Domestic Violence: When Victims Strike Back

In many cases, victims of domestic violence will attempt to defend themselves or their children from abusers by committing a violent act against the perpetrator. Unfortunately, the abusers sometimes try to turn things around and convince police that the real victim is actually the aggressor. These actions often result in battered victims being charged with domestic violence or assault themselves. It’s a cruel twist for victims who simply try to defend themselves. Domestic violence is a serious crime and a such a conviction can lead to significant fines, jail or prison time, and a criminal record that can haunt offenders for years to come.

When is Self Defense Justified in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, when a victim is not the original aggressor, reasonably perceives an imminent threat, and his or her actions are proportionate to the situation, acts of self-defense may be justified in court. Unfortunately, inadequate investigation of the crime scene, complicated circumstances and histories can sometimes make it difficult for a victim and his or her criminal defense lawyer to prove that the violent acts were in fact, defensive and not offensive. To make matters worse, many types of abuse like emotional attacks, violent threats, and isolation, can lead to a victim’s fear and acts of self-defense but are not visually evident. Therefore, it is vital that investigating officers are familiar with the dynamics of domestic violence.

Determining the Predominant Aggressor

To help prevent the abuser from manipulating the system and turning the tables on the real victim in domestic violence cases, a variety of factors must be considered.

  • Any history or previous convictions of violence or threats of violence
  • Orders for protection that have been filed
  • The identification of both defensive and offensive injuries
  • Witness statements and how they support other evidence in the case
  • The demeanor of each party

When the predominant aggressor is misidentified, the victim could face serious, life-changing consequences. In addition to substantial fines and jail time, his or her child custody or parenting time rights, housing, employment, and even immigration rights could all be at stake.

More than one million women and thousands of men are victims of domestic violence committed by an intimate partner every year. Sadly, when many of these victims strike back, they suddenly become victims of the legal system as well.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

When charged with a crime in Minneapolis, Minnesota, one of the first questions you may have is: "Should I use a public defender or hire a private attorney?" Ultimately, the choice between a public defender and a private attorney depends on factors like your financial situation, criminal charges, and personal preferences.
Driving under the influence (DUI) of cocaine in Minnesota is a serious criminal offense. The penalties you may be facing if you're convicted on driving under the influence of cocaine will depend on your past DWI offenses, whether there are aggravating factors, and whether there were any injuries or fatalities caused. Several prior offenses and serious injuries or fatalities result in harsher penalties, such as hefty fines, license suspension or revocation, or jail time.
Knowing how to choose a criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, can help you hire a lawyer who will prepare an effective defense strategy and fight for the best result from your case. One of the crucial tips when selecting a criminal defense lawyer is to vet those with relevant experience in cases like yours. You can only do this when you thoroughly understand the charges you are facing.