When negotiations with the DA have broken down, it is time for a trial.Going to trial is among the worst experiences you can have. Even if a jury of twelve of your peers does not convict you a trial is an emotionally and financially draining and your life is put on display. However, if you do risk trial in a misdemeanor domestic violence case and lose it is unlikely that the judge who hears your case will throw the book at you at sentencing. After most judges hear the evidence in a close case they will have some compassion for you. Judges threaten to throw the book at defendants if they are convicted because they want to discourage time-consuming trials. Some judges will make good on that threat. If you give up your right not to testify and take the witness stand and the judge thinks you lied, that would go against you at sentencing.

The prosecution has to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and jurors must unanimously agree on your guilt for every count you’re convicted of. An acquittal by a jury does not mean you are innocent. It means the district attorney could not present enough evidence to get a conviction. A defense that comes up a lot in domestic violence cases is that you were defending yourself, or that you did not cause the other person’s injuries. A more difficult defense is that the other person is making the whole thing up. Even when the victim retracts their first statement and says that they made it up the prosecutor will usually continue to prosecute the case saying the first statements are the spontaneous and contemporaneous and therefore truthful. Why would a victim make up a story about what happened? Even if the victim makes small contradictory statements, usually only large inconsistencies can damage a victim’s credibility.

This is a report copiled about trials and you can see it here. It is from the prosecution point of view but has some good information. If you are facing a domestic violence trial, contact The Law Offices of Michael S. Discioarro, LLC at 917-519-8417 and we will be with you at trial.