Domestic Violence Another charge. Another real RESULT.
Location: Waukesha, Wisconsin
When you think about a legal loophole, the thought that typically comes to mind is a person going free on a technicality. Sometimes, the opposite is also true, as it was in a recent situation for a Waukesha woman. My client was charged with Battery, and to make matters worse the District Attorney couched it in terms of domestic violence. Typically, domestic violence stems from a romantic relationship where the two people involved live together, or previously lived together. However, on the technical side it applies to any situation where two individuals have a violent dispute (verbal or physical) and they either live together or used to live together. A parent or a child can be charged with domestic abuse in Wisconsin if they are involved in an altercation, even if they haven't lived together for 10 years. For my client, it was a situation where she had rented out her basement to an individual she had known a long time and an altercation took place.
You are only guilty if you are convicted™
In addition to the loophole that allowed the District Attorney to charge my client with domestic violence, the case was complicated by the "victim" being incredibly difficult. I was able to negotiate with the District Attorney a resolution to the case that would not result in a criminal conviction for my client, but instead a municipal ticket. This resolution, however, was predicated on my client accomplishing some things in advance and paying the restitution requested by the "victim." The "victim", however, was not on board with the plan, even though a District Attorney is supposed to consult and include an alleged victim when considering an offer.
Due to the difficult nature of the "victim," I was able to convince the District Attorney to have a restitution hearing prior to concluding the case. This allowed us to have the Judge determine the amount of restitution owed, which kept the terms of the negotiation in play. The "victim" had made an outrageous restitution claim and the District Attorney was bound to request that amount, however, by setting it for a hearing the amount would be determined by the Judge.
At the hearing, the "victim" gave testimony and through my cross-examination I was able to demonstrate that what the "victim" was requesting was not allowed under the restitution statute. His "losses" were simply the result of intentionally expensive choices he had made, despite having other options. In the end, the Judge sided with us on the restitution and denied all but the amount my client was willing to pay.
Additionally, because we had the restitution prior to sentencing on the case, we were able to meet the terms of the agreement and the case was concluded without a criminal conviction for my client!