Defending yourself against a domestic violence charge
A domestic violence charge can completely destroy your life. In addition to the potential criminal penalties you face, such as fines or jail time, being branded an abuser can forever damage your reputation, ruin your career and strain your relationships with friends and family.
If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, it is important to discuss the situation with a criminal defense attorney. There are many potential defenses to a domestic violence charge.
What is considered domestic violence?
California law defines domestic violence as willfully inflicting corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim. The victim must be a:
- Spouse or former spouse
- Someone you live or lived with
- Your fiancé or someone you previously dated
- The mother or father of your child
Domestic violence charges should be taken seriously by law enforcement; however, the reality is that sometimes people falsely accuse someone of domestic violence.
There are various reasons for making a false accusation. It might be to gain an advantage in a custody or divorce proceeding or to get revenge on someone after a breakup.
Were you falsely accused?
The alleged domestic violence victim must prove their case through evidence. This can include photographs of injuries or witness testimony.
Without this evidence, domestic violence cases become “he said, she said” situations. The judge must then decide which party is more likely telling the truth.
Did you intend to harm the victim?
Another potential defense is that the domestic violence was not intentional. Domestic violence requires intent, meaning that you must have intended to harm the victim.
Perhaps you were arguing, and to get your point across, you started waving your hands around and the alleged victim backed up and fell, sustaining injuries. If you did not intend for the victim to fall, this can potentially be a successful defense to a domestic violence charge.
Each situation is different, and there are many factors considered in a domestic violence case. Knowing your options and potential defenses is essential.