Domestic Violence Victims Refusing to Testify in Orange County
Contact an OC Domestic Violence Attorney at (714) 530-9690
Many victims in domestic violence cases to want to drop charges and have the case dismissed. But, it's a myth that a victim can just make the case go away. In fact, most domestic violence cases are prosecuted without the victim's cooperation. Even in domestic violence cases where the victim refuses to testify, the prosecution can still get a conviction without the victim's testimony.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a domestic violence situation, you need to contact an experienced OC domestic violence attorney. Law Office of Michael L. Guisti have helped many families through these difficult times. We can be there for yours.
Contact us at (888) 478-8999.
What is Domestic Violence?
In California, domestic violence legally consists of physically harming or injuring another person, stalking, threatening, or damaging another person's property. The most common domestic violence charge is related to California Penal Code Section 273.5. This law refers to domestic violence situations involving an injury to a person who is or used to be an intimate partner of the accused person. Charges under Penal Code Section 273.5 are "wobblers," meaning they can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
A domestic violence charge in California is very serious. Along with potential jail time, people accused of domestic violence also face having to compete a 1 year batterer's treatment program and might have a restraining order put against them by the victim.
When The Domestic Violence Arrest Is Made
There are many domestic violence cases where the alleged victim wants charges dropped. Unfortunately, California law makes that kind of impossible. California Penal Code section 836(d) states that when a police officer is called to a domestic violence situation:
"A police officer may arrest the suspect without a warrant where both of the following circumstances apply: (1) The peace officer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed the assault or battery, whether or not it has in fact been committed. (2) The peace officer makes the arrest as soon as probable cause arises to believe that the person to be arrested has committed the assault or battery, whether or not it has in fact been committed."
Police officers responding to domestic violence calls usually act cautiously and make an arrest. When the arrest is made, the decision about pressing charges goes to the District Attorney's office. In most cases, the DA's office files charges.
What If The Victim Doesn't Want To Testify?
Situations where the alleged victim doesn't want to testify in a domestic violence case brings California Civil Code Section 1219 into the case. This law states:
"Notwithstanding any other law, no court may imprison or otherwise confine or place in custody the victim of a sexual assault or domestic violence crime for contempt when the contempt consists of refusing to testify concerning that sexual assault or domestic violence crime. Before finding a victim of a domestic violence crime in contempt as described in this section, the court may refer the victim for consultation with a domestic violence counselor."
This law states that in California, the alleged victim of a domestic violence charge DOES NOT have to testify in the case. Generally, a judge will hold a person in contempt and punish them for refusing to testify. Domestic violence cases are one of the few exemptions to this rule.
Can Someone Still Be Found Guilt If The Accuser Doesn't Testify?
Yes. In California, it is legally the state pressing charges against you in a domestic violence case and not the victim. So, what the victim wants in terms of dropping charges has little effect on the legal process.
If the victim refuses to testify in a domestic violence case and there are no other witnesses to the scene, there's a good chance the charges will get lowered or dismissed. California is tough on domestic violence cases, don't be surprised if the District Attorney still prosecutes the crime.
Contact an Experienced Orange County Domestic Violence Attorney
Law Office of Michael L. Guisti has assisted many people and families dealing with domestic violence situations. We're ready to help you. Contact our Orange County criminal defense lawyers at (888) 478-8999.
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.