Challenging Evidence As Part of Your Defense
In Massachusetts, prosecutors must meet a certain threshold of evidence to bring charges against a defendant—and enough of this evidence must stand up in court to convict the defendant. As part of your domestic violence defense, your lawyer should work to render any questionable piece of evidence against you inadmissible, removing the prosecution's ability to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Standard Methods for Questioning Evidence
- Suppression of evidence. Police officers have to follow specific procedures when collecting evidence against a suspect. Your attorney may make a motion to suppress any evidence taken in violation of your rights, such as without a valid search warrant or without probable cause to suspect you of a crime. Suppressing key evidence or several pieces of evidence may weaken the prosecution’s case to the point where charges cannot be substantiated, and the case must be dismissed.
- Questioning physical evidence. Since people's memories or motives are never 100% accurate, physical evidence is usually given more weight than witness testimony. Physical evidence includes photographs of injuries, medical reports, or damaged or destroyed property. Your defense lawyer may present alternative explanations for such physical evidence (such as falls) or question the integrity of the evidence (such as varying dates on photographs or medical records).
- Challenging testimony. Witnesses in domestic violence cases may include the alleged victim, responding officers, relatives, medical professionals, and third parties who heard or saw the incident that led to the arrest. Any witness called by the prosecutor to testify can be cross-examined by your attorney, allowing your lawyer to challenge each witness’s observations and point out inconsistencies in their accounts.
- Circumstantial evidence. In some cases, physical evidence could be consistent with domestic violence or another cause. If testimony from the alleged victim or witnesses is unreliable and other explanations for injuries exist, the evidence may be circumstantial.
- Totality of evidence. Even if no injuries occur, domestic violence requires an intention to cause harm to a victim and a genuine danger of imminent physical harm. Depending on the circumstances, your defense lawyer may be able to refute the charges by showing the evidence taken as a whole. For example, if the defendant threatened the alleged victim through the window or behind a securely locked door, there may not have been an imminent threat of physical danger. The defendant in this situation could also have been angry and ranting, never intending to cause actual harm.
- Insufficient evidence. Criminal cases are often dropped based on the insufficiency of the evidence. This can happen in one of two ways: suppressing enough of the evidence that there is no longer enough proof to convict or questioning why critical pieces of evidence are unavailable. For example, the alleged victim may claim that the defendant has committed other acts of violence in the past but cannot provide physical evidence of these claims (such as medical records, police reports, or witness testimony).
Let Us Advise You on Your Options
Too many defendants believe that a charge of domestic violence is just a misunderstanding that can easily be cleared up. Unfortunately, it’s never a sound legal strategy to tell your story to the jury and expect them to believe your version of events. The only way to overcome these charges is with a well-crafted and comprehensive defense—one we can get started immediately in your free case review.
At Nate Amendola Defense, we fight aggressively against domestic violence charges and the consequences these accusations can have on your life. Call us at (781) 661-5450 today or contact us to see how we can help you.