What are Some of the Defenses to a Domestic Violence Accusation?
At the Johnson Criminal Law Group, we evaluate and advocate for our clients based on possible defenses they may have to a domestic violence charge. One defense to a domestic violence charge is that the individual did not commit the crime, or, “I didn’t do it.” What that means is that the person may be falsely accused of a crime, or “framed” for some nefarious reason by an alleged victim when they actually never committed a crime at all.
Another defense to the charge of domestic violence occurs in he said she said cases. What that means is that there were two individuals involved in the alleged incident, and one individual may be telling the truth and the other is lying. In those cases the police investigate and they have to make a credibility call as to who they believe. Sometimes we get cases where the alleged victim has lied and talked about an incident of domestic violence that has never happened.
Another defense to domestic violence charges could be that whatever contact took place between the individuals was an accident or unintentional. The law doesn’t punish accidental or unintentional consequences in criminal cases. So that means that if an individual accidentally bumped into someone or fell on them - that doesn’t means that they are committing the crime of domestic violence because they lack the requisite general intent.
Another common defense that we see in domestic violence cases is the defense of self, or the defense of others. Self-defense happens when someone who is accused of domestic violence is actually the victim. And the alleged victim was actually the person who initiated the violence. In the state of California, you have the right to defend yourself even against an intimate partner. Other defenses we see include the right to defend children.
In every domestic violence case, the prosecutor will be required to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest standard of proof that we have in the justice system. In every case, the prosecutor has to prove each and every element of the charge. So in a domestic violence case, that means that the prosecutor has to prove that the act occurred and the individual had the requisite intent when they were committing the act. In some cases, prosecutors are unable to proceed to trial because they do not have the victims that they need to testify, they do not have the other circumstantial evidence that they need to prove the case, or they are precluded from offering evidence because of pretrial motions. In those cases, where a prosecutor cannot proceed with the case, those cases are often dismissed.
When police investigate domestic violence cases, they are required to follow certain protocols and the law. In some cases where they violate your rights, or their investigation violates the law, a prosecutor will not be able to go forward with the charges. That means that the case will be dismissed. At the Johnson Criminal Law Group, we look very carefully, not only of alleged victims and our clients, but the police who are investigating those cases, to see if there was misconduct and to see if the case should be dismissed.