Getting charged with domestic violence can be frightening. Being accused of assaulting your spouse, partner, child or other family member in your home can feel like your world is falling apart. Along with potentially getting thrown out of your home and prohibited from seeing your children, you could be facing serious jail time and a very troubling criminal record.
But keep in mind that a domestic violence charge does not automatically mean a conviction in California. San Diego County prosecutors choose to drop domestic assault charges routinely for various reasons, including:
- Lack of evidence. Like any other crime, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed domestic violence. Specifically, they must prove that you 1) willfully touched another person 2) in a harmful or offensive way, and 3) the person touched was your “intimate partner.” If there is not enough evidence to support any one of these three elements, the prosecutor will often choose not to pursue charges.
- Inconsistent statements. Alleged victims generally make two statements — the one to the responding police officer and a written statement later on. Differences in the statements can mean the alleged victim is not telling the truth and convince the prosecutor that the case is too weak to pursue a conviction or plea bargain.
- No independent witnesses. Most domestic violence accusations come down to the alleged victim’s word against the defendant’s. Without testimony from someone else at the scene of the alleged abuse or physical evidence like signs of injury, the prosecution must decide if the victim’s statement is credible.
A domestic violence accusation should be taken seriously, but a claim that you committed it is not enough to convict you. Working with a defense attorney to help you confront the evidence and work toward a fair outcome.