Must Prove an Unlawful Act & Injuries to Victim

This is something that people will search for because they or a loved one is being charged with domestic violence related offense, and they are trying to figure out how the prosecutors are going to prove the case to see if they are going to be able to prove it against them or their loved one.

One big thing people need to realize is even if the alleged victim in a domestic violence case in Los Angeles County decided they don't want their loved one prosecuted, the prosecutors and police don't care. They figure it is their job to prosecute the person, and they will charge them if they feel they have committed a crime.  That's why it's essential to figure out how they prove it.

Domestic Violence Charges in Los Angeles
Even if an alleged victim doesn't want to pursue domestic violence case, a prosecutor could still file charges.

What do they need to prove, and what is the process by which they establish a domestic violence case in Los Angeles? I feel very confident about that since I have handled thousands of domestic violence cases in the 28 courthouses in Los Angeles County over the last 26 years.

The first thing they need to prove is that somebody did something unlawful.  What I mean by that is, when you're defending yourself because someone is attacking you or doing something to you, it's unfair for the police to arrest you and be charged with a domestic violence case.

On the other hand, if you become angry and you strike your significant other, that is unlawful.  You are not allowed to strike your significant other. Then the question will be, is there any injury?  If there is an injury, they can charge you with corporal injury to a spouse under Penal Code Section 273.5, especially if you're married. This is the typical domestic violence charge. Someone will be hit within Los Angeles County if someone is injured.

Domestic Battery – Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC

If there is not an injury, can you still be charged?  Of course, the answer is yes, you can.  You will be charged with 243(e), a domestic battery against whoever it is who is the alleged victim in the case. That battery can take the form of a punch, a kick, a slap, or a push.  The prosecutors don't like to charge people if it's just a push and nobody gets hurt.

But, depending on the circumstances — if you push a pregnant woman — you may have a big problem there. The police and prosecutors will look at the overall circumstances of the incident.  But, in your understanding of how they prove these cases, you have to look at how these cases develop.

Suppose the police are called out to a scene nowadays in LA County for a domestic violence-related situation, and they see that somebody has been hurt or there's been some sort of violence. In that case, their protocol and policy are to arrest the aggressor, the offending party, and take them to jail. It's usually a $50,000 bail.

When it comes to prosecuting these cases, it's not your significant other against you; it's the People of the State of California against you. In California, they are very tough on domestic violence, unlike some other states that are not as tough.  California has one of the most brutal conviction rates, and they are tough to deal with, especially since Mothers Against Drunk Driving has had a significant impact on cases.

Victim Testimony and Photos of Injuries

Victim Testimony in Domestic Violence Cases
Prosecutors can prove a domestic violence case with victim testimony and showing pictures of injuries.

The way they prove these cases is your significant other testifies against you and says that you hit them.  They show pictures of your injury.  That's probably the most common way to prove it. But what if your significant other doesn't want to help the prosecutors — they don't even want to testify.  The way they are going to prove that case is they will subpoena the person and order them into court.

Sometimes, I've seen them arrest the person in terrible domestic cases and bring them in as witnesses, and they don't care what they say. They'll put them on the witness stand. Suppose the individual tries to deny everything or change their story. In that case, they can play the bodycam video of the Los Angeles police department officer, where the person gave the statement incriminating their significant other.

That would undoubtedly be robust evidence.  Also, they could call the police officer and ask the officer how did the person look?  How were they talking?  Were they crying? Did you see injuries?  Let's see the photos of the damages if the person indicates the other party hit them, for example.

So, that kind of gives you an idea even if somebody decides that they don't want to prosecute their significant other, the prosecutors can still make a run at prosecuting that person, even if the alleged victim doesn't show up for trial. If they made a statement to the police, and it could fall under what's called an “excited utterance” where they're still under the passion of the incident, and they give incriminating information — I've seen those cases prosecuted.

Domestic Violence Lawyer in Los Angeles

Domestic Violence Lawyer in Los Angeles
Call our law firm to review the details of your domestic violence case.

If there are eyewitnesses other than the alleged victim, they can use those people to prosecute the case.  If you made a statement admitting things, they'd use that statement to charge you. So, you can see there's a whole host of ways to go after people in domestic violence cases.  You can't handle the case yourself.  Hire somebody like me who's been doing this a long time.

Someone who knows the ins and outs of the courthouse and knows what it takes to get you the best possible result when it comes to defending your domestic violence case in Los Angeles. We talk about how they prove it because if we can protect the case and they can't prove the case, you'll be found not guilty, and you won't have any of the harmful repercussions that come along with domestic violence cases in Los Angeles.

Hedding Law Firm is a Los Angeles-based criminal defense law firm, and we offer a free case consultation to review the details and options by calling (213) 542-0940 or by filling out our contact form.