It can come as a shock: a close friend or family member has been accused of domestic violence. As a loved one, there are things you can do right away to help them.
Taking action fast is critical – as many people, regardless of guilt or innocence, can face serious consequences even in the first 72 hours after the accusation has been made.
Often, the accuser in a domestic violence case will make the accusation by calling the police. When the police arrive, they will listen to both sides and decide which side of the story seems more credible.
How Georgia is Different
Unlike in some other states, in Georgia there is no mandatory requirement that police arrest someone accused of domestic violence automatically. However, the police may still make an arrest on the spot, and your loved one may find themselves in jail.
Once the accused is arrested, an independent judge will review whether there was probable cause to make the arrest; usually this happens within 72 hours. The arresting officer has 72 hours from the arrest to file criminal charges.
Your loved one may not be released from jail until after the charges are filed and he goes in front of the Judge. In Cherokee County, for example, you cannot pay bail to have them released sooner. He has to wait in jail for up to 72 hours for the Judge to set the amount of bail and impose conditions on his release. The bail amount depends on a variety of factors surrounding the alleged crime, the accused person’s likely danger to others, their flight risk, and so on. In addition to setting the bail amount, the Judge will also impose special conditions of bond that prevents the accused from having any contact, direct or indirect, with their accuser until the case is resolved in court.
This can have major consequences. If the accused and accuser lived together, the accused may have to find somewhere else to live for the duration of the order. If the two have children, it can affect when and whether the accused sees them during this time as well.
Many people don’t realize that under a bond order, any contact at all with the accuser may be off limits, including contact through a third party. For instance, if the accused asks a relative or friend to forward an email to the accuser, this may violate the order.
So it’s not uncommon for the accused to violate a bond order inadvertently. And if the order is violated, they may face even more serious charges—such as stalking. If your loved one is accused of stalking, they may be arrested again without the possibility of bail.
If Someone You Know is Accused of Domestic Violence, They Need an Attorney
Many people do not call an attorney within the first 72 hours of the accusation. But getting professional help early is crucial.
Well before the trial, your loved one may have conditions imposed on their release from jail that have major consequences on where they live and how they communicate with their accuser. It can be easy to violate these orders if the accused doesn’t understand them well, and that can cause even more serious problems.
An experienced family violence attorney can help get your loved one out of jail sooner, communicate with prosecutors and judges on their behalf, and minimize the consequences of the arrest.
While waiting for the trial date, an attorney can also advise your loved one and help prevent them from making any missteps that could make their case far more serious such as inadvertently breaching a temporary protective order.
Work With the Best Domestic Violence Attorney in Cherokee County, Georgia
When it comes to domestic violence cases, the stakes are high and the penalties are steep. In addition, these cases are often quite complex, with conflicting testimonies and heightened emotions on all sides.
Your loved one will need a knowledgeable domestic violence lawyer who will fight aggressively for their rights in court. Call us at (770) 479-1500 for a free, confidential consultation today.
Amanda Speights is a co-founder and lead family law attorney at Speights Law, PC in Cherokee County. She is an experienced family law lawyer who handles an assortment of domestic cases, including divorce, child custody, child support, appeals and other types of litigation in the state of Georgia. To contact Amanda, please visit our contact page.