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Domestic Violence Defense Story

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | May 18, 2024

I tell these stories because I've been doing domestic violence cases now for over 30 years, defending my clients. Many of my clients have been improperly charged because of facts and details that are either not true or exaggerated or in a situation where the police have not gotten all the information.

They've only taken information from one side and are trying to use it to prosecute my client.

So, this story has to do with a client who had a case, and his wife at the time had gone into a bad mental state and made a bunch of things up against him, called the police, and got him arrested.

The main reason she was doing it, in addition to her bad mental state, was the fact that he had told her that he wanted a divorce. So now, she was attempting to get an advantage in the divorce by getting him arrested for domestic violence.

That's a massive advantage in a divorce situation where one spouse has committed domestic violence. Then, they'll do a domestic violence restraining order in divorce court. Unfortunately, the client is looking at time in jail, a criminal record, and many other bad things.

Bodycam Evidence

This puts a defense attorney in a position. You have a client that says, I'm innocent. I didn't do what she said. Now, we've got to look at how we can defend that situation. I can only tell you what happened there in this story, but I don't know your situation.

In that case, the wife lied about several things and was lying on bodycam video. We brought evidence to the prosecutor to show she wasn't telling the truth. We have this evidence.

Here she is on bodycam evidence saying this. The prosecutor can then compare the two things and see the person lying. Also, she says that my client punched her in the face, and she's got no injury.

That's the biggest tell-tale sign: when someone claims something happened and there's no injury to substantiate it. Those cases can cause some problems for the prosecutor.

Case Dismissed By Prosecutor

So, in this case, once we showed all of the lies related to her statement on videotape from the police officer's bodycam and once we showed she didn't have any injuries and someone who got punched in the face would have had much more severe injuries that she was claiming that she had.

Then, we had some outside things going on. She was texting and emailing relating to the divorce, some things that show that she was prejudiced against my client and that she was not telling the truth. That triple combination finally convinced the prosecutors to dismiss the case.

The bottom line, though, is that once the prosecutors file a domestic violence case because it is politically charged, it is tough to get them to dismiss the case.

Sometimes, you have to go to a jury trial, which I've done many times and beat them because if it's a he-said/she-said thing, the prosecutors often cannot tell who's telling the truth and who's not. The case could go either way and must go to a jury.

What is the Definition of Domestic Battery?

California Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC says, "When a battery is committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, 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 battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

If probation is granted, or the execution or imposition of the sentence is suspended, it shall be a condition thereof that the defendant participates in, for no less than one year, and successfully completes, a batterer's treatment program, as described in Section 1203.097, or if none is available, another appropriate counseling program designated by the court. However, this provision shall not be construed as requiring a city, a county, or a city and county to provide a new program or higher level of service as contemplated by Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution."

Preparing a Mitigation Package

There are also situations where it is clear the client is guilty-there are bad injuries and witnesses who can substantiate what is being said.

In that case, if you're going to lose the case at a jury trial, then obviously, we've got to work out some resolution with a mitigation package where we give the prosecutor all good mitigating stuff - character letters, your jobs - everything that is important to you and give the other side of the story because even if somebody is guilty, sometimes there's another side to the story that needs to be given to the prosecutors.

That's where I come in. If you need the best and you've got a domestic violence case pending against you, pick up the phone and ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. Let me put my 30 years of experience to work for you-my experience at the district attorney's office when I worked there and my experience as a superior court judge.

I worked as his right-hand man, and since the early 1990s, I've been defending people like you. I've been down the road you're about to travel and have had success.

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About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.