Understanding the Legal Rights of the Accused in Domestic Violence Cases

In recent years, states like California have taken steps to further support survivors of domestic violence. Organizations and nonprofit groups have launched campaigns and programs to shed light on the prevalence of domestic abuse and offer survivors the resources and legal guidance they may need to remove themselves from abusive relationships. While these efforts are admirable, exaggerated or downright false accusations of domestic violence are not unheard of, unfortunately. Intimate relationships are inherently complex—arguments arise and often cause the parties to say things in the heat of the moment that they later regret. However, if your spouse or dating partner is accusing you of subjecting them to acts of domestic violence, it’s essential for you to understand your legal rights. In today’s current climate, the mere accusation of domestic violence—as unfounded as it may be—can destroy your reputation and lead to severe consequences. If you have been accused of domestic violence in Palmdale or Lancaster, you need effective and reliable legal representation as soon as possible. With over 35 years of experience, FORMER DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY and FORMER JUDGE PRO TEM David Wallin is ready to assess the details of your case and identify the most appropriate defensive strategy to keep your future bright. He will help you understand and exert your legal rights at every turn to safeguard your freedom and maximize your chances of obtaining a fair and favorable outcome.

Domestic Violence Charges in California

First, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with California’s domestic violence laws so you can understand the nature of the charges you may be facing. While most people assume that domestic violence involves inflicting physical harm on a spouse or dating partner, the scope of domestic violence encompasses a wide range of behaviors. For instance, domestic violence charges often arise from alleged incidents of hitting, kicking, pushing, or inflicting physical pain on someone, but they can also apply to acts involving sexual assault, threats of physical violence, stalking, harassment, or even emotional or psychological abuse. Moreover, the alleged victim is not always the perpetrator’s spouse or dating partner; someone can face domestic violence charges for incidents involving a former spouse or dating partner, roommate, co-parent, or relative (by blood or marriage). Most domestic violence charges fall under two laws in California: Domestic battery and corporal Injury to a spouse.

Domestic Battery Charges

According to section 243(e)(1) of California’s Penal Code, “When a battery is committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabitating, a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, former spouse, fiancé, or fiancée, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship,” the defendant can face a misdemeanor charge. If convicted, the defendant could face up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $2,000, or both (among other penalties).

Inflicting Corporal Injury to a Spouse

In some cases, prosecutors will charge the defendant under Penal Code section 273.5, which states, “Any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim…is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of up to six thousand dollars ($6,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.” Essentially, inflicting physical harm against a current or former spouse, dating partner, cohabitant, co-parent, or fiancé may lead to a felony charge that carries severe and lasting consequences.

Knowing and Upholding Your Legal Rights

When law enforcement shows up and arrests you for a domestic violence offense, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and even frightened about how this incident will impact your life and your future. However, as tempted as you may be to argue with the officers or try to explain your way out of the situation, these decisions typically end up making things worse for you. Instead, it’s essential to understand your legal rights as you move through every stage of the criminal justice process to maximize your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome. Moreover, arresting officers must inform you of your Miranda rights. Any failure to do so may weaken or even invalidate the legality of your arrest and the resulting criminal charges, so be sure to notify your attorney of the officer’s failure to fulfill their obligation. 

Express Your Right to Remain Silent

As a defendant, you have the right to remain silent. It’s almost always in your best interest to refrain from making any statements to law enforcement or investigators, as they can use your words to further their case against you. Instead, inform the officers that you intend to invoke your legal right to remain silent (at least until you have spoken with your attorney). Many officers and detectives will try to coax you into speaking with them; they often claim to be “on your side” and interested in hearing “your side of the story.” Try to resist the temptation to make any statements or comments about the incident or the charges against you, as your words can be twisted and used against you later on. 

Contact a Seasoned Palmdale Criminal Defense Attorney ASAP

Anyone accused of a criminal offense has the right to obtain legal representation. Immediately following your arrest, contact FORMER DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY and FORMER JUDGE PRO TEM David Wallin to discuss your case. As a certified criminal law specialist with over 35 years of experience, he has the tools and proven track record necessary to provide you with the high-quality legal defense you need and deserve during this challenging time. Now is not the time to leave your future up to chance—contact the Law Offices of David M. Wallin right away to get started on your legal defense strategy. We offer flexible payment plans and free consultations, so get in touch today. 

California takes domestic violence crimes seriously. If you are facing a domestic violence charge in Palmdale or Lancaster, you need a skilled and trusted criminal defense lawyer in your corner to help you understand your legal rights at every turn. Call the Law Offices of David M. Wallin today at (661) 267-1313 to schedule a free consultation with FORMER DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY and FORMER JUDGE PRO TEM David Wallin. As a certified criminal law specialist with over 35 years of experience, you can trust that he will work hard to secure you the best outcome possible.