Domestic violence is not as simple as people make it sound, and the police do not always arrest the right person. It’s also not a single charge—there are several charges that can be used against you at a domestic disturbance. If you have been arrested in any kind of domestic dispute, you need to speak to a Los Angeles domestic violence defense lawyer.
At the Simmrin Law Group, our mission is to help those who have been accused. We do not believe you are guilty just because you were arrested, and we do not believe that a single mistake deserves the massive penalties the system will throw at you. We’re on your side. Let us give you a free consultation and show you what we can do for you. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and see what we can do for you today.
How do the police decide who to arrest for domestic violence?
In many cases it’s frivolous. When police respond to a domestic call, most officers sincerely try to do the right thing. However, they don’t know the details of the situation or what happened before they got there. This means that they have to make a quick decision on who to believe—and who to arrest—with very little information. The way they do it won’t always be fair.
Some of the ways police will decide who to arrest include:
Gender bias. The stereotype of domestic violence is a man beating a woman. That is not always true—any gender can abuse a partner of any other gender. But when it’s a man and a woman, police will often believe the woman and arrest the man, even if the man acted in self defense or the story is a lie.
Who called first. One line of reasoning is that whoever called 911 first must be the one who felt threatened. This isn’t always true. A person may call the police to try to defray a situation, or just as a threat to scare the other person. Then police arrest someone who may have done nothing wrong.
Who looks more hurt. If only one partner is injured, or one looks more injured than the other one, police often believe that person. This ignores the possibility that the non-injured person may have acted in self defense, or that some injuries (like being hit in the head) may not be as visible.
Who is more upset. If one partner is crying, trembling or upset, police may believe them. This is particularly unfair because men are less likely to openly show how upset they are, even if they are sad or scared on the inside.
Signs of aggression. You may not have been violent at all, but felt cornered or defensive once police were called. Then, when they accuse you, you get even more defensive. As you act more aggressive the police start to believe the other partner and arrest you, even if you did nothing wrong.
While many of these situations are an honest mistake, manipulation can also come into play. There are people who understand how domestic violence claims work and use them intentionally as a weapon to hurt or control their partner.
Just because you were arrested does not mean you were in the wrong—or that you have to be convicted. This is why we urge you to fight your case.
What counts as domestic violence in Los Angeles?
Domestic violence is not a single charge. It is a catch-all term for situations where a partner has hurt, tried to hurt, or harassed their partner (or ex). This can include:
Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
Hitting or pushing the other person
Threatening, acting in a threatening manner or trying to hurt them, even if you do not cause any harm
Abandoning the person somewhere
Damaging or destroying their property
Domestic violence can also refer to mistreatment of children, although these are separate, more serious charges than those involving a partner. With a partner, many kinds of charges can be used, but the two most common are:
Corporal injury of a spouse/partner
Both of these involve using violence or the force on another person. Battery can be charged even if they were not hurt (and even if you barely touched them), while corporal injury requires that they were hurt by the attack.
What should I know if I am arrested for domestic violence?
You should know that you face potential jail time, large fines, and the possibility of court-ordered domestic violence courses, among other penalties. However, you should also know that there are other serious ways that a domestic violence charge can affect your life:
Child custody. If you are fighting for custody over your children, any domestic violence allegation hurts you. However, being convicted of a crime hurts you even more. Courts are allowed to consider a “history” of domestic abuse and a conviction provides credibility to that “history.” Sometimes a partner will claim domestic violence purely to gain control of the children.
Divorce settlements. Divorce in California is not decided based on who did something wrong. However, spousal support (“alimony”) often is. If a higher-earning partner claims abuse by the lower-earning partner, and gets a conviction, it can prevent the lower-earning partner from getting spousal support, as long as the conviction is within 5 years prior to the divorce. This is true regardless of the gender of either partner.
How do I win a domestic violence case in Los Angeles?
You need to fight it. In many cases, prosecutors just go by the police reports and then push for the hardest sentence possible. They are used to seeing defendants who do not know how to fight their case, do not have adequate legal counsel, and take the first “deal” that is offered to them. However, that doesn’t mean the prosecutor has a strong case against you. Often their case is nothing more than the word of the person who accused you, which is not evidence. Simply getting a lawyer and putting up a defense can make a dramatic difference.
Some of the defenses we may use in your case include:
The accusation is false.
The prosecutor doesn’t have enough evidence to convict.
You did hurt the person, but did so in self-defense or defense of your children.
You did hurt the person, but by accident—such as pushing past them trying to leave the room.
These defenses can be stunningly effective when we help you investigate your case and put together evidence to back you up. Often, simply the act of getting an experienced domestic violence lawyer is enough to get the prosecutor to offer you a better “deal.” In many cases, we could get the charges dropped for lack of evidence—and you walk away without ever going to trial.
Help Is Waiting for You
One domestic violence accusation can ruin your life. Don’t face it alone. The legal team of the Simmrin Law Group will defend you as if you are one of our own. Let us give you a free consultation to help you understand your case and your legal options. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your FREE consultation today.