California law holds that if the police believe domestic violence has occurred, arrest is mandatory. An officer must make an arrest if that officer has probable cause to believe someone abused their partner, spouse, ex-spouse, or family member. At the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings, we understand the complexity of domestic violence legal proceedings. Individuals may face unwarranted criminal charges if incidents are falsely reported, or exaggerated. Our office helps clients throughout Riverside and nearby communities understand how the police approach domestic violence cases, and what to do if they have been arrested and are facing criminal charges. Attorney Comings has handled many cases that have been dismissed without proceeding to trial and works diligently to effectively defend clients.
Certain states maintain mandatory arrest laws in order to help guide law enforcement during domestic violence stops. California is a mandatory arrest state. According to Penal Code Section 13701, law enforcement is required to arrest the person determined to be the dominant aggressor. This is true for minor incidents and applies to situations in which the police determine the evidence supports abuse of a domestic partner, current or former spouse, cohabitant, family member, or dating partner.
After officers arrive on the scene of an alleged domestic dispute, they typically begin collecting evidence. This may be in the form of witness interviews, physical evidence of harm, or eyewitness statements. Based on the evidence, they may arrest either one or both parties involved in the dispute. In most cases, after the arrest, a protective order goes into effect and the person arrested is booked into jail.
An experienced defense attorney will be familiar with the evidence that is typically relied upon to make a mandatory arrest. There are different manners of approaching the case. If a defendant has been arrested, there is a sense of urgency associated with the case.
Officers must have probable cause to execute a domestic violence arrest. In some situations, this probable cause may not support criminal charges. The prosecution may in fact drop their charges if they assess that the domestic violence mandatory arrest does not support pursuing the case. Lack of evidence is a common reason for the prosecution to drop domestic violence charges.
If the prosecution files criminal charges, a strong defense can help to reduce or even dismiss domestic violence charges. False accusations is a potential defense that may apply. It can be challenging to prove that a victim has asserted a false allegation. However, the prosecution does bear the burden of proof. If the victim lied, or falsely asserted that the defendant acted out against them, charges cannot stand. Motivation for false accusations vary. The victim may seek legal advantage during a custody dispute, for example, or attempt to harm the defendant’s reputation.
Exaggerated circumstances are another possible defense. Witness testimony may be inconsistent, exposing flaws in the underlying evidence used to support the arrest. Wrongful arrest is another possible defense. A skilled defense lawyer will be capable of assessing the most appropriate defense strategy.
Conviction for domestic violence can trigger other serious consequences. Professional licenses may be revoked, and non-citizens can face deportation, regardless of how long they have lived in the United States. Child custody disputes are also affected by a domestic violence prosecution.
At the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings, we defend against domestic violence criminal charges, such as misdemeanor domestic violence. Riverside Attorney Comings prioritizes his availability to clients because he appreciates the stress caused by pending criminal proceedings. In addition to domestic violence, our office provides legal representation to people facing investigation or charges for drug offenses, sex crimes, and white collar offenses. Contact our office directly to learn more about your rights. We can be reached by phone at (951) 686-3457 or online.