A Family Squabble Leads to a Domestic Violence Arrest

Arrested in Los Angeles for Domestic Violence?

A Small Ripple Can Become a Tidal Wave

As you think back, it was all so silly. You live in or around Los Angeles where folks are used to airing their frustrations and moving on… You got into a verbal disagreement with your spouse. Things got a little out of hand and the police were called because your spouse was angry, or perhaps a neighbor decided to intervene… When the police are called to a Domestic Violence incident in Los Angeles or any other city the fact is SOMEONE is going to jail! Now you have BIG TROUBLE.

If the Police are called in Los Angeles, Someone’s going to Jail!

A BIG MESS – The police came into your home. They may have been a little hostile, rude and unwilling to listen to what actually happened. It happens – all the time! Your arrest was likely one of several that these officers made that same week. It is hard to blame the police – they are under outside pressure to make AN ARREST when arriving at ANY domestic violence call: legitimate or a little disagreement. Bottom Line? They arrested you and now you are facing serious criminal charges for Domestic Violence. The alleged victim may even want the charges dropped, but the prosecution will not drop the charges. That is exactly what seems to happen these days. Whether you should be —or not— you are now in serious trouble and you will be needing some competent legal representation.

Chances are, your partner didn’t want you to get arrested and certainly, he or she didn’t want you to be charged with a serious crime called “Domestic Violence” that could send you to jail, cost you your job, and drain your life’s savings – but here we are…

Domestic Violence Arrest In Los Angeles: What You Should Know…

Since the mid nineties, following the OJ Simpson trial right here in Los Angeles, when the police go to a home to intervene in a domestic argument, invariably, someone is going to get arrested. California law requires local LA police, absent strong justification to call it a “false alarm,” to arrest at least ONE of the parties involved in a domestic dispute before they can leave. The job of the police is to determine WHO was the primary aggressor and to make an arrest. That’s it! Someone is going to jail and the system can “figure it out later…” It may be unfair, overly-harsh, or “politically-correct” – but that is what is happening in every town, county and state in the United States.

Once the Los Angeles or other independent cities’ police agency has identified the primary aggressor and made an arrest, the local prosecutor becomes involved in the domestic violence case. The prosecutors are often under tremendous societal pressure to file criminal charges and aggressively prosecute a defendant even if they might personally feel that the case is trivial. They may have no negative feelings about a particular defendant, nonetheless they are compelled to proceed to trial because of internal office politics or a fear of how it might be perceived by the public if they were to drop the charges.

Can’t the Domestic Violence “Victim” Stop the Prosecution?

No! Before the Los Angles O J Trial – sure… The party that was not arrested could say “Stop, I don’t want to file charges against my spouse,” (married or living together). Since then, no way. These days, the victim (alleged or actual) has no power over the prosecutor. In fact, the prosecutor has the legal power to compel the testimony of the victim even if the victim does not want to testify. Through the power of a subpoena and the threat of a contempt charge, the prosecution will likely strong-arm the victim into testifying against you.

How Do I Protect My Rights if Charged with Domestic Violence?

There are a number of Pro-Active steps you can take to protect your rights.

First, you have a right to remain silent. Take advantage of this right: USE IT! It is NOT in your best interest to speak with the police or the prosecutor. You do have to show the officer your ID and you cannot resist your arrest, but you do not have to answer any questions about what happened or make incriminating statements that will be used against you later.

Second, contact an experienced Los Angeles Area Criminal Defense Attorney who deals with California Domestic Violence as soon as possible. If you have already talked to the arresting officer(s) their arrest report will be immediately handed over to a detective for follow-up before being presented to the prosecutor – usually in the first 48-hours. This means that you have another opportunity to remain silent should the detective want to get a telephone statement from you or have your meet for a follow-up interview and statement. Be advised, that phone call will be recorded, and the officer doesn’t have to tell you so, nor read you your rights. Call an attorney. If you feel absolutely compelled to tell the detective your “story,” your attorney can do it without the story being used against you later.

While the detective has the report, this window of opportunity is the perfect time to contact an criminal defense attorney! If you can have an attorney represent you while the report is still in the hands of the arresting officers or the detective – – – yet before it is submitted to the District Attorney’s Office – – – you have a critical and time-sensitive opportunity to change the tone and severity of the report before the prosecutor ever sees it.

It is Possible to Stop the Prosecution of your Case!

It is sometimes possible that the detective will conclude that it will not be necessary to present your case with a recommendation for prosecution if your side of the incident is presented by your attorney who knows how to work with the police. This is a critical time and offers a time-limited window of opportunity for you to have an attorney intervene on your behalf and present you and your version of “what happened” in the best possible light with the investigating detective. It costs you nothing to contact an attorney for a consultation while the paperwork is still in the hands of the police.

Moreover, an attorney can explain your charges to you in detail and share with you these charges might affect you, explain your options, and then give you a candid assessment of your chances of getting the charges reduced or perhaps completely dismissed. If time has passed since your arrest, and the police have already recommended that the DA’s office file charges against you, your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor’s office on your behalf to have the charges dismissed, reduced, or if necessary, aggressively defend your rights at trial.

Penalties for a Los Angeles, California Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Conviction:

  • Up to 5 years probation.
  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • Up to $6,250 in fines.
  • A Criminal Protective (“No Contact” order) that protects you from having any contact with the victim, regardless of their wishes and yours.
  • Community service.
  • Mandatory counseling, typically twice per week for one year.

Penalties for an California Felony Domestic Violence Conviction:

The “soft” (non-jail) penalties for a felony domestic violence conviction are typically the same as the penalties for misdemeanor domestic violence.  However, depending on the severity of the crime, and your past history, you could spend anywhere from 18-60 months in prison – or more.

Contact LA Felony Lawyer George W. Woodworth if You Are In Trouble

If you have been arrested for domestic violence anywhere in Southern California, I encourage you to contact me, George W. Woodworth. I am a Los Angeles Area Criminal Defense Attorney and have successfully defended many clients charged with domestic violence.

If you or someone you know has been (or may soon be) charged with Domestic Violence, call me at (562) 754-7422 for a free initial consultation. Early intervention is critical to a successful resolution. LA Felony Lawyer, George W. Woodworth is hired by those arrested for Domestic Violence to win or get the absolute best resolution possible for your current predicament.