You got into an argument that went a little too far with your spouse, child, roommate – whoever it was, it was someone close to you domestically. The cops are called and you find yourself arrested. It was a fight and everyone is sorry but the cops – they don't care if the so-called victim doesn't want charges pressed –the cops handcuff you anyways and then take you in for booking on domestic violence charges.
When this happens, there are so many questions going through our clients' heads. They are scared, and they just want to return home. But in many cases, they can't. Life is a rude awakening after a domestic violence charge, and here are the three biggest questions our clients often ask when they come into our office.
Can the domestic violence charges in Illinois be dropped if the "victim" doesn't want to press charges (and if not, why)?
As mentioned in the introduction, many domestic violence cases are isolated cases where a one-time argument got out of hand. When the police are called to the scene of a domestic dispute, the police must arrest someone (the alleged aggressor). So even when it was a neighbor calling about a suspected fight in the house, someone has to be arrested. In these situations, clients are baffled and wonder why the charges can't be dropped, after all, they just want to get back to their families.
The State of Illinois, however, follows a "no drop" policy concerning domestic violence. This essentially means that regardless of whether the so-called victim doesn't want to press charges, the state can still pursue it – with or without his or her consent.
Can I go home after a domestic violence charge (and if not, when)?
There are many terms and conditions that must be followed upon your release from police custody. Many of our clients are surprised to learn that there is a no-contact order against them. These orders usually state you are not able to have any contact with the alleged victim, and that means not going home.
Violating a no-contact order can mean additional jail time if you are convicted of the domestic violence charge. But not going home can often result in a serious financial burden on the family or roommates because the alleged offender must now seek housing elsewhere.
You could file a Motion to Modify Conditions of Release to Lift the No-Contact Order. An experienced domestic violence defense attorney in Dupage County or Cook County can help with this task.
Will my gun be taken away from me (and if so, when can I get it back)?
It is unlawful for you to possess a firearm or another weapon under the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act if you are the subject of an:
- existing order of protection;
- interim order of protection;
- emergency order of protection; or
- plenary order of protection.
If none of the above affect you, then typically you may be able to hold on to the firearm... for now. If you are later convicted of the domestic violence charges, possession or use of a firearm becomes illegal according to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) and (9). Additionally, in Illinois, you are required to possess a Firearm Owner's Identification Card in order to purchase or possess your firearms. A conviction of domestic violence will result in the revocation and seizure of the card or – in the event you applied for one – denial of the card.
These things make representation and fighting a domestic charge complex and necessary. Contacting an experienced attorney is your best option for a good outcome. Contact Dolci & Weiland today to speak to one of our skilled domestic violence defense attorneys.