When someone gets a ticket from a police officer, it is called a citation and serves as a recommendation to the county attorney or prosecutor on what to charge the accused individual. A prosecutor may decide to bring a case against someone accused of committing domestic violence based on that citation.
This would require them to examine the citation, the recommendation from the police, the police report, and any evidence that there may be, such as videos and witness statements. The county attorney reviews these things to see what they think they can prove and then charges accordingly.
Typically, the county attorney takes the advice of law enforcement and charges whatever the citation was issued for, but they can charge more if they think they can prove more. They can also charge less if they do not think they can prove what the citation alleges.
There are a lot of nuances in the prosecution of domestic violence cases in Omaha, so it is best to consult with an attorney at Berry Law right away if you are facing criminal charges.
What Must the Prosecutor Prove to Reach a Conviction for Domestic Violence in Omaha?
A conviction of any kind requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of every element of the crime. In a local domestic violence case, the prosecutor may have to prove every element of the alleged assault, depending on the degree, in order to obtain a conviction.
Putting an Alleged Victim on the Stand
Prosecutors put an alleged victim on the stand to get the evidence to the jury. They need someone who can say what happened since they cannot force the defendant to testify. The victim is usually the only one at trial who can testify and present evidence.
A conviction for domestic assault is much more difficult to reach without victim testimony, so prosecutors typically have to put the victim on the stand.
The biggest challenge associated with the prosecutor putting an alleged victim on the stand is the victim’s cooperation. For example, if the victim and the defendant are still involved in an intimate relationship, are still together, or have worked things out, the victim will be less likely to cooperate and may not testify against the defendant.
Lack of cooperation in victims typically entails:
- Not answering phone calls from the county attorney about trial preparation
- Avoiding being served with a subpoena
- Failing to appear to testify
Victim cooperation is crucial and can be a big challenge for prosecutors in a domestic assault case.
There is also the challenge of victim credibility. Since there is typically only one witness in a domestic assault case (i.e. the victim), the defense may be able question the alleged victim’s claims. With no other witness available to affirm the victim’s claims, tactful defense attorneys could point out patterns of false allegations or inconsistencies in their story.
What is Evidence-Based Prosecution?
Evidence-based prosecution, sometimes also called victimless prosecution, involves trying to convict the defendant without the cooperation of the victim – in other words, trying to present any evidence that they can without the victim actually present.
Law enforcement officers can testify about some things that they see, such as the victim’s injuries, but they cannot testify about what the victim said. For these reasons, the county attorney doesn’t typically use evidence-based or victimless prosecution in domestic assault cases.
Learn More about the Prosecution of Domestic Violence in Omaha from an Attorney
Hiring an attorney who has a good relationship with local prosecutors could make a substantial difference in the outcome of your domestic assault case. There is a lot of value in knowing how the county attorney and local judges operate. Every courtroom operates differently – different counties across the state do things in different ways.
Having a good relationship with the prosecutor can also lend itself well toward more favorable plea offers. Let one of Berry Law’s local lawyers help you understand the prosecution of domestic violence cases in Omaha. Call today for more information.