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Domestic Violence Defense Strategies: You Only Have Two Options

Okabe & Haushalter Mar 1, 2018 Domestic Violence

Domestic violence claims are very severe, and can even result in eviction, large fines, criminal penalties, and even prison sentence.

Every year, thousands of Americans file domestic violence complaints against their partners, and it’s fair to say that about a third of those are dismissed because the plaintiff falsely accuses her/his husband or wife, due to lack of evidence, or because the severity of alleged physical abuse has been exaggerated.

Today, our Los Angeles domestic violence defense attorney at Okabe & Haushalter is going to review what are the best defenses to challenge domestic violence claims and avoid those severe punishments and penalties of DV charges.

Do the allegations really constitute domestic violence?

Under federal and state laws in California, the following acts constitute “domestic violence”:

  • assault
  • harassment
  • stalking
  • lewdness or sexual assault
  • criminal sexual contact
  • criminal mischief
  • homicide
  • criminal trespass
  • burglary
  • kidnapping
  • terroristic threats

If you’re being accused of something that isn’t based on any of the above-mentioned acts, the domestic violence case filed against you may be dismissed. For example, verbal insults are not considered “domestic violence” unless they turn into verbal harassment and negatively affect the victim’s mental, emotional or physical wellbeing.

Does the case lack subject matter jurisdiction?

If you’re working on a defense strategy to defend yourself against criminal defense claims, it’s vital to check if the “jurisdictional” requirements have been met, something you should do in the presence of your domestic violence lawyer in Los Angeles.

A person cannot file a domestic violence claim against just any person, as under federal and state laws in California, the defendant must be related to the alleged victim in a certain way.

According to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, a victim of DV can bring a claim against the defendant if he/she is a spouse, former spouse, present or former household member. In order to be able to file a claim, the alleged victim must be 18 years of age or older – or be an emancipated minor (a minor who no longer requires financial support of his/her parents and doesn’t live in the parents’ home).

However, those in a romantic relationship can also file a domestic violence claim regardless of age, and so can those who have a child or are expecting a baby together.

Ask for a continuance and hire a lawyer

Typically, a domestic violence hearing will be held within 10 days after the victim files a formal complaint. Given the seriousness of penalties and consequences you may be facing if charged with domestic violence, it’s advised to consider asking for a continuance of the hearing date.

Not only will you have enough time to find a skilled domestic violence attorney in Los Angeles, but also work on your defense in order to look for sufficient evidence challenging the victim’s claims, find witnesses and/or try to negotiate and settle with the plaintiff outside of court.

Analyze your defense strategy

Generally, courts in Los Angeles recognize two defenses for domestic violence cases: self-defense and a de minimis infraction.

In the former case, the defendant will have to prove that the use of physical force was justified due imminent bodily harm. However, if you’re a husband using the self-defense card against your wife, this defense strategy may not be the best option unless you’re represented by a Los Angeles domestic violence defense lawyer.

The second defense is a da minimis infraction, which means proving that the alleged act of DV was too minor to entail domestic violence charges and constitute a criminal offense.

Only an experienced attorney at Okabe & Haushalter can help you find the most effective defense strategy in your particular case to avoid severe penalties, restraining order, fines, and even jail time. Contact our lawyers to get a free consultation today. Call our offices at 310-430-7799 or complete this contact form for a free case evaluation.