Former Dolphin receiver Chad Johnson was arrested on domestic violence charges Saturday and then soon thereafter lost his job. According to police reports, Johnson allegedly head-butted his wife during a heated argument. Apparently, Evelyn Lozada, Johnson's new wife, found a receipt for condoms in the trunk of the car. The argument escalated to the point that the defendant purportedly resorted to physical violence. After the encounter, the alleged victim ran to a neighbors house where she called 911. Police arrived at the scene and discovered that the victim had a laceration on her forehead. The police found Johnson driving around the neighborhood when he was stopped and arrested for misdemeanor battery, a common charge in domestic violence cases. This not the first arrest in recent times for Miami Dolphin players accused of domestic violence.
Johnson was taken to jail and appeared at a bond hearing the following day. The bail was set at $2,500 and the judge issued a non-contact or stay-away order. Johnson, like other defendants arrested for domestic violence could not post bail immediately which is uncommon for most criminal charges. In domestic violence cases, defendants are required to appear before a bond hearing judge prior to their release from custody. There are two reasons for the delay in domestic violence cases. First, the delay allows for a cooling off period. More importantly, the judge has to issue the stay away order thereby causing a defendant to have to wait until the next available bond hearing to see a judge prior to release. The criminal lawyer representing appeared at the jail upon Johnson's release and ferreted him off to an unknown location.
A first time arrest for domestic violence is not normally a catastrophic event for a defendant with a clean arrest record. Of course that depends on the severity of the domestic violence and the charge(s) levied by the state attorneys's office. Typical charges for domestic violence include misdemeanor battery, misdemeanor assault, aggravated assault, felony battery or aggravated battery. Depending on the actions of the defendant and the injuries sustained by an alleged victim will often dictate what charges will be filed by the prosecution. The disposition of the case will be determined by the level of the offense charged, the victim's injuries and most importantly the victim's position as to how the case is to be resolved.
First time offenders of the domestic violence laws represented by a qualified criminal attorney can usually receive the benefit of a pre-trial diversion or pre-trial intervention program. If a defendant enters and successfully completes the program, the prosecution will nolle pros or dismiss the charges at a future date. Johnson will most likely not be eligible for the program as he has a previous domestic violence arrest back in his junior college days. He was placed on probation and ordered to take anger management classes. As long as the victim cooperates in the case, Johnson will most likely be looking at probation with more classes. Defendants who are eligible for the program are required to complete the a domestic violence program consisting of 26 to 28 classes which generally takes 6 to 12 months to complete. Of course defendants do not have to accept the program of probation and can opt to go to trial. Defendant who prefer this course of action mst retain counsel that is experienced in a criminal trial setting.
Ex-Dolphin Chad Johnson Posts Bail on Domestic Charge, Miami Herald.com, August 12, 2012.