Common Defenses in Domestic Violence

Posted by Ronald D. HeddingNov 21, 2019

There are several different defenses in domestic violence cases.  But, before anybody starts telling you over the phone what your defense is, they will need to know the facts and circumstances surrounding your case.  In other words, what happened?  How are you being accused, arrested, charged with domestic violence, and then you can start to develop your defense.

The first step in any domestic violence defense is to get to an attorney and tell them what happened, and it's great if you could say to them first what the prosecutors or police are claiming you did; that way, they kind of have a base of what you're looking at and then when you give him all the other information — which of course is usually your spin or your take on things they can kind of take that with a grain of salt and compare that to what you're being charged with doing.

But of course, the first defense is typical, no, I didn't do that, but that defense is not always the most excellent because sometimes just saying no, I didn't do that will not win the case for you.  I can't tell you how many times I'm in the middle of a preliminary hearing in a domestic violence case or a trial, and my client is whispering in my ear, no, I didn't do that, and the person is lying.

I can't then say, wait a minute, sir, didn't they do that?  Because then they're going to say, no, they did that.  So, that's not going to work.  So, when you say that, it doesn't do you any good in a domestic violence-related matter.  And when you say, oh they're lying, I can't just turn that around and say, excuse me, sir, are you lying?  They're going to say, no, I'm not lying; I'm telling the truth.

Witness Statements

You've got to figure out evidence to have a good defense in a domestic violence case—for example, witnesses.  Some witnesses see what happened, which is different from what the alleged victim claims.  Now you're talking.  Now you're starting to get a defense in your domestic violence-related case.

Let's say that the alleged victim says that you punched them in the face, and you weigh 200 pounds, and you pack a good punch, and they don't have one injury on their face.  Now, that would defy logic and common sense that somebody would be punched in the face by a 200-pound person and not have an injury on their face.  Now, we're starting to mount a defense.

Inconsistent Statements From Alleged Victim

Now you start to see there's got to be evidence.  Another thing that I see that happens is a very effective defense in a domestic violence case. The person is claiming they were battered, contradictory statements about what happened.

Common Defenses in Los Angeles Domestic Violence Cases

In other words, they give what we call in criminal defense inconsistent statements.  They say one statement here on the subject matter and then change it and alter it and say a different statement here.

Now, if they're talking about crucial parts of the case when they do that, you have a pretty strong argument that they're not telling the truth because when you say to the fact, the best idea is you tell the same story every single time.

Suppose we've got a bunch of prior inconsistent statements by a witness, I. In that case, as a defense attorney is going to impeach that witness during cross-examination and say things like, wait a minute, sir, you're now saying this. Still, on October 4th, you said this.

Why is your statement here different than your statement here?  Why are you not telling the same information every single time if it is the truth?  And now you start to eat away at that witness's credibility, and now you can make a strong defense in your domestic violence case.

So, many different defenses can be utilized, but most of those defenses spin on the particular facts.  So, your first move is to get to the attorney and give them all the facts and don't cheat the attorney because you cheat yourself by only telling part of the story.  Tell the whole story.

Try to be as neutral as you can in giving the facts because that will help the attorney.  Don't worry, the attorney's going to try to spin everything in your favor, but you at least have to give them the other side, so they know what's coming at them down the road, and then they can mount the best defense for you.

Meeting with Domestic Violence Lawyer

In that first meeting — that first step that you take — you'll lay everything out.  The attorney will ask you a bunch of questions about it, and then you and the attorney will decide how to deal with the case most effectively.

Whether that's going to mount an entire all-out offense, tell the prosecutors you're not taking any deals and take the case to trial as fast as possible — or whether you're going to try to mitigate things, do damage control, and get the lowest possible resolution for you.

You'll want to discuss in that first meeting because then the attorney will know precisely what the game plan is.  You will know what the game plan is, and then both of you will be operating on the same wavelength, doing the same things and making moves that best help you, and you're both going to have the same mental understanding of what's going on.

Domestic Violence Defense