Should I Have My Spouse Testify on My Behalf in a Domestic Violence Case? (PC 273.5)
After an argument in your home, your wife angrily dials 9-1-1 and accuses you of domestic violence. Police soon show up and take you into custody. Now, you could be facing very serious domestic violence charges.
However, your spouse realizes your freedom is at stake and wants to recant her statements. This is not enough to get your case dismissed, and prosecutors proceed with your case by formally filing domestic violence charges against you. Facing the possibility of severe legal consequences, it may be tempting to have your spouse testify on your behalf. Is this a big mistake?
Should I Let My Spouse Testify in a Domestic Violence Case?
California law does not allow the alleged victim to influence whether domestic violence charges are filed due to the nature of the relationship between a domestic violence victim and defendant. If your spouse or significant other wishes to get the charges dropped against you, you may think it’s a good idea for him or her to express these feelings in court. However, your spouse’s testimony may not be as beneficial to your case as you think.
The reason why is because calling your spouse or significant other to the witness stand opens him or her up to cross-examination from the prosecution. Prosecutors could use evidence including 9-1-1 calls and statements your spouse made to police to paint you and your spouse in a negative light.
California law allows domestic violence victims the right to refuse to testify. It is often in your best interest if your spouse or significant other exercises this right.
Rather than having your spouse or significant other testify on your behalf, you should work with your criminal defense attorney to have his or her statements recanted. Domestic violence cases often come down to he-said/she-said battles where the most effective piece of evidence is the statements made by the alleged victim. Statements that are recanted cannot be used as evidence, even if they were recorded 9-1-1 calls. If the alleged victim’s statements are not allowed as evidence, prosecutors will likely decide not to pursue charges against you.
There is a specific process for having statements recanted that must be followed. If your spouse or significant other wishes to have his or her statements to police recanted, you should consult with an experienced domestic violence attorney to make sure all the necessary steps are taken.
Contact the Domestic Violence Attorneys at Wallin &Klarich Today
If you are being accused of domestic violence, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. A skilled attorney will walk you through the complex legal process and begin building a strong defense to the charges against you. Our domestic violence attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience successfully defending clients accused of domestic violence and corporal injury on a spouse. We’ve helped thousands of clients in their time of legal need, and we can help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, West Covina, Torrance, Victorville and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich domestic violence lawyer near you no matter where you work or live.
Call our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.