When Things Get Out of Hand
In domestic violence cases, the prosecution process often begins with the alleged victim calling law enforcement. The word of the victim will be taken seriously, and, in most cases, the alleged abuser will be arrested. False accusations are not uncommon in California domestic violence cases.
Unfortunately, those that do make false accusations are often emotionally unstable or out for revenge. What was actually a light brushing past is turned into a violent shove in the mind of the victim. Similarly, an act of pure self-defense can be construed as violence in the mind of the victim. As a result, good people are labeled as domestic violence offenders every day. While there are many flaws in the criminal court system that could be fixed to reduce these unfair convictions, on a practical level, all you can do is speak with an attorney and do what you can to counter the claims in your specific case.
Once the call to law enforcement has been made, there isn't much the alleged victim can do to stop the process. One call is all it takes to set the wheels of criminal prosecution in motion. To mitigate the effects of exaggerated claims of domestic violence, follow these steps:
Don't waste your time asking the victim to take back the accusation. Once a domestic violence report is made, pleading with the alleged victim to reverse the charges will not work. When a police report is submitted to the prosecuting attorney's office, the prosecuting attorney will then decide whether to file charges or not. Even if the victim doesn't cooperate or refuses to testify against you, don't bank on that getting you out of trouble. Prosecutors have ways of convincing victims to testify. And if the alleged victim is emotionally unstable, it's best not to count on anything they say.
Then, speak with an experienced domestic violence defense attorney in your area. The sooner you can involve an attorney, the better you can protect your rights. An attorney can advise you on what you should do to counter exaggerated claims of domestic violence given the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Every domestic violence case is different, and exaggerated claims and false accusations are so common that law enforcement has to take everything at face value as best they can lest they let one victim go unprotected.
Next, try to gather what evidence you can that would help prove your innocence or that the accusations were exaggerated. Talk to neighbors or potential witnesses, take pictures of the scene of the argument or incident, and get a copy of the police report. If you were arrested because of the accusation, you will have to wait until you are released from jail to do this. But it's still a good idea to stay aware of what kind of evidence might be used against you and make sure that doesn't happen. An attorney can advise you on what evidence you can gather that might help your case.
Law enforcement will be conducting a thorough investigation of the scene of the incident after responding. The goal of law enforcement is to gather evidence that can establish the facts of the case. So, even if a victim chooses to change the story or take back the allegation, powerful evidence supporting those initial statements may already be in possession of the prosecuting attorney.
Exaggerated claims of domestic violence are all too common. Unfortunately, many people are unfairly convicted for minor disagreements turned because victims aren't always honest and truthful. There isn't much you can do about a victim being untruthful, but you can take steps to mitigate or undermine the victim's claims. Speak with an experienced California domestic violence defense attorney if you are facing domestic violence charges. An attorney can evaluate the facts and circumstances in your case, listen to your side of the story, and advise you on the best course of action to challenge the alleged victim's exaggerated claims and clear your name.
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.