What to Do When Domestic Violence Charges are Filed Against You
Domestic violence is one of the most serious crimes an individual can be accused of. Being accused of hurting someone you care about can have significant emotional, professional, and personal consequences, even if you did not engage in the behavior you are being accused of.
Almost all domestic violence allegations are followed up on, investigated, and charged in certain circumstances and are regarded as serious, violent crimes by law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and the courts.
Being charged with a domestic violence crime you did not commit stands to affect the rest of your life; reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away if you are being accused of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Victims and Offenders
Domestic violence can occur in anyone’s home, regardless of socioeconomic status, profession, or location in the community. Domestic violence also occurs between parties that are unrelated, although many people erroneously believe that domestic violence charges can only be filed against a spouse or significant other.
On the contrary, although an offender can be charged with harming his or her spouse, the law also extends to the offender’s:
- Current or former co-inhabitant
- Current or former girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, or fiancé
- Mother or father of the offender’s child
Domestic violence occurs when physical or verbal abuse is directed toward a party in a relationship with the accused as described above. Usually, both threats and action can constitute domestic violence under California law.
These actions against another may usually be considered criminal assault or battery, or constitute the crime of “criminal threats,” but are categorized under the more serious crime of domestic violence due to the nature of the relationship between the parties.
While millions of individuals are victimized in domestic violence incidents each year, unfortunately, there are numerous false reports that undermine the credibility of actual domestic violence victims as well. People may have varied motivations for falsely alleging domestic violence falsely which may include:
- Attempts to make their partner look bad during divorce proceedings to obtain a more favorable settlement
- Attempts to make their partner look bad during divorce proceedings to be awarded custody of marital children
- Attempt to kick the accused out of the home (even if he or she pays for it)
- Fear of the accused for other reasons
- Monetary considerations
- As a form of blackmail
Most people who make intentionally false domestic violence charges may not realize the extent of the seriousness of the allegation. Moreover, an alleged victim may erroneously believe that he or she can drop the charges against the accused at any time; that is, withdraw the testimony and stop the action from proceeding.
However, once the charges are filed and the prosecutor decides to proceed with the case, the decision to drop the charges no longer rests with the alleged victim and the case will proceed, even if based on false claims.
Hiring a Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in Los Angeles, California
Regardless of the truth or falsity of the allegations against you, domestic violence charges stand to affect your future in a significant way. Without proper representation in court, these allegations may turn into convictions that will haunt you for the rest of your life.
In order to learn about your legal rights as an accused domestic violence offender in California, reach out to an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney today.