What Happens If I'm Accused of Domestic Violence?
A family or household member could accuse you of domestic violence if they claim that you harmed or threatened to harm them. Such accusations are serious, and even before your case goes to trial, you will go through several legal processes. You may also be subject to specific sanctions preventing you from living your life as you once did. This is true even if you have not gone to trial or been convicted of the alleged crime.
Although every case is different, some of the things that can happen after a domestic violence accusation include the following:
- Arrest: A police officer can arrest you without a warrant. Generally, a police officer in Oklahoma cannot make a warrantless arrest for a misdemeanor unless they actually witnessed the suspect commit the crime. However, under the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act, officers have broader authority to make warrantless arrests in cases of suspected domestic abuse (22 O.S. § 60.16).
Also, if you are arrested for domestic abuse, a bond will not be set until you appear in front of a judge. As a result, you may have to sit in jail for hours or even days after your arrest.
- Protective order: If the alleged victim believes that you continue to pose a threat to them, they can seek a protective order against you. During the initial investigation, law enforcement officials provide the accuser with information on how to seek an Order of Protection from the court. If the request is granted, you may be prohibited from:
- Contacting the alleged victim in any way
- Committing any further offenses against the alleged victim
- Remaining at a residence you share with the alleged victim
- Visiting your children
- Possessing firearms
The judge can place any other prohibitions they feel would be necessary to protect the alleged victim's safety.
You may also be required to undergo domestic abuse counseling or treatment and be subject to GPS tracking. Keep in mind that you face these sanctions even if you have not been found guilty.
Also, a protective order may be issued against you without your knowledge. The victim may seek an emergency order immediately after the alleged incident (22 O.S. §§ 60.3 and 60.16). Emergency orders are valid until your next scheduled court date.
If a final protective order is granted, you could be required to abide by the terms for up to 5 years. In some cases, protective orders have no set end date. If you violate the order, you may be penalized by a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment for up to 1 year. Thus, if a protective order is issued against you, you must watch what you do and who you contact; otherwise, you may be facing serious consequences.
- Arraignment: While still in custody, normally within a few days of your arrest, you will appear in front of a judge for an initial arraignment. Note that this initial court appearance is not your trial. Instead, it's when the judge informs you of the charge against you and sets bail.
- Preliminary hearing: If you were accused of a felony domestic violence offense, a preliminary hearing will be set. Again, this isn't your trial. During the proceeding, the court will determine whether probable cause exists that you committed the alleged offense.
- Trial: If your case is not dismissed at the initial hearing, it will be set for trial. This is where the prosecutor will attempt to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you harmed or threatened to harm a family or household member. Your defense attorney will present evidence to attack the allegations made against you.
At the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C., we are fierce defenders of people accused of domestic violence in Norman, OK. Our warriors are ready to fight for you. Call us at (866) 590-8173 or contact us online today.