No one looks forward to being saddled with a criminal case, but sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan. If you’ve been arrested on a domestic battery charge, there are a few things you can do to make things easier on yourself.

First and foremost, embrace your right to remain silent. The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination isn’t just for guilty people—it also “serves to protect the innocent who might otherwise be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.” If your attorney isn’t present, do yourself a favor and plead the 5th. This is even more crucial if you haven’t been charged yet.

Second, do what the judge tells you to do. There will almost certainly be a no contact order issued by the court. The reason this is called a no contact order and not a no contact suggestion is that these terms are not optional. If you violate a court order, things will only get worse for you.

Finally, listen carefully to the advice of your experienced criminal defense attorney. Domestic violence cases present the accused with one significant advantage: There are almost never police officer witnesses to the alleged battery, which makes it much more difficult for the State to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

These scenarios can also involve the troubling factor of a witness’ incentive to provide incorrect or misleading statements. Maybe your partner simply wants you out of the house, or is angling for a better bargaining position in your family law dispute. Your impulse is likely to confront the witness directly and challenge the statement in question, but this is a terrible idea. Let your attorney handle the legal strategy, while you focus on complying with the no contact order.

Your attorney can also counsel you on the defenses available to a person charged with a crime of domestic violence, including self-defense, defense of others and denial. No one should have to act as their own defense lawyer.

At the Marc Lopez Law Firm, experienced attorneys are ready to assist you with the best possible legal defense to your case. If you’re on the wrong side of a domestic battery charge, don’t hesitate to call us at 317-632-3642, and remember—always plead the 5th!