Battered Wife Syndrome as a Potential Defense to a Domestic Violence Charge
Domestic violence is a tricky topic. It is defined as an act of violence committed against an individual with whom the perpetrator has or had an intimate relationship or shared a home. Spouses, former spouses, dating partners, and any individual with whom the alleged perpetrator has a child are all individuals who can potentially be considered domestic violence victims, rather than battery victims.
Relationships are complicated, and when violence enters the picture, self defense can look like an act of aggression. The trauma of being a domestic violence victim can push an individual to fight back or even seek revenge against the abusive partner.
What is Battered Wife Syndrome?
Battered wife syndrome, also known as battered woman syndrome, is a condition that some domestic violence victims suffer. Symptoms of battered wife syndrome include:
- Denying the abuse;
- Feelings of anger and sadness;
- Flashbacks to the abuse; and
- Intense fear.
Self Defense as a Legal Defense Strategy
When you are facing a domestic violence charge, claiming that you suffered from battered wife syndrome is not, in itself, a valid legal defense. However, you can claim that you acted in self defense. Additionally, if you did cause the victim to suffer an injury because you were suffering from battered wife syndrome and fought back, any documentation that supports this position is a useful part of your legal defense strategy.
Demonstrating that you acted in self defense requires you to show that you felt your life or safety was in imminent danger when the actions occurred. Basically, you must prove that your actions were reasonable given the situation you were in when they occurred.
You can support your claim with eyewitness testimonies to the event, photographs of your injuries from the event, and any documentation you have of a history of domestic violence in your household.
Be Proactive About Developing an Effective Legal Defense Strategy
Battered wife syndrome is a type of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you plan on making your condition part of your legal defense strategy, do all you can to effectively develop your case. This means having a mental healthcare professional officially diagnose your PTSD and provide testimony about your specific case and how your condition caused you to take the actions you took.
Self defense is not the only legal defense strategy you can employ to fight a domestic violence charge. Others can include a lack of evidence to support the charge, evidence showing you were not present when the alleged attack occurred, and demonstrating that the evidence used to support the charge was collected illegally.
Work with an Experienced Geneva Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing a domestic violence charge, you are facing life-changing criminal penalties. Work with an experienced Naperville criminal defense lawyer to fight the charge and ideally, avoid facing its associated penalties. To get started with a member of our team, contact Donahue & Sowa today to set up your initial legal consultation in our office.