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    What are Some Challenges to Prosecuting Domestic Violence Cases?

    Posted on: August 3rd, 2020 by Dod Law

    What are Some Challenges to Prosecuting Domestic Violence Cases_High profile domestic violence cases have paved the way for a more aggressive approach to prosecuting these crimes. Today, many police departments in California have their own domestic violence units that focus solely on investigating and prosecuting these matters. 

    Although police departments are allocating more resources to put an end to domestic violence and protect victims, these offenses present unique challenges that make them more difficult to prosecute than other crimes. These challenges, in turn, make it more likely that a prosecutor will dismiss or reduce charges, especially if the defendant is being represented by a competent defense lawyer.

    Were you recently charged with a domestic violence offense? You should know exactly how this charge could impact your life without effective legal counsel. Attorney Dod of Dod Law will inform you of your rights and investigate the facts of your case to present the strongest defense in court. When you need a domestic violence defense lawyer in San Diego, you can count on him to help you protect your future.

    Challenge #1: Unwilling or Uncooperative Domestic Violence Victims

    Domestic violence is violence that occurs between people who share an intimate relationship. In California, domestic violence refers to abuse or threats of abuse between people who are or have been in an intimate relationship, including married or domestic partners, people who are dating or used to date, people who live or have lived together, and people who have a child together.

    Defining “Abuse” in the California Court System

    Additionally, “abuse” refers to several harmful actions, including:

    • Physically hurting or trying to hurt someone, intentionally or recklessly;
    • Sexual assault;
    • Making someone reasonably afraid that he or she or someone else is about to be hurt; or
    • Behavior like harassing, stalking, threatening, or hitting someone; disturbing someone’s peace; or destroying someone’s personal property.


    Physical abuse can refer to hitting, kicking, shoving, pushing, pulling hair, throwing objects, and more. It can even include abuse of the family pet. 

    Why Don’t Domestic Abuse Victims Want to Pursue Charges?

    Even though they may have sustained significant harm, many victims want these cases dropped because they don’t want their partners to go to jail. Prosecutors cannot dismiss cases due to these requests. These cases often go to trial with uncooperative victims, which makes it difficult for prosecutors to prevail in court. 

    Victims who do not wish to cooperate with law enforcement may fail to appear in court. While a prosecutor may have them subpoenaed or ordered to appear in court by a judge — which can lead to the victim’s arrest if they fail to appear — there is no guarantee the victim will help the prosecutor prove his case.

    Named witnesses who aren’t served a subpoena may prevent the prosecution from moving forward at trial. In the end, the case may be dismissed. Note that it is a criminal offense to discourage a witness from testifying against you.

    Challenge #2: Cooperative but Dishonest Victim in a Domestic Violence Case

    Sometimes, domestic violence victims want to help law enforcement but they may hurt their case by lying about the defendant’s conduct. If there are incentives for a victim to lie — like there might be if there’s a pending child custody or divorce decision — victims may not be trustworthy. In many domestic violence cases, both parties end up fighting mutually. In some cases, defendants can raise self-defense to challenge the victim’s testimony. 

    Aggressive Domestic Violence Defense in San Diego

    Domestic violence cases are much more sensitive and complex than assault and battery cases due to the nature of the relationship between the parties. To have a fair chance at a successful outcome in court, you need competent representation by a San Diego criminal lawyer like attorney Dod. Dod has practiced criminal defense for more than 17 years. He has worked on more than 6,500 cases and is uniquely qualified by the California State Bar to handle serious capital offenses. 

    Contact Dod today by calling 619-814-5110 or complete our contact form for a free consultation. 

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