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Domestic Violence Defense Strategies

Written by: Doug Ridley

What to Do If You Face Domestic Violence Charges

California courts take domestic violence cases very seriously. If you are charged with domestic violence, you face some potential life-changing consequences that can include jail time, fines, your relationship with your children and could affect your ability to get a new job in the future. Some of our clients have made terrible mistakes in a moment of anger, while others are entirely innocent of the charges.

Whatever your situation, you need an experienced defense team that will protect your rights and aggressively defend your interests in court. At Ridley Defense, we understand the gravity of domestic violence or abuse charges. Our entire team will work tirelessly to get a positive disposition in your case. If you have been accused of domestic violence, contact us for a complimentary case evaluation.

Possible Domestic Violence Defense Strategies

The circumstances of your case will dictate one of the common defense strategies that an experienced attorney might use to possibly get your charges dismissed or downgraded. A thorough evaluation of the police report could help determine which strategy may work best.

When evaluating the incident report, your attorney will do the following to determine whether the charges are major or minor:

  • What did you tell the police, and does a recording exist that supports the information?
  • Are there eyewitness accounts of the incident?
  • What was the emotional state of you and the victim?
  • Does the report indicate signs of a struggle on your clothes or person?
  • How recent are the victim’s injuries
  • Do you have past reports of violence reported against you?
  • Does your home show signs of a struggle?
  • Do police observations contradict your claims?
  • Were you or the victim inebriated?

After evaluating the case, your lawyer will determine the most appropriate defense. Domestic violence defense strategies fall into seven major categories.

1. You did not do it

If the victim suffered violence at the hands of another person and you have an alibi that you were somewhere else when the incident occurred, this defense is quite straightforward. You need witnesses to back up your alibi, who will claim that they were with you when the alleged incident occurred or that you were not involved.

2. Your partner lied

False accusations are quite common in domestic violence cases. If you can show that you were not present when the alleged abuse occurred or otherwise indicate that your partner fabricated the accusations, the charges may be dropped. You’ll need to prove that any injuries the victim allegedly suffered at your hands are inconsistent with the crime report and not the result of your actions.

3. It was an accident

For this defense, you admit that you injured your partner but didn’t mean to do it. You must provide evidence consistent with your claim and allow your attorney to investigate specific details, including what weapon, if any, was involved in the incident.

4. I acted in self-defense

If you must protect yourself or another household member, you may use reasonable force to stop an attack. Using force to protect yourself or others from harm is legal, if you injure the attacker in the process. However, you should realize that you cannot use this claim if you were the one who initiated the altercation.

5. The incident can’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt

If the victim won’t testify against you, you may have a chance to prove that allegations cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Absence of evidence such as  the lack of physical evidence or damaged property at the scene, no injuries or other details that could back up the victim’s claims can make your case difficult to prove.

6. I did it as a result of my partner’s behavior

You admit to assaulting your partner as a result of temper abuse, mental condition, or similar reasons. Determining whether the prosecutor can prove anything beyond he said-she said claims is key to using this defense.  Proving whether the victim has violent tendencies is also crucial.

7. I did it, but the police can’t bring charges against me

This defense demonstrates that the police committed procedural errors during the investigation. These errors can include but are not limited to not reading your Miranda rights, no probable cause for a search or an investigation, the police did not ask your version of the events before the arrest, physical evidence was available but not collected, or the report does not sufficiently describe the incident. One or more errors can help prove that not enough evidence exists.

Hiring an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with domestic violence in California, do not wait to act. Contact our office to schedule your case evaluation. The sooner you retain us, the more time we will have to build your defense.

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