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Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped in California?

Domestic violence allegations in California are serious business. Prosecutors here take a hard line on these cases, and they’re not just going to drop the charges because you say you’re innocent or you’re still in a relationship with the alleged victim.

In fact, even if the alleged victim tries to recant their statement or refuses to cooperate, the DA can still push forward with the case. It’s a frustrating reality, but it’s important to understand what you’re up against.

Now, we know you’re probably feeling scared, angry, and overwhelmed right now. That’s completely understandable. But here’s the thing — you’re not alone, and there are strategies we can use to fight these charges. It won’t be easy, but with the right approach and a strong defense, we may be able to get the charges reduced or even dismissed.

In this blog post, we’ll break down the challenges of domestic violence cases in California, explain the legal process and your rights, and discuss the strategies we can use to build the strongest possible defense.

Common Domestic Violence Charges in California

California legislators have passed some of the nation’s strictest laws regarding domestic abuse cases. Charges often carry heavy penalties and lifelong consequences.

Some of the most common California domestic violence codes include:

  • Penal Code 273.5Willful infliction of corporal injury on a spouse, cohabitant, fiancé or fiancée, a person of a previous dating relationship, or mother or father of the defendant’s child
  • Penal Code 243(e)Battery against a spouse, cohabitant, fiancé or fiancée, person of a previous dating relationship, mother or father of defendant’s child
  • Penal Code 273.6 – Violation of a protective order
  • Penal Code 273a – Child endangerment, inflicting unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering

The legal system moves fast in these cases, and it may seem like the police and prosecutors have already made up their minds about your guilt. But here’s the thing – you don’t have to face this alone.

Having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Our domestic violence lawyers at The Nieves Law Firm know how to negotiate with the prosecution, dig deep to uncover mitigating circumstances, and build a compelling case for getting your charges reduced or even dismissed.

We’ll be your advocate, your guide, and your strongest ally as you navigate the criminal justice system.

Only The Prosecutor Has the Power to Drop Domestic Violence Charges

California law specifically recognizes that domestic violence is a serious crime that affects not just the victim but the entire community. Penal Code 273.8. In California, the decision to drop domestic violence charges ultimately rests with the prosecutor, not the alleged victim or the police. Even if the person who accused you of domestic violence has a change of heart and wants to recant their statement, the prosecutor can still choose to move forward with the case if they believe they have enough evidence to prove your guilt.

That being said, the alleged victim’s cooperation (or lack thereof) can still have a significant impact on the strength of the prosecution’s case. If the accuser recants their statement, refuses to testify, or is otherwise uncooperative, it can make it much harder for the prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In some cases, this may lead the prosecutor to drop the charges or offer a plea bargain for a lesser offense.

When Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped in California?

The truth is, it’s not easy to get domestic violence charges dropped – but it’s not impossible, either. The key is having a knowledgeable, aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side who knows how to navigate the legal system and fight for your rights.

So, when can domestic violence charges get dropped in California? There are a few possible scenarios:

  1. The alleged victim recants their statement or refuses to testify. There are generally only two witnesses in these cases and if neither cooperates, it can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case.
  2. There’s not enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If your attorney can poke holes in the prosecution’s case and raise doubt about what really happened, the charges may be dismissed.
  3. The police violated your rights during the investigation or arrest process. If evidence was obtained illegally or your constitutional rights were infringed upon, your attorney may be able to get the charges dropped on technical grounds.
  4. You acted in self-defense. If you can show that you were defending yourself or someone else from imminent harm, your attorney may be able to argue that your actions were justified and get the charges dropped on the grounds of self-defense.

At The Nieves Law Firm, we are one of the largest criminal defense law firms in the Bay Area. We have both the team and the resources to build strong cases and negotiate with prosecutors to get domestic violence charges dropped or reduced.

We’ve successfully defended many of these cases over the years and we’re fully prepared to explore every possible avenue for getting you the best outcome.

If you’re facing domestic violence charges in California, don’t wait – contact us today for a consultation. With our legal team on your side, you can face these charges with confidence and work towards putting this behind you.

Consult Our California Criminal Defense Lawyers to Understand Your Options

Getting domestic violence charges dropped in California is an uphill battle. The state takes these cases seriously, and prosecutors are often reluctant to let alleged abusers off the hook. But that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel and accept whatever punishment they want to hand down.

At The Nieves Law Firm, we believe that everyone deserves a strong defense and a fair shot at justice. We’ve handled countless domestic violence cases, and we know how to find the cracks in the prosecution’s case and build a compelling argument for dropping or reducing the charges.

Maybe the alleged victim has a history of making false accusations, or there’s evidence that you were actually the one being abused. Maybe the police made mistakes in their investigation, or the prosecutor is overcharging you to try to force a plea deal. Whatever the situation, we’ll dig deep to find the facts and develop a strategy that gives you the best chance of success.

But here’s the thing – you can’t afford to wait. The longer you go without a skilled attorney fighting for you, the harder it will be to get the charges dropped or negotiate a favorable outcome. That’s why you need to pick up the phone right now and call The Nieves Law Firm for a consultation.

We’ll sit down with you, listen to your story, and give you an honest assessment of your case. We’ll explain your options, answer your questions, and help you make an informed decision about how to proceed. And if you choose to hire us, we’ll be with you every step of the way, fighting tirelessly to protect your rights and your future.

Author Bio

Jo-Anna Nieves is the Founder and Managing Attorney of The Nieves Law Firm, an Oakland criminal defense law firm she created in 2012. With more than 11 years of experience in criminal defense, she has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, domestic violence, expungement, federal crimes, juvenile law, motions to vacate, sex crimes, violent crimes, and other criminal charges.

Jo-Anna received her Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named a Super Lawyer Rising Star the past 8 years, the #12 Fastest Growing Law Firm in the U.S. by Law Firm 500 in 2019, and one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. by Inc 5000 in 2023.

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