Domestic violence is a significant problem in the United States. That is why states like California have stringent laws against the offense. Anyone found guilty of domestic violence is likely to receive a hefty fine and a lengthy prison term, depending on the circumstances of the crime. Sadly, people are wrongly accused of domestic violence and might face a wrongful conviction if they do not put up an intense fight against their charges.
Fortunately for you, California law allows the use of different defense strategies against domestic violence charges. You can use one or more of these strategies to have the court dismiss or reduce your charges for domestic violence in San Diego, CA. However, you need to hire a competent domestic violence attorney to help with your defense. It will improve your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome of your case.
Defenses for Domestic Violence Cases
When a prosecutor files domestic violence charges against you, your domestic violence attorney will evaluate any evidence collected against you to determine your chances of winning the case in court. Your attorney will also gather any evidence that could help your case, including preparing eyewitness accounts and looking for anyone willing to testify in your favor during the trial. Criminal attorneys have their client’s best interests at heart. That is why hiring an experienced attorney could help in obtaining a favorable outcome for your case.
Criminal attorneys take time to prepare for trial. They want to be sure that they have sufficient evidence and the right defense strategies to defend their client against the charges they are facing. Your attorney will consider a lot of things, mainly from the police reports.
For instance, if anyone witnessed the domestic violence incident and what they have to say about the matter. Eyewitnesses are crucial in cases involving domestic violence. They help piece together the happenings of the day the alleged crime occurred. If eyewitness accounts contradict the statement provided to the police by the alleged victim, you might have a chance to compel the court to dismiss your charges.
Your emotional state and that of the victim when the police took your statement will matter as well. People tend to exaggerate and sometimes say the wrong things when emotions are high. Your account and the alleged victim’s account would likely be more accurate if you were given some time to calm down.
All these and other factors come into play when planning a solid defense against criminal charges. But your attorney has to use specific defense strategies allowed by law to fight your charges. The most common of these strategies are as follows:
You Didn’t Commit the Alleged Offense
California domestic violence laws make it an offense for anyone to harm or issue threats of harm to a person they are in an intimate relationship with. It is a form of abuse committed against an intimate partner. Abuse occurs when you recklessly or intentionally use or threaten to use physical force against another person. If none of these happened then, you could use this defense to have the court dismiss your charges.
It could be that the alleged victim lied to the police to put you into trouble. That happens all the time, especially if one partner wishes to seek revenge or even out of jealousy. Someone else might have abused the alleged victim, only for the victim to accuse you of a crime you did not commit. There could be many possibilities. Experienced attorneys have encountered similar cases where a victim suffers harm in the hands of one person but accuses another of one reason or the other.
When you face charges for domestic violence you did not commit, you might know the reason why the alleged victim lodged false charges against you. From your explanation, your attorney will look for evidence that could support your claims to prepare a solid defense against your charges in court.
First, he/she will determine your whereabouts at the time of the offense. The chances are that you were not anywhere near the crime scene when the violation occurred. However, you need a credible alibi to support your claims.
Remember that the burden of proof lies with the prosecutor in cases like these. The prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were present at the crime scene and were involved in domestic violence. The kind of proof the prosecutor can provide includes an eyewitness account or any other evidence that will put you at the scene. For instance, it could be a recording of the 911 call that might have picked your voice in the background or a neighbor’s account that he/she saw and heard you during the time of the crime.
If no evidence exists to that effect, then the court might accept your defense and request to dismiss your charges.
No Domestic Violence
Your attorney can use this defense strategy if you face domestic violence charges in San Diego, but no such crime occurred in the first place. It is not unusual for people to fabricate stories with the intent to accuse an innocent person of a serious crime they did not commit. Criminal court judges have seen cases like these, and some have convicted innocent people in the past. That is why the court will be willing to listen to your side of the story if you have a firm conviction that no domestic violence occurred.
However, your attorney will still require sufficient evidence to support your claim that no violence occurred.
For instance, your attorney will seek to find whether the victim incurred any injuries. The absence of physical injuries could support your claim that no violence occurred. However, if the alleged victim shows evidence as proof that the said violence occurred, your attorney will be tasked to explain how, in his/her opinion, the victim incurred the injuries. If you live with the alleged victim, you might know how and when they incurred the said injuries.
A malicious person who fabricates lies to put you into legal trouble might even use past injuries as evidence of a crime that did not occur. Based on the evidence gathered, your attorney will know how to argue your case to convince the court of your innocence and the alleged victim’s desire to blame you for a crime that did not happen.
You can only face domestic violence charges in California if you recklessly or intentionally abuse your current or past intimate partner. If your partner incurred an injury in your hands, but your actions were not reckless or deliberate, the facts of the case will not be sufficient to support a conviction under the domestic violence law.
It could have been an accident. It means that you are not denying your presence and participation in causing your partner’s injuries, but your actions were not intentional or reckless.
Accidents happen all the time, whether at home or out there in the streets. A person might interpret the actions as intentional or deliberate, while in the real sense, they were accidental.
For instance, if you decided to storm out of the house in the heat of an argument, but your boyfriend was standing right next to the door and was hurt as you banged the door, your actions are not deliberate but simply accidental.
In any case, your attorney will investigate the matter further to ensure that your claim matches the facts of the case as gathered by the police. If indeed you were walking out of an argument, your partner’s statement must match your claim up until the part where you banged the door on your way out.
The court might accept your claim and even dismiss your charges if your story is consistent and you have no previous history of domestic violence.
Self-Defense/Defense for Another
Self-defense is a widely accepted defense strategy for violence-related charges. It is believed that a person may act violently against another if they feel threatened. Therefore, you could cite self-defense against your domestic violence charges if you acted the way you did to protect yourself or another person.
For instance, a person may act violently against their partner if they feel threatened or even to protect his/her kids. It could be that you violently pushed your partner away when he/she was about to hit you or your child. The push might have made him/her fall hard on the ground, where he/she incurred injuries.
When planning your defense, your attorney will look for evidence that could support your self-defense claims. For instance, the alleged victim might have admitted to violence in his/her statement to the police. Or he/she could have admitted that you were both arguing on the day the alleged offense occurred.
Your attorney will also seek to establish your reason for using violence against the alleged victim in self-defense or defense for another person. Were you or the other person in imminent danger of harm?
Note that in self-defense cases, the law only allows just enough force, not more than necessary for the situation at hand.
When it comes to criminal charges, the defense could help change the facts of the case as captured by the police or weaken the prosecutor’s account. In any case, the court’s decision is always based on the strength of the evidence presented in court, whether by the prosecutor or defense. Remember that the jury considers both accounts to make a verdict. Therefore, your attorney might look for other alternatives if he/she feels that the prosecutor has compelling evidence against you to support a conviction.
Police misconduct is a widely accepted defense in all kinds of criminal cases. California law has provided guidelines which the police must follow while making arrests and conducting investigations. For instance, if the police suspect you of any wrongdoing, they must obtain a warrant for your arrest. If you were arrested without a warrant, you might cite police misconduct to nullify some of the evidence collected by the police during the arrest.
Additionally, the arresting officer is required by law to read your Miranda rights before gathering evidence from you. The police must only question you after reading your Miranda rights. You reserve the right to remain silent when questioned by the police until you have legal representation. If the officer skipped that bit but went ahead to question you without reading your Miranda rights, you can cite police misconduct to have any evidence gathered during the interrogation inadmissible in court.
You have a right to legal representation, however trivial your matter is. The police must grant you that right soon after arrest. No further investigation must be conducted against you in the absence of a lawyer. If you cannot afford one, you have a right to free legal representation. If your request for a lawyer was denied during the initial investigation, this defense could help have some or all evidence against you inadmissible in court.
You could also cite police misconduct if you feel that the police were biased towards you. When the police receive a call for a domestic violence situation, they tend to side with the victim and quickly make an arrest without an initial investigation. That is usually an injustice. The police must hear your account of events before making an arrest.
Find a San Diego Domestic Violence Attorney Near Me
If you face domestic violence charges in San Diego, CA, it helps to find a competent attorney who can fight against your charges and change the outcome of your case. Fortunately for you, the law allows the use of specific defense strategies to compel the court to either dismiss or reduce your charges. At Domestic Violence Attorney Law Firm, our team comprises highly trained and experienced attorneys in domestic violence-related cases. We have done this countless times and are willing and ready to take you through the legal process. Call us at 619-393-8588 and let us improve your chances of winning the case.