There's all sorts of different defenses that can be utilized in a domestic violence case. Normally, they are driven by the facts of the particular case. In other words, what happened. If somebody attacks you and as you're defending yourself that person gets hurt, that could certainly be a defense to any injuries that the person had.
Self-Defense in Domestic Violence
Of course, if someone attacks you, you have to act reasonably in defending yourself and that's usually where the problem comes in in a domestic violence case.
For example, a wife tries to hit a husband. The husband blocks the hit and then punches the wife in the face. The argument from the prosecutor's standpoint is going to be, that was too much force to be used.
And of course, when the wife talks to the police, she's usually very angry when she talks to them and is going to tell a story that is not going to be helpful to you. Unfortunately, prosecutors tend to believe the first story that was told by the alleged victim in a domestic violence case, versus the one that is told after the person is arrested.
They will have post a $50,000 bond and is looking at spending jail time and having a criminal record and a host of other ramifications. If that person is the bread winner, a lot of times we see the spouse wanting to change their story and try to help the person, but usually from a prosecutor's standpoint, that's just simply too late.
They figure the person is trying to help the other person and they don't really care. They're going to look back at the original statement, but that original statement is not always the complete truth. A lot of times it's embellished and I've even seen where it's just been an outright lie.
I had one case where a girlfriend was basically trying to gain an advantage in a child custody situation — first she got in the fight with the person intentionally as a strategy, and then lied about what happened.
That case ended up getting dismissed by the prosecutors once everything came out, but to get everything out took a lot of hard work and we had to go to the doorstep of trial before they actually dismissed the case once they saw they were going to be in a real bad position moving forward with it.
Prefiling Intervention in Domestic Violence Cases
Certainly if someone attacks you, your defense is that you were simply defending yourself from the attack and if that person got hurt, that's their own fault. I had another case where a person was attacked by his live-in girlfriend and then he tried to leave and she was blocking his way and he moved her out of the way.
She ended up tripping and hitting a mirror and cutting her face. Of course, the police get there after the neighbors call because they heard the commotion upstairs. My client is arrested, a $100,000 bond, charged not only with domestic violence, but also great bodily injury because of the cut across the face.
We ended up sending a bunch of information in pre-filing, and the prosecutors, after they saw all of the facts related to the case, realized that they were going to lose the case and my client really shouldn't have been arrested and they ended up deciding not to file the case and rejected it.
So, there are a bunch of defenses that can be used, but of course they're going to have to be relevant to the case and not every defense applies to every single case. It depends on what happened, it depends on what evidence the police have.
Don't forget, the police are coming in with their bodycams turned on, so you're going to have a tough time mounting a defense if on the bodycam you, as a defendant, admit that you punched your wife because she wouldn't be quiet for example. You're not going to get a defense in that case because they've got you on bodycam admitting that you committed the crime that you're charged with.
So, if you have a situation where you're looking for a defense to a domestic violence case — you're looking to figure out what you're going to do, pick up the phone, make the call. I've been doing it for 25 years. I know I can help you.