Domestic violence is a crime that typically occurs between two people who are close to each other. Ordinarily, you probably do not want your spouse being charged with a crime, but if you feel your safety is threatened you may call the police. Even if your spouse did not intend for you to be criminal charged, just notifying law enforcement in an attempt to gain protection can set in motion the criminal justice process. Once this process is started, your spouse cannot stop domestic violence charges from being filed. The criminal prosecution process in California generally starts with law enforcement submitting a complaint against an individual to the county prosecutor, also called the district attorney. This is usually subsequent to an arrest or response to a domestic violence call and questioning of the victim. The district attorney then decides whether or not there is enough evidence to file charges. Your spouse may have provided enough information for charges to be filed. If there isn't, the complaint will be dismissed, charges will never be filed, and you will only have the arrest appear on your record. If they do file charges, they will schedule an arraignment hearing for your case and you may eventually be convicted. Plenty of reported crimes never make it to this stage however.
If you are facing charges for domestic violence, chances are good that your spouse or someone they knew had a role in the charges being filed. Domestic violence is difficult to prove without evidence or testimony from the victim. While it won't be your spouse who actually files the charges, with his or her contributions the district attorney may have enough information to file charges against you. Once these charges are filed, your spouse cannot do anything to stop them. You should know that you wouldn't be convicted of a domestic violence offense just because your spouse requests a domestic violence restraining order. If your spouse requests a restraining order and you do not violate the order, you may not be charged with a crime. If you do violate the order, regardless of whether your spouse reports it, you could face jail time and fines for each violation.
You should speak with an experienced California domestic violence defense attorney right away if you are facing charges. An attorney who is able to reach the prosecutor before charges are ever officially filed may be able to have the case dismissed. Again, without enough evidence, the district attorney may decide to dismiss the case. A skilled attorney may be able to work with the district attorney to arrive at a favorable conclusion. If charges have already been filed, an attorney may be able to have your domestic violence charge reduced to a lesser crime. An attorney can also help you defend yourself against false allegations. False allegations of domestic violence are actually quite common. Sadly, when the alleged victim makes the call to report you, he or she may soon come to regret the consequences once the police are on their way. At this point it is not uncommon for these so called victims to try to prevent you from being arrested, but police officers must follow certain protocol when it comes to responding to a domestic violence call. In most cases someone must be taken into custody. Even though an arrest may not necessary end in a conviction, it will appear on a criminal record until it is removed through a petition. California employers are not allowed to ask about an arrest that did not end in a conviction, but they may still be able to view the arrest on your record. They cannot hold that arrest against you when considering you for employment, but it goes without saying a domestic violence arrest can give someone the wrong impression, even if you were never convicted. Your spouse or partner cannot stop or reverse the charges once they are filed, but a skilled attorney may be able to have your charges reduced or even dropped with a strong defense.
Are you in the Visalia or Tulare area and facing charges for a domestic violence offense? At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we are experienced in domestic violence defense and can help you formulate a strong defense against the prosecution's argument. Criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens has successfully represented clients in Fresno, Tulare and Kings Counties for over ten years and will not be afraid to take your case all the way to trial. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss your case.