If you've been arrested on a domestic violence charge, you may be thinking that you don't need a lawyer. You may think it's easier to plead guilty, pay a fine, and get on with your life. But this is a mistake because the situation can be worse than you think. The following are a few things you need to know.

You are not automatically going to be found guilty

Although it seems like a person arrested for domestic violence is automatically seen as guilty, especially by the officers who made the arrest, this is not always so. Your spouse may have had a mark on their face that you did not put there, but if the officer sees it and makes an assumption, you may be arrested. In most states, if there is just a single mark on your spouse or partner's body, they're going to arrest you for domestic abuse. So it is important to understand that a domestic charge is no different from any other criminal charge. You are innocent until proven guilty.

There are many defenses for those accused of domestic violence

One example is that of self-defense. Everybody has a right to defend themselves, and it is sometimes the case that you were defending yourself. It is not uncommon for a person in the process of defending themselves to leave a mark or a cut on their spouse or partner while not sustaining any injury themself. Also, there is the issue of a false accusation. Although you're the one that is arrested, the cut or bruises on your spouse or partner may have occurred earlier from an injury you had nothing to do with. It is sometimes possible to document this previous injury in a way it becomes clear that your spouse or partner is lying.

You may be surprised at the penalties for domestic violence

Sometimes the consequences of being found guilty of domestic violence can be quite harsh. It depends upon the state you're living in because there is some variation in the laws, but, in general, the penalties have become stronger, even for first-time offenders. So before you decide to plead guilty, you really need to speak to an attorney. Then you can understand what the laws are in your state and what the consequences will be for your particular charge of domestic violence.

Although you may be in a situation where you want to quickly get it over with, you need to understand how severe the penalties can be against you if you're found guilty. You need to understand that this is no different than any other criminal charge. You are innocent until proven guilty, and there are many defenses against charges of domestic violence. Always consult with a lawyer who manages criminal law cases before you decide to plead guilty.