Questions about battery against household member- New MexicoSeveral weeks ago my boyfriend and I were involved in a fight after drinking. I attacked him because he refused to give me my car keys (he was trying to stop me from driving drunk). He pushed me out the front door and I fell down. I called my teenage daughter to come pick me up from my boyfriend's house, and she called the police and reported the incident. I spoke with police when they arrived and told them I was pushed out the door. I did not tell the police that I had hit my boyfriend (they never asked, so I didn't tell them). I told the police I needed to get my purse from the house, and they walked to the back of the house with me to see if the door was unlocked. It was locked, so they let me climb through the window (???). As I was leaving the house with my belongings, the police entered and arrested my boyfriend, who was passed out. Photos from when he was arrested show several large bruises on his face and a black eye. This incident happened on a Saturday night, and he was arraigned on Monday morning. There was a no contact order issued, but we spoke with the judge and had that dropped on the same day. Questions- 1. We have hired an attorney to represent my boyfriend. If he claims to have pushed me out of the house in self defense, is there a possibility that I may then face criminal charges?2. Is self defense a good defense for his case?3. Will I need an attorney to represent me before this case goes to court? The state is the prosecutor in this case, and I will be called as a witness. I am worried that I may incriminate myself when I testify.
State/Country relating to question: New Mexico
Thank you for your question. Be sure to go ahead and bookmark www.nateanswers.com for future questions.I have ten years of criminal defense experience. I will be happy to assist you with your questions today.You're hitting on the important aspects of the case in your question. Self defense would be a good defense for him. It would, however, expose you to potential criminal charges. If you refuse to testify, then the police can testify about what you told them. That will be enough to convict your boyfriend. If you testify about the entire incident, it will then be up to the state to decide whether to prosecute you. Unfortunately, this is a true catch-22 situation. If you do not incriminate yourself, he will surely be convicted. If you do make statements about what happened before you were pushed, you MAY be charged. If your boyfriend makes it clear that he does not wish you prosecuted, that will weigh with the district attorney, too. It may be advisable for you, him and his attorney (you should get one, too) have a private meeting with the district attorney and explain the situation. It may be possible to get them to retire the case altogether if you both promise to go to alcohol or anger management counseling.Please remember to only rate my answer when you are 100% satisfied. IF you feel the need to rate "Poor Service" or Bad Service", please stop and reply to me via the REPLY TO EXPERT button with the issue you have. I am not paid unless I get a rating of 3 to 5 Stars/Smiley Faces. If I have helped you with your question, please give me an appropriate rating so that I get credit for helping you. Thank you!Nate
As far as I am aware, it is not an option for me to refuse to testify. I can be criminally charged for refusing to testify/not showing up in court. My boyfriend made no statements to the police other than saying he had no memory of the event (he was questioned several hours later, after waking up in jail). He never told police that I hit him, although he did have bruises.Another question- would the police mishandling the case have any affect on the case? The police stated that I called them from a neighbor's house, which is untrue. I never called police at all, and didn't want them involved at all. I have copies of dispatch records showing that I did not call. I also think that they screwed up by allowing me to break in through the window.
First, none of those things the police did have any bearing on the substance of the case. Were they improper? Yes, most likely. Does it matter to the allegations against your boyfriend? No, it does not.You have the option to invoke your 5th Amendment right against self incrimination. If you do that, the police will be allowed to testify as to what you told them that night. If you do not invoke your 5th Amendment rights, then you will have to testify to everything that happened, including that you attacked him and he was acting in self defense. That may end up getting your prosecuted. That is why I suggested what I did, that you and he should take your attorneys and talking the district attorney privately.
Thank you for your advice. If I take the chance of going to court without an attorney to represent me, how likely is it that they will choose to prosecute me? My boyfriend has no memory of the event, so he won't be much of a witness if they do choose to prosecute me.
I would say the odds are not that great, but it certainly could happen. A lot depends on the district attorney, their workload, etc. It's just impossible to tell at this point in time without knowing more about the judge and the prosecutor involved.If you have further questions, please feel free to continue. If not, please do remember to leave a positive rating for my assistance today.Thanks!Nate
Over 8 years of criminal defense practice.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).