We’ve previously covered some of the most common defenses Vista domestic violence lawyers use to fight spousal abuse charges, but that only tells part of the story if you don’t know what tactics the prosecution is likely to use. Here’s what to expect from the other side of the court.
Believe the Victim’s Original Story
In many domestic violence cases, the victim will recant or change their statements from what they told the police. The prosecutor will say the changed statements or testimony is either because of fear of the abuser or the drastic consequences of a conviction. The defense violence attorney in Vista is responsible for finding reasons the original statements are not credible or corroborated by the facts. If the physical evidence doesn’t match the victim’s claims of injuries, the defense can argue it is claim made in haste or anger. The defense can often point to a disgruntled partner calling the police to gain leverage in child custody or divorce proceedings. Prosecutors are actually very aware of this, and are receptive to evidence the victim is using a criminal case to gain leverage in a family law proceeding. A defense investigation may also reveal the bias or motive of the victim to fabricate a claim of domestic violence
The Defendant is Lying
At the same time that the prosecutor will try to play up the truth in the alleged victim’s story, they will try to show that your side of the story is 100% false. This process will start long before the DA even takes over a case and will begin when the police first interview you to get your side of the story. Any inconsistency in what you say will be used as evidence that you are lying. It is rarely advisable for a suspect or defendant to talk to the police, victim or prosecutor about the case. A lawyer can both explain the defendant’s side and show extenuating circumstances without the client making statements which can be turned around and used against him. Often the police will ask a suspect to make a statement at the scene or, if under investigation, come to the station or talk by phone. These statements are typically recorded if done by phone or at the station. If statements are by phone, no Miranda warnings are necessary. If the suspect is told he will be free to leave the police interview, even statements in person do not have to be Mirandized. The police often know facts the suspect may not know and are expert and getting conflicting or incriminating statements.
The Defendant is a Violent Person
The prosecution will often try to prove that you are a violent person at heart and use any information at their disposal to do so. This could mean using any past violent crime convictions against you or bringing in witnesses to testify that you have a temper. Your domestic violence defense lawyer in Vista will need to counter this by blocking the introduction of evidence when appropriate and providing any available evidence to show that you are a level-headed, non-violent person, or at very least that you are not the type of person that would hurt your partner.
Investigating the Victim
The prosecutor has a duty to provide relevant criminal history of the victim. However, they have no obligation to independently investigate the character and credibility of the victim. It is important for the defense to dig beyond the criminal history to see if the victim has a history of false accusations or violence which didn’t result in arrests. This will show the prosecutor and, if necessary, a jury that the victim isn’t as innocent as he or she claims.
Your Phone Calls
While you are in custody, anything you say is recorded. Unfortunately, this means that if you talk to a friend or family member and talk to them about your case, the prosecutor could use anything you say against you or turn around and accuse you of trying to dissuade a witness. It is highly advisable to avoid saying anything about the case over the phone while you are in custody, no matter how tempting it may be to vent about the situation.
If a restraining order was put in place, the district attorney may also file charges against you if you contact the alleged victim, even if you are trying to make up with him or her. And just like when talking to a friend or family member, they may also use anything you say to the alleged victim as evidence against you later on. Your Vista defense attorney will usually try to help you fight a restraining order if possible, but even without such an order in place, you are best off not speaking with the victim over the phone.
Arrests Don’t Tell the Whole Story
The fact is that many people arrested for domestic violence are not even charged with a crime. In California, the police are required to arrest the primary aggressor based on the accusation alone. Most of those arrested without corroboration from physical evidence, witnesses or defendant admissions are never charged. That is because the police must perform an arrest, but the prosecutor must review the police report to determine what charges, if any, are appropriate. Prosecutors will also take evidence or information from the defense counsel in forming their judgment about charging. In addition, just because the police arrest on a felony, it doesn’t require the prosecutor to file a felony charge. Most felony domestic violence arrests, if charges are filed, are prosecuted as misdemeanors from the start. Felony charges are usually only filed when there is a history of domestic violence, threats to kill are made, or bad injuries occurred.
It is critical to consult with and hire a criminal defense attorney who explains the true reality of domestic violence prosecutions and doesn’t use scare tactics. If you have been accused of domestic violence in Vista, criminal lawyer Peter M. Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
Creative Commons Image by Tydence Davis