Prosecution of Domestic Violence in Oakland
The prosecution of domestic violence in Oakland can be complex and challenging, especially if you attempt to handle the case on your own. An accomplished defense attorney could prepare you for trial and help you develop a strong defense against the prosecution’s claims. By working with skilled legal counsel, you improve your chances of a favorable resolution.
What Must a Prosecutor Prove for Someone to be Convicted of Domestic Abuse in Oakland?
A prosecutor in all criminal cases must have enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. To bring a domestic violence charge, there must be a certain relationship between the defendant and the alleged victim. They may be married, divorced, ex-fiancés, currently in a dating relationship, or were previously in a dating relationship. These charges also cover child abuse.
The second thing prosecutors must prove is the elements of that particular offense, because there are two similar penal codes to charge, and neither calls it domestic violence. The first is Penal Code Section 243(e)(1), also known as simple battery against a person who is previously in a dating relationship or someone who comes within that type of domestic-violence relationship.
That means a prosecutor would have to prove that the accused willfully and unlawfully touched the alleged victim in a harmful or offensive manner, and that they were in a personal relationship. There does not have to be actual bodily injury, such as a bruise or cut, for someone to be charged. This is because any touching, however slight, could suffice, so long as the alleged victim received it in a way he or she found harmful or offensive.
That is always charged as a misdemeanor, never a felony. However, if the alleged victim does suffer bodily harm from the physical contact, the charge then falls under Penal Code Section 273.5. This code refers to inflicting injury on someone in familial or romantic relationship, resulting in a “traumatic injury.” The section is called a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the injury.
If there is an issue about the possible use of self-defense, a judge would have to indicate to the jury that they are able to consider the acts as self-defense. If the person did act in self-defense, he or she cannot be convicted of those charges.
Other common domestic violence charges include corporal injury on the child, which can be child abuse, depending on the circumstances. It is also common to see false imprisonment or kidnapping as a charge related to a domestic-violence, and sexual assault.
Impact of Alleged Domestic Abuse Victim Testimony
There are potential benefits of putting an alleged victim on the stand because he or she can be extremely persuasive at securing that guilty verdict. Under the law, a victim has the right to attend every single court hearing and to make an impact statement. He or she can also provide their statements to the judge in open court or throughout the investigation, such as to the law-enforcement agency the district attorney’s investigator, or the defense counsel’s investigator, which is often done when a case is complex.
Those statements are extremely important, as well as his or her conduct while testifying on the stand. An emotional witness could be beneficial in a prosecutor’s family abuse case as he or she could sway the jury. Victims should come across as sympathetic, because jurors may have the feeling that they want to help vindicate that victim with a guilty verdict. Unfortunately, it becomes less about determining if the defendant is guilty and more about giving something back to the victim.
In some cases, a witness could prove beneficial for the defendant. For instance, if the witness is contradicting previous testimony, or not answering questions. A local defense attorney could help someone facing domestic abuse charges prepare for witness testimony brought by the prosecution.
Speak with an Oakland Attorney About the Prosecution of Domestic Violence Charges
To understand how the prosecution of domestic violence in Oakland works, it is important to speak with an experienced lawyer from the area. A local attorney could understand how the prosecutor operates and build a case around that. The prosecution will do everything they can to get a guilty verdict, so do not try to handle this on your own. Call our office today and schedule your free case consultation.