The guitarist for the heavy metal band Anthrax was arrested on domestic violence charges on Christmas morning. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 50-year-old Dan Spitz at his home in Lake Worth following an alleged altercation with his wife. But in a dramatic illustration of how quickly a misunderstanding can escalate into criminal charges, Spitz’ wife has now said she does not wish to press charges.

Deputies responded to the alleged incident around 5 a.m. He was jailed until the afternoon, when he was let out on his own recognizance. According to court records, Spitz and his wife had been drinking, and a verbal argument became physical.

It was Spitz’ mother-in-law who called police. Significantly, she didn’t witness the incident, but said she heard her daughter from another room saying she couldn’t breathe.

After Spitz was released, his wife made clear that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. She acknowledged that Spitz pushed her, but says he never struck her or tried to injure her. She also pointed out she is a kick boxer and that Spitz is rather small in stature and weighs about 100 pounds.

Domestic assault charges carry serious consequences. Those who are accused of violence toward a family member or loved one face possible jail time. In addition, in many cases the alleged victim is able to get a temporary restraining order that will prevent the accused from seeing their children until the case is resolved. If convicted, the accused will have a criminal record that will make future employment and housing options more limited.

As this case shows, when police are called to an alleged domestic violence scene they often make an arrest quickly in order to separate the alleged attacker and victim. As a result they often make an arrest without getting all the facts. But experienced defense counsel can make sure the accused’s side of the story is told in court.

Source: Miami Herald, “Anthrax axman Dan Spitz arrested in Palm Beach,” Jose Lambiet, Dec. 27, 2013

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