Although all criminal arrests in California procedurally involve the same process from the moment you’re taken into police custody through your first court appearance or arraignment hearing, investigations and arrests for domestic violence charges are conducted somewhat differently. It is critical to remember that you have a constitutional right against self-incrimination and a right to legal counsel. Thus, you should exercise your right to remain silent if you’ve been arrested or once you’ve received notice that you’ve been targeted as a suspect in a domestic violence investigation. Consulting with a criminal defense attorney with experience in domestic violence defense in California at the earliest possible stage in the investigative process can dramatically improve your chances minimizing the consequences or in some cases, avoiding domestic violence charges altogether.
Domestic Violence Prefile Investigations In California
Following a domestic violence arrest, the police department will often assign a detective or investigating officer to conduct an additional investigation to supplement the initial evidentiary findings obtained by the arresting officers. The supplemental investigation can include attempts to interview the alleged victim, witnesses, and/or you, yourself. If you are contacted by a detective, you should under no circumstances agree to be interviewed without your attorney present. You must assume the detective is not on your side and is simply attempting to gather more evidence to convict you by way of capturing an incriminating statement or admission of guilt. Detectives often manipulate people into waiving their 5th amendment rights by asking for “their side of the story.” Keep in mind, any subsequent statements that deviate from your initial statements at the time of your arrest could damage your credibility and aid the prosecution in their case against you, regardless of whether the alleged victim agrees to cooperate with police and prosecutors. Thus, your desire to have your version heard can have an adverse effect as it can impair the defense of your case.