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Common Defenses in Domestic Violence Cases

Domestic violence charges carry serious consequences, and navigating the legal system can be daunting. If you face such accusations, understanding potential defenses is crucial. In this article, we explore seven common defenses that can be employed in domestic violence cases.

1. Innocence

This asserts you did not commit the alleged act. This may involve alibis, witness testimony, or evidence pointing to another perpetrator.

2. Self-Defense

You were acting to protect yourself or others from imminent harm. California law allows reasonable force to defend oneself. Evidence of injuries sustained while defending yourself can strengthen this claim.

3. Mutual Combat

Mutual combat refers to a situation where both parties willingly engaged in a physical altercation, with neither acting solely in self-defense. For this defense to be successful, the evidence must demonstrate a reciprocal exchange of violence, meaning both parties initiated and participated in the fight roughly equally.

However, it's crucial to understand that mutual combat is not a simple "both parties are guilty" scenario. Additionally, even if mutual combat is established, other charges, such as disturbing the peace, may still be applicable.

4. Accidental Incident

An accident defense can be argued in domestic violence cases where the alleged perpetrator maintains the harm caused was unintentional. This might be due to unforeseen circumstances, like losing balance during a heated argument or attempting to restrain a falling object that accidentally strikes the other party.

Crucial to this defense is establishing the absence of intent to cause harm. Evidence such as the nature of the injuries, the surrounding situation, and witness testimony can be used to demonstrate the accidental nature of the incident. However, it's important to note that the prosecution may scrutinize the situation to differentiate between a true accident and a situation where recklessness or carelessness plays a role.

5. False Allegations

The alleged victim fabricated the story, possibly due to anger, jealousy, or manipulative tactics. Evidence of a strained relationship or a history of false accusations can support this defense.

6. Lack of Evidence

This argument is centered around proving that the prosecution cannot prove the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This may involve inconsistencies in witness statements, lack of physical evidence, or issues with police procedure.

7. Procedural Issues

In some domestic violence cases, procedural issues can serve as a defense strategy. This occurs when law enforcement violates a defendant's constitutional rights during the course of arrest, investigation, or evidence collection. Examples include illegal search and seizure of evidence, failure to properly advise of Miranda rights, or coerced confessions.

If a court finds such violations occurred, it may suppress the obtained evidence. This can significantly weaken the prosecution's case, potentially leading to a dismissal of charges or reduced penalties.

Get Legal Counsel

It's important to remember that these are general explanations, and the specific details of your case will determine the most suitable defense strategy. Consulting with an experienced California criminal defense attorney is vital. They can assess the evidence, build a strong defense, and advocate for your rights throughout the legal process.

At Corrigan Welbourn Stokke, APLC, we believe our clients deserve the benefit of the doubt and can work to make your voice and story heard. Contact us online or via phone at (949) 251-0330 to get started on your defense today.