Just the Facts
Domestic violence cases present a variety of forms of evidence that can be used in criminal trial proceedings. California recognizes many different types of domestic violence, from making threats to physical violence. The form of evidence used by the prosecution in a California domestic violence case will depend on the specific allegations being made. Evidence is a key component of any California criminal case. Strong evidence can mean the difference between a conviction and a dismissed charge, so it is important to understand the pieces of evidence in your case and how the prosecuting attorney will use them against you.
Evidence in a domestic violence case will vary based on the facts and circumstances of the case. For example, if the alleged victim is claiming acute physical injury, emergency room medical records may be useful pieces of evidence. Not all evidence is valid. Some evidence may be deemed inadmissible while others could be irrelevant. Because domestic violence allegations can be false or exaggerated, it is important you be able to challenge any spurious evidence against you. You should speak with a domestic violence defense attorney if you have concerns about evidence in your case. California has rules that regulate when and how evidence can be used in a criminal trial, and an attorney can help you use these rules to your advantage if possible.
In cases where the victim was injured but did not seek medical care or call the police, the district attorney may have less strong evidence to use. Nevertheless, the district attorney will know exactly where to look to find supporting evidence. Your prior criminal record, evidence you have been in therapy or counseling for related issues, or proof of substance abuse may contribute to the prosecution's argument.
In cases where the victim does not have clear signs of injury, the evidence may come in a different form. Many California domestic violence cases do not involve in any physical injury at all. Stalking, threats, harassment, and the destruction of property are all instances of domestic violence punishable by law, but they leave no mark on the victim. How can someone prove that you were stalking or made threats? Witness accounts, including expert witness statements, and recordings or transcripts of written or verbal communication can be used as evidence of many forms of domestic violence and photographs can be used as evidence of destruction of property. For example, if you are being charged for sending threatening text messages to your ex, the prosecution may obtain transcripts of the messages to use against you in court. The victim can also provide recorded phone calls, emails, or other forms of written or verbal communication to the district attorney. These forms of evidence can be obtained using a certain type of subpoena.
The Importance of the Witness
Statements or testimony from witnesses can be strong pieces of evidence. District attorneys regularly call on witnesses to testify, make a statement, or produce documents in domestic violence cases. People who have witnessed you stalking, threatening, harassing, or otherwise abusing the victim may be able to turn the case against you. Expert witnesses, such as a therapist, counselor, or domestic violence advocate of the victims can contribute evidence that can be very powerful. Statements from people who witnessed the abuse or from professionals who've treated or helped the victim in some way can be very powerful, but generalized statements from character witnesses may not be used against you unless they are relevant to the case at hand.
As you can see, there is a wide range of possible forms of evidence in domestic violence cases. There are many rules and regulations concerning the use of evidence in criminal trials, but a general rule of thumb is the evidence must be relevant to the case and reliable to be admissible. You should consult with an experienced California domestic violence defense attorney if you are facing domestic violence charges. Especially with instances of false domestic violence allegations, successfully challenging the evidence being used against you is crucial. This is one reason why it is so important to speak with a criminal defense attorney before you try to defend yourself in court.
If you are facing domestic violence charges, call experienced Visalia area domestic violence defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can evaluate your case and the evidence against you and advise you on a defense strategy. Attorney Martens has practiced criminal defense for over ten years and knows how to defend your rights. Contact our Visalia or Hanford offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.