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It Was an Accident: Unintended Injuries and DV Charges

Posted by Martens & Brusseau | Dec 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

Injury Without Intent

When it comes to domestic violence charges in California, the penalties the court will impose will increase if the alleged victim suffered an injury. In fact, a single injury sustained can turn misdemeanor domestic violence charges into felony domestic violence charges. Many domestic violence incidents end up in violence with one or both parties to the fight getting injured. But there are cases where the injuries inflicted were unintended. And you cannot be convicted of domestic violence for accidentally harming someone.

Proving Guilt

California's corporal injury on a spouse is a domestic violence crime that requires the victim to have sustained a traumatic condition. A traumatic condition is essentially an injury, be it visible or invisible. But, you must have injured the alleged victim willingly and with intent to be found guilty of this offense. Accidents happen, and accidental injuries are not uncommon. Unfortunately, people who make false claims of domestic violence rarely consider the reality of the situation when reporting the offense. Rather, they typically fabricate criminal behavior to seek revenge or otherwise harm the alleged abuser. This puts too many innocent people behind bars for offenses they did not commit. If you are worried that might be you, here are some things you should know before you sit down with an attorney.

Prepare Your Defense

First, claiming the injury was accidental can be hard to do and isn't always successful. The alleged victim's testimony will be considered, as will any medical records. You need to be able to provide some form of support for your claim, as your word will not outweigh the alleged victim's testimony. The testimony from any witnesses, including expert witnesses such as medical providers, will also play a role. But your main concern should be proving the injuries were accidentally inflicted, and that it would be out of character for you to injure someone close to you.

Your Past Can Come Into Play

Second, claiming the injuries were accidental will be easier if you do not have a history of violence or violence offenses, including domestic violence offenses. If you have a track record of violence, it will be very hard to claim the injuries inflicted were accidental. But you should never give up hope before speaking with an attorney. A California criminal defense attorney with experience in domestic violence defense can evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case and advise you on whether such a defense is likely to be successful.

The Facts Matter

Third, the court will consider the nature of the injury. Is it a black eye? A broken nose? It would be harder to argue the injuries were unintended if they were obviously caused by human force. Again, make sure you work closely with an attorney. He or she can advise you on the factors that could influence your case and how to leverage the weaknesses in the prosecution's argument in your favor. Certain injuries, such as bruises, may indeed be accidental. A good example of an accidental injury is if a woman brushed past her husband during a fight and accidentally caused the husband to fall down the stairs. Although it may have been a heated argument and the woman did rudely brush past the man (which could be a criminal charge, too), she did not intend to injure him.

Always work with an experienced California domestic violence defense attorney in your area if you are facing DV charges. Raising a successful defense is difficult no matter the circumstances. But that doesn't mean it is impossible. A good attorney can help a defendant leverage his or her defense and fight the charges. Not everyone who is accused of domestic violence is guilty, and not every defendant who is facing charges will be convicted. It takes speaking with a knowledgeable attorney to get a better idea of what the best course of action is in your specific case.

If you are facing domestic violence charges in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings County area, call experienced domestic violence defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can help you fight your charges and clear your name. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, attorney Martens is ready to defend your rights.  Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.

About the Author

Martens & Brusseau

Bio Visalia and Bakersfield criminal defense attorney who has dedicated his life to helping those who have been accused of crimes or injured due to the negligence of others.


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