Peter Blair | June 28, 2022 | Domestic Violence
A conviction for domestic violence can result in life-altering consequences. Therefore, these charges should always be taken seriously.
In domestic violence cases, prosecutors have two goals: to protect the victim and convict the defendant. However, in many unfortunate cases, prosecutors may employ various unfair tactics to get a conviction.
If you’re facing charges for domestic violence, don’t handle your case alone. A domestic violence lawyer can help.
What is Domestic Violence?
Before understanding how prosecutors approach these cases, it’s helpful to understand what domestic violence is.
Domestic violence involves abuse or threats of abuse between individuals in close relationships.
These relationships can include:
- Married couples
- Couples who are dating or previously dated
- Individuals who live together or previously lived together
- Partners who have children together
Additionally, the abused and abuser could be related by blood or marriage.
Domestic violence can encompass any of the following behaviors:
- Physically hurting or trying to hurt someone
- Threatening to hurt someone physically
- Sexual assault
- Harassment or stalking
California Penal Code 243(e)(1) details domestic battery and indicates that the charge is a misdemeanor with penalties including a fine of no more than $2,000 and jail time up to one year.
California Penal Code 273.5 defines domestic violence as inflicting corporal (bodily) injury. This offense can be a misdemeanor or a felony, so penalties depend on the category of charge.
Proving Domestic Violence
To convict a defendant of domestic violence, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant is guilty.
Prosecutors use many pieces of evidence to paint a picture of violence, including:
- Medical records
- Photos and videos
- Victim testimony
Along with evidence, the prosecution often uses certain tactics to get a conviction.
Common Prosecution Tactics for Domestic Violence
The strategy prosecutors use typically depends on the circumstances of the case. Some of the most common tactics are as follows:
Seeking a Protective Order
In some cases, the defendant and plaintiff may be able to resolve the issues that led to the domestic violence charge in the first place. However, this is impossible if there’s a protective order in place.
A protective order prohibits a defendant from having any communication with the alleged victim, and prosecutors sometimes push for protective orders to keep the parties away from each other.
Questioning the Defendant’s Credibility
In most domestic violence cases, law enforcement and prosecutors tend to believe the victim, even if there may be evidence available to prove otherwise.
Prosecutors often try to question a defendant’s credibility, but a good defense attorney is all too familiar with this tactic.
Charges for Witness Intimidation
When a defendant speaks to the alleged victim or possible witnesses in the case, they risk witness intimidation charges.
No matter what the defendant said to these parties, the prosecution may try to establish that the defendant was interfering with their cooperation or testimony. This could carry serious penalties.
Recording Telephone Calls in Jail
Along the lines of witness intimidation, the prosecution may try to use phone calls recorded while the defendant is in jail. If the defendant speaks to a witness or the alleged victim, they’ll attempt to use these calls against them.
Disclosing a Defendant’s History of Violence
If a defendant has any previous history of violence or bad acts, the prosecution may attempt to include the information at trial.
The prosecution wants to use a defendant’s history to create a link between prior wrongdoing and the current domestic violence charges to make the defendant look guilty.
Consult with a Criminal Defense Attorney to Discuss Your Domestic Violence Case
If you’re facing domestic violence charges, a criminal defense attorney can give you the best chance at a favorable outcome. Your lawyer will work diligently to get charges reduced or dropped, reduced penalties, or an acquittal.
Do not face your domestic violence charges alone. Consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.