Although domestic violence is and should be a serious crime, many arrests for domestic violence charges are made because of petty domestic disagreements. It is also common for alleged victims of domestic violence to exaggerate the severity of “violence” committed by the suspect.
Whatever is the case, if you have been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, you have to understand what it means to be arrested for domestic violence charges, as the procedural process of a domestic violence arrest differs from other types of criminal arrests in Los Angeles and all across California.
Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at the Okabe & Haushalter law firm has recently received the following question, “I have been arrested for domestic charges, but my wife blew the whole thing out of proportion – I only yelled at her and did not even touch her – what happens next? Mike, 35.”
Thank you for your letter, Mike. First of all, it is vital to keep in mind that under California laws, you do not necessarily have to physically abuse your partner to be charged with domestic abuse. In fact, people in Los Angeles and all across California get arrested for other types of abusive behavior in their marriages and relationships, including but not limited to sexual abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse.
Second of all, after a domestic violence arrest, you have to remember that anything you do or say after an arrest will be used against you. You have a constitutional right to remain silent after you have been arrested or received notice that you are now the target of a domestic violence investigation.
The first step you should take is to call a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California and find out what your best legal options are. Even if there is already an investigation underway, the sooner you consult with an experienced attorney, the bigger your chances of avoiding domestic violence charges or reducing the penalties and punishment in your case.
After a domestic violence arrest in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, the first thing that usually happens is the pre-file investigation. After your arrest, the local police department will assign an investigating officer to find additional evidence of the alleged offense to either prove or disprove the fact that you engaged in abusive behavior.
This will often include interviews with you, the alleged victim, and any witnesses in your case. So what should you do if you have been contacted by the investigating officer to conduct a face-to-face interview? Regardless of the severity of domestic violence charges that you are facing, do not agree to be interviewed without the presence of your Los Angeles domestic violence attorney.
Hiring a domestic violence lawyer does not make you look guilty, as it is your right to be legally represented in any criminal case. In fact, by not seeking legal advice from an experienced lawyer you risk incriminating yourself simply by making ambiguous or wrong statements without thinking much.
Also, do not be naive to think that domestic violence investigators are on your side, however friendly they might seem. It is never the case. In fact, most investigating officers tend to manipulate suspects in domestic violence cases in order to capture statements and phrases that make them look guilty.
Your domestic violence attorney will prevent that from happening and will ensure that all your statements are in line with your criminal defense strategy. Keep in mind that not clarifying the contours of your criminal defense strategy early on or having no strategy whatsoever can have an adverse effect on your case.
Decline any requests to comment and refuse to be interviewed by an investigating officer unless you are represented by a criminal defense lawyer. Contact the Okabe & Haushalter law firm to consult with our attorney about your particular case. Call our offices at 310-430-7799 or complete this contact form for a free consultation.