Domestic violence is one of the most common crimes in Los Angeles County. In many DV cases, the alleged victim and suspect are involved in a marital or dating relationship living in the same home.
Domestic violence incidents often begin with a simple verbal argument over a wide range of issues, but then escalate into a physical confrontation.
Police receive domestic violence calls for service from a variety of sources. Obviously, the most common comes from the alleged victim, but there are situations where the alleged attacker will call for police. It's also common to receive DV calls from a neighbor or a bystander.
Domestic violence allegations normally occur between two intimate partners behind a closed door, which makes it a classic he-said, she-said scenario, and the stories almost never match.
This makes it difficult for police to determine exactly what happened, so law enforcement and prosecutors will seek objective evidence to corroborate claims by both parties involved.
For example, if a victim claims they were struck hard on the side of their face, there should be some type of bruising or red marks. If they say claim their property destroyed, there should be also be some evidence the scene.
In domestic violence cases can't be corroborated by objective evidence, then we will have a good opportunity for a successful prefiling intervention to avoid the filing of charges.
Many of our clients who were arrested for suspicion of a domestic violence offense are charged with California Penal Code 243(e), misdemeanor domestic battery – or – California Penal Code 273.5, corporal injury to a spouse, a potential felony.
There are situations where the Los Angeles County prosecutor might be willing to reduce the domestic violence charges to a lesser offense during plea negotiations – and potentially avoid a domestic violence conviction, or even avoid the formal filing of charges.
To give readers a better understanding of a prefiling intervention defense to DV charges, our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys are providing an overview below.
Can The Victim Drop the Charges?
There is a common misconception that an alleged victim of domestic violence has the authority to drop they charges. The simple answer to this question is “no.”
In other words, in Los Angeles County, you can be arrested and charged with domestic violence in a situation where the alleged victim doesn't even want you to be arrested – much less charged.
The prosecutor alone has the final authority to decide whether to file domestic violence charges and can proceed with the case if the victim doesn't even show up in court. In simple terms, the prosecutor on the case is the only person who can drop charges, and the alleged victim is considered a witness for the prosecution. There are certain situations when the prosecutor could be open to a reduced charge for domestic violence through plea negotiations.
How Pre-Filing Intervention Works
An effective defense strategy against domestic violence cases is “prefiling intervention” – which is a process where your criminal lawyer will negotiate with law enforcement and the prosecutor in an attempt to have the case dismissed.
In many domestic violence incidents, alleged victims become uncooperative or they have a motivation to exaggerate the details of the incident, or that can outright make false allegations.
Our lawyers might be able to present an effective presentation of these issues to show actual proof – along with mitigating factors about your character and background – that will often end up getting the domestic violence charges dismissed, or reduced from a felony to misdemeanor. It could even result in your case being informally handled through an office hearing process.
The best strategy against domestic violence charges in Los Angeles County is immediate intervention by a criminal defense lawyer right after a police report or arrest. We might be able to help you avoid the risk of a formal criminal charged being filed against you.
Even in cases when formal domestic violence charges have already been filed, experienced legal representation is often the best chance at a favorable outcome.
We have learned that presenting mitigating factors early in the court process often helps our clients avoid jail or achieve a lesser charge. In some domestic violence situations, the prosecutor wants to avoid having to deal with an uncooperative and combative victim who has charged their story several times. This scenario is not uncommon and will often lead the prosecutor to seek a quick resolution on the case favorable to our client.
It should be noted there are domestic violence cases where a settlement with prosecutor can't be reached. This means we will have to proceed to a jury trial. Our lawyers are skilled at the art of cross-examination and will seek any weakness in the prosecutor's case. This would include inconsistent statements by the victim – or their motivation to lie or change story.
It should also be noted that California Evidence Code 1109 permits the prosecutor to introduction any prior acts of domestic violence acts in order to prove the new pending case.
It's critical to understand how domestic violence investigations and the court process works in Los Angeles criminal courts. court cases. If you have been arrested and charged with a felony domestic violence case, early intervention by our law firm is crucial to maximize your chances of avoiding formal charged being filed in court.
Even if charges have already been filed by the prosecutor, strategic legal representation could result in a favorable outcome, such as having the charges reduced, and being sentenced to probation, rather than jail time.
In situations where the prosecutor may have strong evidence against you, our lawyers will aggressively work to minimize the behavior by presenting your good background and character as mitigating factors.
Common California Domestic Violence Charges
Penal Code 243(e)(1) – Domestic Battery
Penal Code 273.5 – Corporal Injury to Spouse
Penal Code 273d – Corporal Injury on Child
Penal Code 422 – Criminal Threats
Penal Code 273.6 – Violating a Restraining or Protective Order
Penal Code 273a – Child Endangerment
Penal Code 273d – Child Abuse
Penal Code Section 368 – Elder Abuse
Penal Code 136.1 – Witness Intimidation
Penal Code 646.9 – Stalking
Penal Code 653m – Making Annoying Phone Calls
Contact our Law Firm To Review Your Case
If you have been accused of any type of domestic violence charge, you need to consult with a criminal defense lawyer who knows the best strategies to avoid a conviction.
In some cases, depending on the details, our law firm might be able to avoid the formal filing of charges through effective pre-filing intervention. If convicted of domestic violence, you might be ordered to pay victim restitution for any losses suffered by a victim due to your conduct.
Our law firm represents clients throughout Southern California, including the greater Los Angeles County area and the San Fernando Valley.
We need to review the details of your domestic violence case in order to determine an appropriate strategy for best outcome.
We exclusively practice criminal defense and have over decades of combined experience in prefiling interventions, court representation, and jury trials. Call us for a free case evaluation.