made by law enforcement against them. At this stage, there are no findings of guilt or innocence; therefore it’s crucial that you protect yourself with effective representation from someone who understands what they’re doing!
When pursuing a domestic abuse case to trial, below are the typical steps:
- A no-contact order may be issued as a first step in the process.
Allegations of domestic abuse can lead to an arrest, particularly if there is evidence of an incident. The victim may obtain a no-contact order after the call is made. The court may also order one if they believe the victim is in danger of re-injury.
- You’ll have to show up to your arraignment.
It’s at this point in the domestic violence procedure that a defendant meets with the judge and enters his or her plea. We’ll go into great depth about the fees. Before the arraignment, you’ll want to consult with a lawyer to evaluate what’s in your best interest.
- The hearings are about to begin.
Pretrial and motion hearings are the next steps in the process. A conviction is more likely if your prior criminal record, any injury to the victim, and other factors are taken into consideration by your counsel. During the hearings, you and the other party may reach an agreement or you may proceed to trial.
- If the prosecution and defence cannot agree on a trial date, it may be established.
Jury trials are available to defendants in criminal cases. Alternatively, a judge-only trial is an option if you choose to avoid the presence of a jury. Before you go to trial for domestic violence, take the evidence against you into account and speak with a counselor.
How does a felony domestic violence case move through the criminal justice system?
More serious than a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor, felonies are crimes that are punished by imprisonment for a period exceeding one year.
Felony-level domestic violence cases will be investigated by the relevant law enforcement agency. The inquiry will be handled by the St. Paul Police Department’s Family and Sexual Violence Unit. As a result of the officers’ first response, the Unit will continue the investigation. Upon completion of the inquiry, the Attorney’s Office will bring the case for charging.
It is the Attorney’s Office charging lawyers that determine whether or not an arrest will result in charges being filed, whether or not those charges will be declined by law enforcement, and ultimately if an arrestee will be released awaiting further investigation.
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