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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Default Is it Too Late to Press Domestic Violence Charges

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Indiana

    My now ex boyfriend has a drinking problem and violent tendencies. In April, his first incident with the police resulted in the disorderly conduct/public intoxication. He was angry with me for not letting him drive his truck while drunk. He became violent by shoving me, shaking me, and biting my hand. He broke my phone so I couldn't call the police. I ended up using a neighbor's phone to call the police. He was in jail for disorderly conduct and public intoxication, but nothing about domestic battery.

    Fast forward two months, we had an argument. I left. He got an OWI with a BAC over .15 and was arrested. His parents, who live in Idaho, called me to tell me and at first wanted to let him sit. Then they asked me to bail him out so he won't lose his job and trades apprenticeship. I did. The judge told him to quit drinking and he told me he would. I stayed with him figuring I could help him. Then he started drinking again.

    End of June, in an argument over his drinking he shoved me, slapped me, and almost suffocated me by having his hand over my mouth to make me stop crying. Again, he tried to prevent me from calling the police. I managed to get away. The police helped me move my stuff out that night and did not arrest him or do any paperwork that I remember.

    My question is: Is it too late to file charges for domestic battery for the second incident? He retained a lawyer after the OWI. If I do file charges for domestic battery, how likely with all three charges pending will he receive jail time and/or counseling for alcoholism and anger management? If the prosecutor does pursue charges, what is the process going to be like for me?

    I don't hate him, but he does need help. There are two reasons why I want to do this. One, I don't want him to do the same thing to the next woman. Two, him getting the help he needs will give me a feeling of closure.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default Re: Is it Too Late to Press Domestic Violence Charges

    The second incident, as you conveyed, seems to not be battery. You both had an argument, then you left. The entire thing seems as much your fault as his. Why did you not leave after the first time? His poor excuse is that he is a drunk. What is your poor excuse?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Is it Too Late to Press Domestic Violence Charges

    The prosecution of the crime (what most people call "pressing charges") isn't up to you - it's up to the prosecutor. If you didn't make a police report on the night in question, you can certainly contact police and ask to be put in contact with one of the officers who responded that night, and ask them if a report was taken. If they indicate that no report was taken, you can certainly ask them to take one now - however, the delay in the reporting may adversely impact how willing the state is to bring a charge. Was he there when police arrived that night? Did they talk with him? It would be highly unusual that police wouldn't do a report if you told theme that you were slapped, shoved, etc. - but on the flip side, when you contact the officer, you may find out that police ran with the situation and that there's currently a warrant out for his arrest. You really won't know until you speak with one of the responding officers, and based on their answers as to the status of the case, you can go from there.

    If I do file charges for domestic battery, how likely with all three charges pending will he receive jail time and/or counseling for alcoholism and anger management?
    They're three separate cases for incidents occurring in three different times, in three different places, so anticipate that the state will prosecute them one at a time. Unless his DUI incidents included property damage, leaving the scene of an accident, caused injuries or other issues, then jail time probably isn't a high probability, even with two such cases - much more common is a hefty fine, suspended driver license, and being put on probation with alcohol restrictions.

    On the domestic violence issue, if the state brings a charge, expect his attorney to argue for deferred adjudication - asking the state to drop the charge if he completes alcohol or other treatment. But BEWARE - showing up and sitting in a room and watching the clock does NOT cause change. Forced programs have an incredibly high rate of failure (they stop showing up) and recidivism (it doesn't make the behavior change, even if they finish the program). People either WANT to change and are willing to do the INTERNAL work to create change, or they don't want to. In other words, even a court can't force help on someone who doesn't WANT help. So you really need to be realistic about what to expect on that front.

    If the prosecutor does pursue charges, what is the process going to be like for me?
    You'll file a report with police if one doesn't already exist. That report goes to the prosecutor. If the prosecutor moves forward with the case, they are supposed to consult with you before offering a plea deal. That doesn't mean you get to DECIDE if one is offered or accepted, only that they have to ask your opinion. If he pleads down, your part is done. If the case actually goes to trial, both the prosecution and the defense can call you as a witness. If he is convicted, you can exercise your right to address the court before sentencing.

    Start with the police report issue. If the case moves forward, contact a victim advocate at the prosecutor's office - they can keep you up to date on what's happening with the case, and can make sure that you are notified at the various points in the process where you can choose to participate.

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