Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer in Hawaii
What you think is just an argument can turn into something much more. Who knows what happened? A neighbor may hear raised voices and call the police. The police arrive and decide an argument ensued and so someone must be arrested for domestic violence. Domestic violence allegations in Hawaii carry serious consequences, especially when not addressed immediately. These consequences can be both civil and criminal. If you have been charged in Hawaii with a domestic violence or related offense, it's imperative to contact a domestic violence defense attorney.
You have important rights, and at Segal Law, we are here to protect your rights and defend any allegations made against you. Call us at 808-865-2100 to schedule a free consultation today.
Domestic Violence in Hawaii
Domestic violence describes a range of harm committed in the context of a domestic relationship, usually between spouses, intimate partners, or relatives, but in some circumstances it can also include other members of the household. Examples of physical acts that can arise from domestic violence include striking, shoving, kicking, or otherwise touching a family or household member in an offensive manner. When the allegations involve strangulation, an existing TRO, physical abuse in the presence of minor children, the charges can be elevated to a felony. For purposes of obtaining a temporary restraining order, domestic violence can also include other patterns of abusive behavior, like threats of violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse.
Consequences of Alleged Domestic Violence in Hawaii
When a defendant is charged with a domestic violence offense, the court has the power to order a restraining or no-contact order. Temporary Restraining Orders and Orders for Protection can be issued even when the defendant isn't present in court and before their criminal law matter has been finalized and, in many cases, before the criminal process has really even begun. In essence, when it comes to domestic violence, you can suffer certain consequences before a judge or jury has found you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
When a protection order is issued, it can result in two significant consequences, though there may be other penalties or restrictions imposed:
- It can restrict a defendant's contact with the victim and their children; and
- It can require the defendant to leave the family home.
A person subject to a protective order or convicted of a domestic violence offense is also prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under state and federal law.
Criminal convictions of any nature, but especially domestic violence offenses, can also impact a defendant's ability to find work or housing. Potential employers or landlords who run a background check may refuse an applicant with a domestic violence conviction.
Penalties of Domestic Violence or a Related Criminal Conviction in Hawaii
The sentencing options for domestic violence offenses include many. Much of it depends on the severity of the allegations and any prior protective orders. Generally, penalties can include but are not limited to:
- Domestic violence treatment or counseling programs
- Mandatory jail time and possible imprisonment.
When sentencing an offender for a domestic violence offense, the court will take into account aggravating circumstances, like:
- the level of injury sustained by the victim
- whether a weapon was used or a child witnessed the crime
- whether the crime violates an existing protection order
- the personal characteristics of the victim, such as older age or pregnancy
The penalties for domestic violence offenses can quickly become harsher with subsequent convictions in Hawaii.
Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped in Hawaii?
Domestic violence charges can in some circumstances be dropped, but it is critical to know that they will not be dropped simply because the alleged victim of the violence no longer wants charges brought against the alleged suspect. Charges are brought by the State of Hawaii, not by the complaining witness or affected person. Often times, prosecutors in Hawaii will continue to pursue criminal charges against a defendant even if the alleged victim does not want prosecution, or does not want to cooperate. Therefore, it is important that you have an experienced domestic violence defense attorney who understands how to negotiate with the prosecutor, and get the best possible result for you.
Defenses to Domestic Violence Allegations in Hawaii
A person can defend against a domestic violence charge in Hawaii. However, the specific defenses available to a defendant will depend on the circumstances of their case.
Some common defenses include:
- Self-defense or defense of others, where reasonable force was used to prevent an attack.
- Lack of evidence, if the prosecution fails to present enough evidence to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
- False allegations, where the victim has lied about what happened.
- Accident, where the defendant unintentionally caused the injury.
A conviction for a domestic violence offense can have a long-lasting impact on many aspects of a defendant's personal life, including their personal relationships, parenting, and employment. It is always in your best interests to, at a minimum, consult with a domestic violence defense lawyer about any allegations.
Contact a Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in Maui, Hawaii Today
If you've been charged with a domestic violence offense, you should speak to an experienced domestic violence defense attorney at Segal Law immediately. We will listen to your version of events, assess the strength of the evidence against you, and advise you of any defenses that may be available to you. Fill out an online submission form or call us at 808-865-2100 to schedule a free consultation today.