Every minute, there are around 20 people physically abused by their partners in the United States. Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects about 10 million people annually.
However, a lot of these cases remain unreported or are inaccurately reported, with some falsely accusing their partner of domestic violence. When this happens, the accused – or the defendant of the case – risks receiving a punishment they do not deserve and an unjust reputation as a violent person.
If your family member or partner charges you with domestic violence, you need to understand what will happen and what you and your lawyer should do. The Law Office Of Troy P. Owens, Jr. can protect you and provide you with sound legal advice and aggressive representation. Our clients understand the processes and the ways they can receive acquittal for the charges.
Overview of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence includes physical, mental, and emotional abuse perpetrated by a victim’s family member, spouse, or someone the victim previously had an intimate relationship with. No physical contact is necessary; under California law, the threat to hurt or scare a person counts as domestic violence. A prosecutor may charge the defendant with assault or battery but will heighten the punishment if the state proves that the victim is a family member or a romantic partner.
The defendant, if convicted, will have a criminal record and face jail time, fines, years of probation, or a combination of the three. He or she will carry this record for the rest of his/her life. It may also affect future child custody cases or job prospects. The charges will have a significant impact on the defendant’s reputation. If the defendant were falsely accused, this impact would be unjust.
The defendant can prove to the court that the charges are false using two methods: by letting the prosecution establish proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or justifying that his/her actions were out of self-defense.
“Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”
Under California law, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution has the burden of verifying that the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Under these terms, the jurors can only find the defendant guilty if they see no other way the evidence would prove otherwise.
In cases of domestic violence, the prosecution must prove the person is a family member or in a relationship with the victim. They must prove that the defendant committed violence and that there was proof of the crime. If the prosecutor cannot successfully prove all of these, there is doubt in the accusation, which may help acquit the defendant.
A defendant can claim self-defense or any justification that points to the victim as the one who caused the violence. When first responders arrive at the scene of a domestic violence case, many of them may have to judge who was responsible for the violence based on the injuries sustained or witness accounts. Whoever they deem responsible at that moment will be arrested under a domestic violence charge. This is not always accurate, and the defendant can justify his or her actions in court.
If a partner or family member accuses you of domestic violence, call a skilled criminal defense lawyer immediately. Your lawyer should have the experience to handle cases like yours and find substantial evidence to help your defense. If you can convince the court of your innocence, you can avoid the risk of punishment and social stigma associated with a domestic violence record.