Are there Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges? | O'Keeffe O'Brien Lyson Attorneys

Are there Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges?

Domestic violence charges can carry some serious ramifications for defendants. Not only is there possible jail time, but a conviction could also impact:

  • The ability to get a job
  • The right to own firearms
  • A custody case

Some defendants feel the pressure to plead guilty because they want the case to go away. They may not even understand their legal options at the time. Whether you fight the charges all depends on your own situation and the strength of the prosecution’s case. Know that there are defenses to domestic violence charges, and you can use them if they apply to your case.

What Happened Was an Accident

Domestic violence requires that you have some sort of intent to commit some act. You cannot be guilty of domestic violence by accident. It is possible for things to slip, such as something falling out of your hand. The prosecutor would need to prove your intent. You would be admitting that you did something but that you did not do it on purpose. If the facts back your story, this would be enough to keep the prosecutor from proving their case.


You do not have to stand by and let yourself be attacked. You have the right to use a reasonable amount of force to respond to an attack. These defenses revolve around whether you had a reasonable belief that you were under attack and whether you used a proper amount of force. One who acts disproportionately may not be able to claim self-defense. 

You Did Not Do It

This is the most obvious defense against domestic violence charges. You may have an alibi that you were not even in the area when the alleged assault occurred. Prosecutors must prove every single element of the claim, as opposed to you needing to prove that you did not do it. If someone is falsely accusing you of domestic violence, your attorney could help expose the inconsistencies in their case if it goes to trial. 

Lack of Evidence to Prove It

Again, it is prosecutors who have the burden of proof in order to convict a defendant. They will need to bring the evidence to back up their claim. Some evidence can be thrown out if it was taken in violation of your legal rights or if it does not meet certain rules. 

Before you accept any offer to plead guilty to anything, you should discuss your case with an experienced attorney. The lawyer will review the facts and let you know if you have any possible defenses against the charges and the best course of action. You should not make any decisions on your own without knowing all of your options. 

Seek Help from North Dakota Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you find yourself facing domestic violence charges, you need legal help. Contact our experienced criminal defense attorney, Tatum O’Brien, by email or call O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys at 701-235-8000 or toll-free 877-235-8002.