Prosecution Tactics in Domestic Violence Cases in Los Angeles
If you have been charged with domestic violence, you need experienced and aggressive legal counsel. Prosecutors treat domestic violence (DV) defendants with unique distaste. They tend to forget that you are 100% innocent unless they prove you guilty at trial.
The state may use underhanded tactics to try to convict you of DV charges. A good domestic violence attorney in Los Angeles can protect you from unfair prosecutorial practices. Below we detail a few tactics prosecutors use in DV cases in Los Angeles.
Tactic #1: Protective Orders to Prevent Reconciliation
Prosecutors often use protective orders to keep you from reconciling with the alleged victim in a domestic violence case. Prosecutors typically seek restraining orders in every single DV case, regardless of whether they are actually appropriate.
The government claims that they want protective orders (no contact orders) to keep the victim safe. If this were true, they wouldn’t seek restraining orders in every single case, regardless of the allegations. Many prosecutors are worried that a spouse, partner, girlfriend, or boyfriend will refuse to testify at trial. This would mean the prosecutor could lose the case.
In order to prevent the defendant and victim from making up and saving their relationship, prosecutors use restraining orders. This makes sure they will have their star witness. In practice, this means parents are torn from their children, marriages are ruined, and defendants become homeless.
Tactic #2: Charge Piling / Overcharging
Another common prosecution tactic in domestic violence cases is called “charge piling.” District Attorneys love to overcharge DV cases. Prosecutors have a lot of incentives to overcharge cases, and their distaste for domestic violence cases makes it worse.
Prosecutors throw the book at DV defendants to make sure they can send them to jail as easily as possible. By overcharging a case, they can force a defendant to take a plea deal to get the extra charges dropped. Fear and intimidation is the prosecutor’s tool to force bad plea deals.
A criminal defense lawyer can keep the prosecution honest and prevent them from bringing arbitrary charges. A criminal defense lawyer knows that the prosecution has to prove every charge beyond a reasonable doubt. A good criminal defense lawyer uses this high burden to negotiate a favorable plea bargain or, in some cases, a dismissal.
Tactic #3: Witness Intimidation Charges
The third prosecution tactic to watch out for is witness intimidation charges. Even if you aren’t subject to a protective order, you should not speak to anyone about your case, especially witnesses and the alleged victim.
If you speak to witnesses or the alleged victim about the case, you risk witness intimidation charges. This is because seemingly innocent statements like “come on, you don’t want me to get in trouble” can actually be the basis for serious criminal charges. Judges might interpret this statement as trying to influence a witness’s testimony illegally.
One way this charge arises in domestic violence cases is through jail phone calls. Prosecutors may eavesdrop on your phone calls from jail. Many times, DV defendants are desperate to speak to their loved ones to apologize and try to make up. They don’t realize they are being recorded and may say something the state can prosecute as criminal witness influencing or intimidation.
These three prosecution tactics in domestic violence cases in Los Angeles are very scary. Shady strategies like these are what make criminal defense an uphill battle. If you have been accused of domestic violence, don’t talk to anyone about the case. Call a criminal defense lawyer to protect yourself from these and other prosecution tactics.