(Note: If There is no criminal case, but you are seeking protection or need to defend against a restraining order, click here: Restraining Order Information)
Domestic Violence Defense
Domestic Violence is a serious allegation and charge that is difficult for most to cope with. Not only are the potential consequences severe, it often creates a negative social stigma that most people otherwise would never be associated with. And this negative social stigma can spiral out of control very quickly. Sometimes allegations are false, sometimes something small gets out of hand. Whatever the case, we know that often times the people charged with these offenses are not bad or violent people and we will work with you and for you to establish that.
There are usually two (or more) stories about what occurred that led to the accusations and arrest, and there are several ways to approach the defense against these allegations. We are here to listen to what you say and to defend you.
But first, it is important to answer the question “What is domestic violence?” Many people who call me in-regards to a domestic violence charges have no criminal history and are shocked (and often understandably so) that they are in this situation to begin with. Domestic Violence is defined in PC 13700 as abuse committed against an adult or minor who is a former spouse, domestic partner or fiancé, a current or former live in partner (ie. dating relationship), current or former serious dating relationship, or if you share a child with the accuser/accused. Note that for purposes of custody disputes family law considers extended family for purposes of domestic violence. .
A person commits “abuse” when he or she intentionally or recklessly uses, or threatens the use of, physical force against an intimate partner.
I. HOW IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGED?
Domestic violence is what is known as a “Wobbler”. That means that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a more serious felony. The prosecutor considers the alleged extent of injury sustained by the victim, the defendant’s criminal record, and the circumstances that led to issue. There are several different statutes that variations of domestic violence can be charged under, depending on who the alleged victim is (ie. significant other, child, elder). See below for related statutes.
Domestic Violence Is a serious charge that can have long lasting effects that can lead to punishment in jail or prison as well as other serious consequences.
II. PENALTIES CAN INCLUDE:
- Jail or Prison
- Probation (either formal or informal)
- Stay away orders from victim(s) (ie. restraining order)
- Residence exclusion or stay away orders (ie. You can be forced to move out and stay out of your residence)
- Completion of a 1 year or more batterers program/child abuse counseling
- Abstain from drugs/alcohol and random drug testing
- Loss of custody rights
- Loss of gun rights
- Restitution to the victim
- Immigration consequences for non-citizens such as deportation, denial from entry in the United States, and denial of naturalization
III. DEFENDING AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES
1. Potential Defenses
There are many potential defenses that we explore to fight against Domestic Violence charges. This includes but is not limited to:
- The allegations are false. Sometimes, and I have seen it happen many times before, allegations are made based out of anger and jealously towards the defendant. For example, your significant other finds text messages on your cell phone that they don’t like. An argument follows and in order to get revenge they allege they make these false accusations to the police. Other examples of someone making false accusations can include for child custody purposes, or if the alleged victim was actually the aggressor but in an attempt to protect themselves from charges against them, they decided to call the Cops and give a different story of what took place. The list of reasons why people may make false allegations goes on and on.
- It was an accident. This is not uncommon either. Consider the above example where there is an argument and in the process there is an accidental contact that the alleged victim misinterprets as a sign of aggression or intent to injure.
- Self defense of yourself or another person.
- The injuries of the alleged victim were not caused by the Defendant.
2. Approach to Defending our Clients
There are several ways we approach the defense for our clients. It starts with hearing from you what happened that led to this situation. Whether it was an argument that is getting exaggerated by the other person involved, someone looking to get revenge for something unrelated, or one of the many other issues that can support that the accusations are false.
From there, it may be possible to handle the case on a pre-filing basis to avoid charges getting filed by contacting the Prosecutor’s office at an early stage. That is one of the reasons why it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney early to explore potential defenses and mitigating options early on. If you can avoid the case from being filed, it can save a lot of heartache and stress down the road.
When charges are filed, we work hard to do what we can to mitigate the charge(s). This is done by conducting extensive discovery and analyzation of the discovery and alleged evidence that is being used by the prosecutor to get a conviction.
In some cases, it is possible to get a “diversion” (whether it be informal or formal). If successful, then the case gets dismissed, avoiding a conviction. In other cases, it is possible to get the charge reduced to a less serious offense such as PC 415 disturbing the peace, PC 602 Trespassing, or a simple battery charge per PC 242.
Not all cases are resolved by disproving or showing reasonable doubt against the allegations. In some cases, my client has wanted to take some responsibility for what happened realizing that an argument or situation got out of control. In those situations, we break down the case perhaps showing that the situation was not the picture that was painted by the alleged victim when he or she initially reported it, but that there is some ownership of a situation or relationship that needs some work. In which case we may take a slightly different approach to defending and mitigating the case at an early stage.
Whatever the situation, the Law Office of Philip Hache will work hard and work with you to mitigate charges and potential consequences. We understand that this is a stressful situation and time for you and we will work together to get you through this difficult time.
Call 818-336-1384 to discuss your situation and how we can work through and past it.
Domestic Violence and related charges