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Common Issues in Domestic Violence Cases

Although every case is different, many clients come to Lowell Domestic Violence Lawyer Ryan Sullivan with similar questions and experiences.

My Girlfriend (or Boyfriend) is not Going to “Press Charges”

Probably the biggest misunderstanding in Massachusetts domestic violence cases is the belief that a victim of a crime can drop the charges. Lowell criminal defense attorney Ryan Sullivan has had this conversation more times than he can count. In Massachusetts courts, the State or Commonwealth proceeds against individuals charged with domestic assault and battery. The state is represented by prosecutors in the local district attorney’s office who work with the police and victims to get convictions. Even if the listed victim of a crime wishes to drop the charges, the state may (and almost always will) go forward with the charges without the victim – sometimes threatening to arrest the victim if they do not cooperate. Attorney Sullivan has a tremendous amount of experience in representing clients when the state is trying to go forward on charges without a victim or with a reluctant witness.

Case example: Attorney Sullivan represented a client in the Lowell District Court charged with a series of domestic violence offenses in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. The victim in the case denied that she was attacked by Attorney Sullivan’s client and did not testify at the trial. The prosecutor in the case tried to go forward with the testimony of an unrelated witness and a 911 telephone call. Result: Attorney Sullivan was able to convince the judge that the telephone call should not be admitted into evidence and the case was dismissed.

Wanting to Tell Your Side of the Story

Many people who are accused of a crime want to tell the police their side of the story. This is almost always one of the worst things that can be done. When you are the suspect in a crime, talking to the police will lead to evidence being used against you. This is true whether you committed the crime or not! An innocent client will often feel that telling their side will quickly end the case. Attorney Sullivan has witnessed all too often that this ends up hurting clients who reveal their defense strategy and allow the witness to “change” their testimony to fit the defense. Attorney Sullivan looks at every case – no matter how big or how small – with the same desire to come up with a winning strategy. His philosophy is always to keep this strategy quiet until the last minute.

Case example: Attorney Sullivan represented a client charged with domestic violence in the Lowell District Court. The client, believing that he had done the right thing, told the police what he believed was enough to end the case and disprove the allegations. The victim, after learning this information, corrected his earlier statement to fit the new information the client had provided. The prosecution moved forward with the new information and sought a conviction. Result: case dismissed.

What About a Continuation Without a Finding

There is an option in many cases for the possibility of a continuation without a finding (when the judge orders a period of probation without finding a defendant guilty). This is a good result, but not always the best. Many believe that taking a continuation without a finding can end the case early and avoid the hassle of going to court and fully fighting the case. The problem is that a violation of a continuation without a finding can result in guilty findings, felony convictions, and even jail time. With that in mind, Attorney Sullivan has convinced several clients to push towards a trial. Many times the result is that the case is dismissed or the client is found not guilty at trial.

Case example: Attorney Sullivan represented a client in the Ayer District Court who was charged with kicking his fiancé in the head several times. The woman denied that she was kicked, but an employee of a local business told the police that he saw the entire crime. The client wanted a continuation without a finding, but Attorney Sullivan pushed for a a trial. Result: not guilty verdict after a jury trial.

Call a Skilled Lowell Domestic Violence Attorney Today

Attorney Sullivan has handled domestic violence cases in Lowell, Ayer, Concord, Lawrence, Woburn, Haverhill, and Newburyport District Courts as well as the Middlesex Superior Court. Call him today to schedule a free consultation if you or a loved one is dealing with any of these issues, or have other questions regarding domestic violence charges.

Client Reviews

Great lawyer he has helped my family immensely. Very capable and dedicated. A lawyer who actually cares and an all around good person.


Ryan Sullivan is a very knowledgeable attorney. He is one of my go-to professionals when I am seeking insight on more complicated criminal matters. Without any reservations, he has my vote of confidence.

Ilya Liviz

Attorney Ryan Sullivan is professional, knowledgeable and compassionate.

Millie Cardello

My mom was involved in a horrible accident and we eventually found out she needed a lawyer. We had no idea who to contact and a mutual acquaintance recommended Attorney Ryan Sullivan. After our first meeting with Ryan we knew he was the attorney for our case. His communication and knowledge...

Heather R.

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