As a human being, you have certain rights that protect you from the various criminal acts committed daily. For example, you have the right not to be under arrest for a crime you didn’t commit.
Bearing the weight of domestic violence charges can be a traumatic experience. If you or a loved one is facing this charge, there are some things you need to know.
You could get your charges dropped by proving your innocence or mitigating your actions. Here is what you need to know about domestic violence charges and the steps to take to get these charges dropped.
Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped in Alameda County?
The majority of domestic violence accusations are misdemeanor counts. Anyone found guilty faces a mandatory three-year probationary period and the possibility of a restraining order.
However, if a kid is involved, a serious bodily injury was caused by the violent conduct, or if a sexual assault occurred, these scenarios would upgrade the case to a felony offense. The minimum sentence for these offenses is four years in prison plus penalties.
In some cases, the victim may decide not to file a complaint. Under California domestic abuse law, the prosecutor is the only party with the power to drop domestic violence charges after the authorities become aware of the case.
However, they don’t always get to decide whether to drop the charges or not. Once an investigation begins, it might be challenging to settle the allegations.
If you are the defendant, you may be able to get these charges withdrawn. Here’s the information you need to help fight the charges.
Justifications for Dropping a Domestic Violence Charge
There are several reasons why different people decide to drop charges when they get arrested for domestic abuse. For some, it’s a way to save money. For others, it’s a way to avoid embarrassment and public scrutiny. Whatever the reason, it’s a big decision that requires diligence and thoughtfulness
The Victim’s Statement
In some situations, there is insufficient evidence to use against the defendant. In that case, the prosecution might abandon the charges if the victim declines to cooperate with the investigation or testify.
The most common justification for dismissing a domestic abuse case is a lack of evidence. The prosecutor must provide the court with evidence to back up the victim’s claims. They can pursue dropping the charges when they decide against pursuing criminal action against the offender.
Domestic abuse victims typically provide two statements when reporting an incident, including:
- An oral statement to the law enforcement personnel who apprehend the suspect.
- A written statement meant for the police report.
The prosecution could abandon the case if they have any reason to suspect the veracity of the victim’s claims. The prosecution may also drop the charges if the statements conflict with the victim’s physical injuries. Both reports must be consistent for the prosecution to proceed with the case.
No impartial witnesses
Most domestic violence cases take place when there are no independent witnesses. As a result, finding any neutral witnesses who can support the victim’s claims is difficult.
However, the absence of impartial witnesses can make the case difficult to prove in many instances, particularly when the victim and the offender have contradicting statements. The prosecution may therefore choose to abandon all accusations.
No Visible Injury
In California, evidence of physical harm is not a prerequisite for the defendant to be found guilty of domestic violence. There are other ways to find evidence to back their claims.
However, proving the prosecutor’s claim is more complex when there’s no visible injury. The prosecution may drop the charges if there is no further evidence.
How to Drop Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic abuse is never okay. Domestic violence charges are even worse as they can permanently scar your record.
It’s unsettling to hear domestic violence allegations and imagine you’re under arrest afterward. An arrest for domestic violence, domestic abuse, or an application for a restraining order can result in judicial proceedings that have serious repercussions.
You need reliable information to help you make the best decisions and guide you through the process if you, a family member, or a loved one are in detention for domestic abuse.
The Victim’s Statement
The testimony and involvement of the victim are crucial in domestic violence cases. They will have to pursue dropping the charges after they have decided against pursuing criminal action against the offender.
Also, in some situations, there is insufficient evidence to support the defendant’s defense. In that case, the prosecution might abandon the charges if the victim declines to cooperate with the investigation or testify. The case might not have much to stand on if the victim chooses to support the defendant.
If the prosecution thinks it’s appropriate, the defendant might be able to have the charges withdrawn. However, the prosecution needs persuasion to ascertain that doing so will benefit all parties concerned.
If the victim submits an affidavit of non-prosecution, it is still possible to drop all charges. It will take a legal declaration made by the alleged victim, stating the following:
- They refuse to give a witness against the defendant.
- They do not want the accused to face any sentence.
- They want the prosecution to drop all accusations.
- The affidavit is being signed voluntarily, without the use of coercion or threats of criminal activity.
However, an affidavit of non-prosecution doesn’t immediately dismiss a domestic violence case. It simply gives the prosecutor something to consider before taking action in favor of everyone involved.
Rebutting The Evidence
Suppose the neighbors contacted the police to report a domestic violence case. In that case, the defendant might need assistance from the alleged victim to challenge the witnesses’ testimony.
The victim testifying on behalf of the defendant could prove that the incident wasn’t more than abusive language. The victim could also claim responsibility for any form of violence or damage that occurred as a result.
In this case, any evidence or claim made by witnesses will most likely be too weak to use against the defendant. The witnesses could be neighbors who don’t know or understand what truly happened inside the home. This misunderstanding can lead to the presentation of false information in court.
The victim may have to put in a lot of effort with the defense to provide the essential counterargument against neighborhood witnesses to request the dismissal of the domestic violence charges.
Working with the defense attorney may make it possible to dispute other types of evidence, such as bruises, cuts, fractures, or hospitalization.
Examining the Police Report
Substantial evidence that forms the basis for the domestic violence case is in the police report. Obtaining the police report can assist the defendant in developing a compelling defense to the accusations brought against them to offer to the prosecution. When evidence is sufficient, the prosecutor will dismiss all charges.
Seeking Legal Help
Even though you can persuade the prosecution to drop all charges on their own, it’s not advisable to handle a domestic violence case without professional legal help.
A skilled domestic violence attorney will help you convince the prosecution that prosecuting you will be counterproductive. Additionally, if the case ends up in court, you will need an attorney to defend you. Instead of jail time, the judge could impose a protective order.
The Significance of a Restraining Order
A restraining order allows someone to have only limited or no specific contact with another person. Restraining orders from court may be temporary or permanent.
Temporary orders typically hold for one month, and the person who received the order must notify the court of any changes in contact within 10 days of the change.
A judge will probably order the defendant to avoid contact with the victim and witnesses if they have a criminal record.
This directive is a requirement for release from custody. The accused may face criminal contempt for disobeying a court’s direct order. They could also revoke their release from custody if they do not abide by this order and make contact with the victim.
Additionally, the respondent must not make contact with or breach the order if there’s a temporary protective order issuance. If the respondent disobeys the order, they risk charges for contravening a temporary restraining order or being held in criminal contempt for doing so.
How to Combat False Domestic Abuse Claims
Unfortunately, false domestic abuse claims have become a massive problem in the United States. Records indicate that over 20 million Americans have been victims of wrongful domestic abuse. In turn, this has cost billions of dollars in legal fees and caused irreparable damage to innocent people’s lives. Fortunately, there are now several ways to fight back.
Several statutes deal with domestic abuse in California. Physical harm and domestic battery are the two most frequent.
- Physical injury refers to a situation where the victim can prove physical harm.
- Domestic battery is when there is no bodily harm. Physical injury is considered a felony in Alameda County.
You should take preventative action if you see any indications that you could be in danger of receiving a false domestic violence charge.
To help you through what might be a dilemma, you can take the first step by speaking with a domestic abuse lawyer in Alameda County.
You can take steps to safeguard yourself from false domestic violence claims.
- Suppose your partner makes any bogus threats or actions, record or document them. Pay attention to the details like the time, date, and what was said or done. All these details could be helpful in case you ever need an attorney’s help.
- Prevent Conflict. De-escalating disagreements is crucial when marital strife, especially when a spouse threatens divorce. Keep in mind that domestic abuse’s definition of a “threat of harm” is arbitrary.
- Protecting your electronic devices is crucial, too. Your partner may fabricate and send frightening text messages to their phone from yours and then use those texts as evidence of threats and a justification for their anxiety.
- If the case ends up in court, object to fresh accusations. Most courts won’t let a victim add new allegations to her first pleas after the hearing has begun. This situation frequently happens when the victim’s original accusations seem too broad.
- In many cases, affidavits are submitted asking for restraining orders when the claim does not meet the requirements set by law. Knowing the legal requirements in your state can be crucial as a result. The matter may be dismissed without actual trial when inadequate arguments are shown.
Why You Need a Domestic Violence Attorney
Before anything else, you should hire a domestic violence attorney if you’ve been wrongfully accused of domestic abuse. Experienced domestic violence defense lawyers in Alameda County know what to do to get charges dropped, reduced, or avoided entirely.
When you hire a domestic violence lawyer, their next task is to assist you in gathering the evidence to support your defense. Your attorney needs to know every important detail about your situation so they can provide solutions to your unique case.
Your attorney needs to know if your spouse is acting out of envy or greed or has ulterior motives. All correspondence, including emails, texts, and voicemails, should be given to your lawyer. Every detail you can provide about your partner’s justifications for falsely accusing you of domestic abuse will come in handy.
You also need a legal expert to give you the best advice for your situation. For instance, if you have a restraining order, it’s crucial to keep track of any conversations or requests for a meeting with your accuser. This record will serve as helpful evidence if your case ends up in court.
Domestic violence is a susceptible subject. Many people have to deal with the physical and emotional stress that comes with a domestic violence charge. But with the right help, you never have to face it alone.
The Law Office of Louis J. Goodman can give you all your needed help. We will study your case and provide solutions that fit your situation.