Being charged in any criminal case is stressful and if you’re facing domestic violence charges in the Los Angeles courts it’s important to hire not only a criminal defense attorney but one who’s experienced in fighting domestic violence charges. Here are 5 tips:
Hire an attorney that specializes in domestic violence cases — not every criminal defense attorney regularly handles domestic violence cases. Domestic Violence cases often involve unique rules of evidence that an attorney must be familiar with. For example, special rules of evidence regarding the admissibility of prior domestic incidents, whether or not they were reported to the police and whether or not they resulted in an arrest or conviction. In California, for example, this is part of Evidence Code section 1109.
The Defendant may want to attend anger management while the case is pending and in those cases in which the Defendant is likely to face a conviction (meaning the facts are BAD), it is critical that the Defendant start attending anger management and/or counseling shortly after his arrest and continue to attend while his case is pending. Taking early responsibility can make a huge impression in the eyes of the District Attorney or other prosecutor handling the case. Your criminal defense lawyer should guide you to the appropriate classes and/or counseling center.
Get “character witnesses.” Domestic violence cases are often battles of he said v. she said. In these cases, we are forced to make a determination of which party is more credible. Who is more credible, the Defendant or the victim? A defendant in a domestic violence case should start to get “character witnesses ” together as soon as possible. These are people he knows that can testify to his character for things such as honesty and non-violence, and can point to specific instances of conduct where he was honest, truthful or non-violent. The jury can evaluate their testimony to help determine if the Defendant is being honest or not regarding the alleged domestic assault.
Obtain any audio or video recorded statements — in most domestic violence cases, the alleged victim is interviewed by the police and that interview is audio and /or video recorded, and the police report contains only a summary of those interviews. A Defendant CANNOT rely on the summary contained in the police reports. In so many cases, the police summary does NOT fully and accurately reflect what the alleged victim told the police, and what is omitted from the police report is generally what is most favorable to the accused.
Visit the scene if possible: Your attorney should visit the scene of where the domestic incident occurred. This is very important to make sure that the alleged victim’s statement of events make sense in terms of time and space. For example, if the victim says she was pushed in a hallway down a staircase, a good attorney will examine the scene to determine if this makes sense — was the victim really close enough to the stairs to fall down? Or, for example, was the kitchen countertop really sharp enough to cause the alleged cuts and abrasions.
If you or a loved is facing domestic violence charges anywhere in Los Angeles County ranging from Downtown LA to the San Fernando Valley (San Fernando, Santa Clarita, Van Nuys, etc.) contact our team of Los Angeles criminal attorneys to receive a free case consultation.