Domestic Violence Pretrial - Don't Be Pressured Into a "Deal"!

Domestic Violence Pretrial Conference - Your Chance to Strike a Deal . . . or Not. Some Words of Caution.

Suddenly, you're facing a Michigan Domestic Violence charge (properly called Domestic Assault). You've been arraigned and your Bond has been set, including an impossible No Contact Order [ click here for my article on getting rid of the No Contact Order]; perhaps you've even been forced to move-out because of it. Even if the accusation was false, it's scary not knowing what will happen to you. You're thinking " How quickly can I get this over with?" Your next Court hearing is the Domestic Violence Pretrial. But don't be fooled...The Domestic Violence Pretrial is an opportunity for your Domestic Violence Defense Attorney and the Prosecutor to meet in a private conference room at the Court behind closed-doors and discuss your case and where it is going. Then, the basics of that discussion are formally stated to the Judge "on the record" in an open Courtroom before a new Court date is set. However, if you aren't represented by an Attorney, the Prosecutor may try to (and often does) take advantage of your emotional desire to "get it over with." I'll explain in a minute. But first, you should know that at your Domestic Violence Pretrial, topics for discussion between your Attorney (or you alone) and the Prosecutor include:
  • Whether a plea deal is being "offered" by the Prosecution or not.
  • What evidence the Prosecutor intends to use against you if there is a Trial, the strength of their evidence, and whether and when it has or will be disclosed to your Lawyer (a process called "Discovery").
  • Whether the "Victim" is likely to appear if your case is set for Trial.
  • Whether you are eligible for the Michigan Domestic Violence Deferral under MCL 769.4a (often just called "769"). [click here for an article on the Michigan Domestic Violence Deferral]
  • If the Prosecution is offering a plea deal, what terms can be negotiated? (i.e. a reduced charge, no Jail, length of Probation, etc.)
  • Whether the Prosecution intends to use "prior acts" against you under MCL 768.27b. [click here for an article on alleged Prior Acts being used against you]
  • What the wishes are of the "Victim," as communicated through the Prosecutor's Office's special "Victim Advocate," who may also be present.
If, at the conclusion of the Domestic Violence Pretrial, you decide that you do not want to fight the Domestic Violence charge at Trial and a "deal" is reached, you will fill-out a "Plea Form" and be taken before the Judge to enter your plea of Guilty or No Contest right then. Sometimes, the Domestic Violence Pretrial is delayed until a different date. HERE IS SOMETHING TO BE CAREFUL OF if you don't have a knowledgeable Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer at your Domestic Violence Pretrial: the Prosecutor may take you in his or her conference room alone and play on your fears and emotions to talk you into taking a "deal" that is not in your best interest - and which may compromise your freedom or future. Things they may tell you (or your Attorney if they are ignorant to these DV charges) at the Domestic Violence Pretrial include:
  • That they've got enough evidence to convict you right now at the Domestic Violence Pretrial.
  • That if you plead guilty now, they'll "recommend no Jail" at this point.
  • That if you don't plead guilty right now, they "can't promise the [so-called] deal will be there next time you come to Court."
  • That if you don't plead guilty and "force them to put your Victim through a Trial, they'll ask for maximum Jail if you're convicted."
  • That because you supposedly admitted to the Police that you "did it," you don't stand a chance.
  • That although you have a right to a Trial "the Judge isn't going to be happy if he has to go through an entire Trial."
  • That the Judge will sentence you more harshly if you choose to have a Trial than if you plead at the Domestic Violence Pretrial.
  • MUCH, MUCH MORE!
Still reading? Prosecutors come up with these new lines at the Domestic Violence Pretrial faster than we can type them up in these articles, and they're generally all nonsense. You need a knowledgeable Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer, because making the right choice can save your freedom and future. Call The Law Office of Brian J. Prain, PLLC anytime at (248) 731-4543. Don’t wait – the quicker you act, the better your chances! You can also fill-out the Contact Form.
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