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.
If you’re contacted by a detective in connection with a domestic violence investigation, respectfully decline to answer any questions, and immediately consult with a domestic violence lawyer.
Victim’s Rights In California Domestic Violence Cases
Just as a defendant or suspect in a California domestic violence case always has the right to legal counsel, the alleged victim possess that right as well. At no time during the investigation or prosecution of the case can police or prosecutors force an alleged victim to speak with them or testify against his or her will. While domestic violence charges in California can be prosecuted without the alleged victim’s consent or cooperation, the lack of cooperation and testimony from the alleged victim can severely handicap the prosecution’s case if the admissibility of some of the evidence hinges on the alleged victim’s willingness to testify.
If you’re an alleged victim in a domestic violence investigation or case, you have the right to be represented by an attorney at every stage to serve as your “mouthpiece” or “advocate.” Whether you’re desirous of prosecution or not, there are benefits to retaining legal counsel to represent and protect your interests.
Southern California Domestic Violence Attorneys
Whether you’re a defendant, suspect, or alleged victim in a domestic violence case, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer with expertise in California domestic violence law as soon as possible. The Los Angeles based domestic violence lawyers at Sitkoff & Hanrahan, LLP have over 70 years of combined criminal law experience and have achieved positive results for clients throughout Southern California since 1987. If you have questions regarding a recent arrest or pending investigation, call our defense firm today at (866) 430-8383 for a free consultation.