If you have been charged with domestic violence in California, you may be facing severe punishment. Corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant (California Penal Code Section 273.5) is punishable as a felony by up to four years in state prison and a $6,000 fine.
If you are charged with a domestic violence crime, the first step you should take is to retain an attorney who is experienced in defending clients facing domestic violence charges. A skilled domestic violence attorney may be able to show that your case involved an innocent misunderstanding, and might be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed.
Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges (PC 273.5)
There are number of legal defenses to a charge of domestic violence. The most common defenses are:
- You acted only in defense of yourself or another;
- The injury or contact was unintentional or accidental; and/or
- The accuser is lying.
The physical evidence in a domestic violence case is often minimal, especially in situations where the alleged victim has sustained no visible injury. In those cases, whether the prosecution can prove your guilt will often depend upon the credibility of the alleged victim’s testimony.
What If the Alleged Victim Changes Her Story?
The prosecutor is the only one who can decide if a domestic violence charge can be reduced or dismissed. However, the alleged victim in your case could have a huge impact on the outcome if he or she truthfully recants the accusation that you committed an act of domestic violence.
An alleged victim who is unwilling to testify in court has the right to refuse to do so. California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1219 gives the victim immunity from confinement for refusing to testify. This means that the alleged victim cannot be compelled by threat of jail to take the stand and speak against you if he or she does not want to do so.
However, he or she must attend the court proceeding on the scheduled day, and he or she can be fined for contempt of court for refusing to testify, but no jail time will result.
Obviously, the alleged victim’s refusal to testify in your case could lead to the prosecutor not having enough evidence to move forward with the case. In that event, the prosecutor may offer a lesser charge, or may dismiss the case altogether.
Contact the Domestic Violence Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
A domestic violence case is a serious matter, and you deserve the best legal help you can find to help you with your case. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing domestic violence charges for over 35 years. We will use all of our expertise to prepare a defense that will help you obtain the best possible result in your case.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich domestic violence defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.