Defending yourself against domestic violence charges can be difficult. However, you do have certain rights and options that may help you throughout the process. First and foremost, you should get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney for assistance in building your case.
After that, it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with the following actions:
Understanding the Definition of Domestic Violence
Under state law, domestic violence is defined as harming, or threatening to harm, an intimate partner. Common charges include domestic battery and inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner.
For purposes of criminal law, an intimate partner may include a current or former spouse, a current or former domestic partner, a current or former fiance, a person with whom you have a child, or a current or former significant other.
Consequences of a conviction may include jail time, participation in an intervention program, payment of fines, loss of custody rights, a permanent criminal record, and loss of gun rights. You may also face a restraining order.
Building a Defense
Common defenses used against domestic violence charges include:
- Claiming you did not commit the crime at all
- Claiming your former spouse or partner fabricated the story
- Claiming it was an accident, and therefore unintentional
- Claiming you were defending yourself or your children
- Claiming the incident cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt
- Claiming the incident took place because of your partner’s violent behavior
- Claiming the police made errors during their investigation and/or arrest
As soon as you hire an attorney, the police report of the incident will be carefully combed through for details. Is there a recorded call to emergency services that supports the victim’s story? Were there witnesses? What was your emotional state during the incident? Do you have a history of violence? Does your home show the signs of a physical struggle?
Your chosen defense will help your attorney determine where to look for possible evidence that backs up your claim.
Asking for a Continuance
Because a hearing in a domestic violence case typically takes place within ten days of the complaint, you may choose to ask the court to “continue” the hearing — giving you additional time to build your case.
During any criminal case, you have the right to ask for certain documents to build your defense, including copies of medical records regarding the injuries the victim claims to have suffered, a list of witnesses the victim intends to bring to the stand during trial, and copies of all evidence the victim will use in court.
You can also find evidence for yourself, including details from the police report, information from third-party witnesses that are not being used by the victim, or additional photographs and tape recordings you have in your possession.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney for Representation
Have you found yourself in a situation where you are defending yourself against domestic violence charges? An experienced Alameda County criminal defense attorney can help you understand and fight for your rights. Contact our team at The Law Office of Louis J. Goodman by calling (510) 582-9090.
- Some Advice From Your Public Defender
- What to Ask a Dublin Criminal Defense Attorney During an Initial Consultation
Getting arrested for domestic violence is a serious matter. Depending on whether the prosecutor files felony or misdemeanor domestic violence charges, you could be facing a long time in state prison. When law enforcement responds to a call of domestic violence and there are marks on anyone, someone is going to jail.
If you find yourself involved in a domestic incident and end up behind bars, it does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted of a crime. It is important that you try to remain calm and do not resist arrest. You also should exercise your right to remain silent and contact a criminal defense attorney that is experienced in defending against domestic violence charges. Whatever you say will be used against you, after all, law enforcement is building a case against you not trying to help you out of the situation.
If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to your case. It will likely be an attorney from the public defender’s office. It may not be in your best interest to have a public defender representing you. Oftentimes they have a high volume of cases that they are handling and cannot dedicate the time or resources that other criminal defense attorneys can.
If you are arrested in California for domestic violence, the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman may be able to help keep you out of jail and preserve your reputation. Remember that domestic violence charges are serious and carry with them the chance of significant time behind bars. Call us today to see how we can help you through this difficult time.