Interviewer: Is there a typical scenario with Domestic Violence? Is there a standard demographic for that?
Court Koehler: You’re going to see most commonly young males with domestic violence. It is more common to see a female charged with domestic violence assault than just regular assault. The way domestic violence assault works in Utah, is that it’s not necessarily a separate charge. It’s an assault that’s tagged as a domestic violence case. That brings on considerations. Mainly there’s, when your case involves domestic violence, there’s certain protections that victims have when they’re testifying. There’s certain protections that documents can have when they’re filed with the court and things like that.
Probation For Domestic Violence Cases Entail Treatment Programs Specifically Tailored For Domestic Violence Offenders
The case is an assault case that’s kind of tagged as domestic violence so that the court understands that it’s a domestic violence case and that there’s those extra precautions that need to be taken. Then on top of that there’s some sentencing considerations where if you’re convicted of domestic violence, you’re going to be required to have certain different kinds of counseling than just somebody who gets in a bar fight. If you’re convicted, as part of your probation, you’re going to be looking at a probation program or a treatment program that is geared specifically toward domestic violence offenders.
Strategies Employed By Defense Attorneys to Handle Domestic Violence Cases
Interviewer: If I come to you with my domestic violence case, and I say, “Hey look. This is what the situation is.” What are you going to try to figure out first? What are the strategies that you’re going to take?
Court Koehler: The first thing, you want to get the story and the lay of the land. You want to find out if there is a defense there. Domestic violence is where you see that self-defense defense really commonly. A fight will break out between two people and one of them throws something or hits the other one or threatens the other one and the other one strikes them back. Then it becomes well who called the cops first? Who do the cops trust when they show up at the door?
It is an Attorney’s Job to Look at Both Sides of a Story in a Domestic Violence Scenario
My job is to look at the other side of the story and see if there is evidence there that shows that there was assault coming from the other side. That it was some sort of self-defense or something like that. That’s going to be the first thing. Then, of course, you’re all kind of splitting cases into two categories in the way that you fight them. One is on the facts of the case and what happened. You want to make sure you get the right story and your clients side of the story.
Mitigating the Consequences to An Acceptable Level is Also the Attorney’s Job
The other side is mitigating the consequences. You want to know if this has happened before. If there’s people that will testify that there’s been a pattern of violence. Or, on the other hand, if there’s people that will testify that you’ve always been really non-violent and have always had a good relationship. If there’s a situation where maybe the other spouse was intoxicated at the time or maybe the other spouse has made similar claims about you or somebody else in the past. Those kinds of things can be important too.
It is Important to Unravel All the Aspects of the Story Behind a Domestic Violence Occurrence
Broad strokes, you want to get the whole entire story about what happened, and you also want to know about the background of everybody involved and the different motivations that could have caused the fight and how you can tell your client’s story best through those sorts of other circumstances that maybe the police didn’t hear about that night and maybe the judge wouldn’t know about otherwise.