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Proving Injury in Domestic Violence Cases

Posted by Christopher Martens | May 04, 2017 | 0 Comments

Tenuous Evidence

When it comes to domestic violence offenses, the evidence is sometimes in scarce supply. Consequently, domestic violence cases are some of the toughest a criminal defense attorney will ever handle because of a few key factors. There are often no witnesses to the offense because many domestic violence crimes are committed in the privacy of the defendant's home. In many cases, it is the victim who calls the authorities. The police will hear two sides of the story and may or may not have any evidence to corroborate them. The nature of domestic violence offenses also leaves little chance for hard physical evidence other than broken or damaged items in the home or injuries on the victim. Indeed, records and images of the victim's injuries are often important pieces of evidence in domestic violence cases. But how do you prove the defendant injured the victim? If no one witnessed the incident, how can the prosecuting attorney show it was the defendant who inflicted the injuries? And what happens if the injuries aren't clearly identifiable as a broken bone or black eye would be? These questions illustrate some common complexities of domestic violence cases.

Without sufficient evidence, a domestic violence case could be dismissed. When it is the defendant's word against the victim's, one could assume the prosecution might have little traction for getting a conviction. But California prosecutes domestic violence offenses aggressively and leaves little room for leniency. Accordingly, the prosecuting attorney will admit as much physical evidence as possible in his or her argument. In most domestic violence cases, this physical evidence comes in the form of photographs of the victim's injuries or damaged property after the incident and medical records. These types of evidence play an extremely important role and will be used to the fullest extent.

Medical records, in particular, are useful pieces of evidence because they are typically dated and time stamped according to hospital or clinic procedure. They can be obtained relatively easily with a subpoena (if necessary) and can be easily redacted to remove certain pieces of identifying or personal information the alleged victim does not want to be public. Medical care professionals, particularly emergency care providers, are trained in recognizing and dealing with domestic violence injuries and can serve as expert witnesses in such cases. Medical records can also attest to physical injuries that are not visible on the victim and unable to be photographed accurately.

Proving the victim suffered injuries at the hand of the defendant in the absence of any witnesses is difficult but not impossible. Prosecuting attorneys typically rely on physical evidence such as photographs and medical records to make their case. But, when all is said and done, these pieces of evidence do little in and of themselves to establish the cause of the injuries or damaged property. Again, with no witnesses, the circumstantial evidence may be all that the prosecutor has. Nevertheless, when shown to a jury, medical records from the night of the incident and photographs of the injuries and any damaged property are quite compelling.

Knowing how medical records can play a role in your case can give you a leg up in your defense. But you will need access to the records and will need to know how the prosecuting attorney can use the information therein against you. Thus, you need to consult with an experienced California domestic violence defense attorney in your area if you are facing domestic violence charges. These cases can be very complex, and fighting your charges will require skill, know-how and a thorough understanding of how the prosecuting attorney will attempt to prove your guilt. A knowledgeable attorney will be indispensible to you in your case and can obtain copies of the evidence being used against you so you can make informed and strategic moves in your defense.

If you are in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings County area and have questions about domestic violence charges, call experienced domestic violence defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can help you face your charges with confidence. 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

Christopher Martens

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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