This is a good topic because most people — once they get arrested for a domestic violence case — they have to post $50,000.00, they're in jail for a period of time and then they're waiting for a court date — they're typically looking for ways to get out of their case.
I have people calling me, saying, well my significant other says they're not going to prosecute me. So, is that the end of it? And of course, the answer is no. It's not them against you; it's the People of the State of California against you, so once the prosecutor get all the paperwork from the police, that's it. They're the ones that make the decision; not your significant other. So, that's not a way to get a dismissal.
City Attorney Hearings
There's going to have to be some problems or issues with the evidence in the case in order for you to have a chance to get a dismissal. Of course, the most obvious way to get that dismissal is by way of a jury trial and showing the jury that you did not bat or strike or do anything wrong to your significant other. That's certainly one way to do it and the jury would hear both sides of the evidence. They would listen to and in the end they would decide if you were guilty not guilty of the crime of domestic violence.
Another way that I see getting dismissals is if the case is closed and there's not much injury to the other side, a lot of times we've been able to get City Attorney hearings. Really what a City Attorney hearing is in a domestic violence case is it's a City Attorney who files misdemeanor cases in the county where the case is pending.
They make a decision whether or not they want to file the case, whether or not they want to pursue it, and most time if you can get it to a City Attorney hearing, you're going to have success if you handle it the right way.
I've even seen domestic violence cases where the City Attorney has decided not to prosecute the case. What they end up doing is, they will assist with law enforcement in getting the arrest sealed from the person's record. So, now you don't have a record of anything. That's obviously a great result. You not only get no filing; you get a situation where your record is sealed.
A lot of times, if it is a weak case, the City Attorney will have the hearing right from the beginning, even before they file the case, and then you're not getting a dismissal, you're just getting a non-file and if you can get that record sealed and destroyed that another added bonus.
Other times, if you get it into court and it looks like it's a weak case, you can kind of make the City Attorney reverse the process. They've already filed the case, but they could send it back to their hearing office. This is a rare thing, but I've seen it happen in the right case and then the hearing office can decide that the case shouldn't have been filed. Then the case would be dismissed. This is another way to get a dismissal in a case.
I guess probably the most common way to get a dismissal is if you go to a jury trial and the prosecutors aren't ready and they dismiss the case, or if you can point some things out to the prosecutor.
I've been very successful with this — that they didn't have in the original police report — because the police are pretty darn lazy, and once they make up their mind that the person is guilty, they don't really do a lot to investigate the other side.
So, a lot of times I've been able to get other information to the prosecutors who are lawyers that are smart and once they see that other information and they realize that the police didn't do a full investigation and that information is going to blow their case out of the water, we now have an opportunity to get that dismissal that you're so infatuated with because you don't want any type of conviction on your record which I certainly understand.
But you have to realize, typically when they file these domestic violence cases you're not going to get a dismissal right away. You may be able to get a dismissal in the future if you do everything you're supposed to and don't have any further issues, but these cases are very tough and have to be dealt with in a very careful manner.
Hedding Law Firm
16000 Ventura Blvd #1208
Encino, CA 91436