How Prosecuting Attorneys Make Charging Decisions on You Domestic Violence Case
The prosecutor has discretion to decide whether to charge you with a crime and you may have been given a citation when you bailed out with a court date. A few things could happen on your arraignment date (first day) at court. Your case may be on calendar but on the other hand you may not see it and it is not filed. If you found out no charges were filed on your domestic violence case it can mean a number of things. You will most likely be sent to the Orange County District Attorneys’ office to get an information sheet to show that you showed up to court.
1) When you showed to court you were told that there was no case. It may take months before they file charges against you and they have not received any paperwork from the agency.
2) They are currently reviewing the case
They will likely ask the court for another date and have you show up. If don’t show up then you will get a warrant for your domestic violence case.
3) The case got sent back for further investigation. –
What does it mean when you are arrested or had police contact but no criminal charges were filed?
Often times when there is a domestic violence incident the evidence can be very weak. For example, it was only a slap and there was no mark. In addition, the accused denied slapping or did not make any statements. These types of facts lends itself to cases not being filed. This lack of evidence makes it hard to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial in the criminal courts.
If they cannot meet this burden, then the defendant must be acquitted. In many cases the prosecutor will just chose not file the case in the first place instead of going thru with the hassle of putting it on calendar to dismiss it later.
The Victim Is Not Credible
Domestic violence charges may not move forward with formal charges if the prosecutors feels that the victim is not credible. This can include the history of the victim and the number of times they called in the past in regards to domestic violence offenses. Whether the victim has faked physical injuries by hitting themselves and tried to use it to push forward with formal charges.
These things all come together in a calculus the prosecutor and law enforcement officers call the totality of the circumstance. They will form an opinion on whether there is sufficient evidence to make a case that a domestic violence arrest was justified and whether they can prove a domestic battery in court beyond a reasonable doubt. At the end of the day, if the answer is yes then they will file the case and your case will be on calendar on the arraignment hearing date, if not then the case will result in no charges being filed.
In some cases, it may be difficult to prove whether a person has committed domestic violence if they give inconsistent statements. A skilled criminal defense attorneys will be able to take advantage of this common domestic violence issue. These inconsistent statement problems often manifest themselves in an uncooperative victim. The victim would often take the 5th and or chose not to testify in court against the accused. This is a strong defense strategy to counter the physical assault. California Penal Code 1219 is available for victims of domestic violence and allows caps the penalties for not testifying in court. Prosecutors will recognize this and take this into consideration when making a decision to consider if they can make a domestic violence conviction or not. If they not then they will not file the domestic violence case.
Common examples, if a woman says she was assaulted by her husband but then later tells police he never touched her, this could weaken the prosecution’s case.If a man claims his wife attacked him in self defense but later admits he pushed her away, this could mean he doesn’t actually believe she was acting in self defense.
Lack of Independent Witnesses
If you were assaulted by someone who has a history of violence and often says they are the victim , it may be difficult to find independent witnesses to testify. In some cases, the prosecutor will not take action unless they receive corroborating witness statements.
Compelling Reject Request Letter Written By Attorney
The letter should be written by an experienced defense attorney who has experience writing letters like this one. It should include details about why the case should be sent back for further investigation , the holes in the investigation, what additional information is needed for filing, what the police officer should have done (inquired more about the visible injuries), and what steps they need to take to correct it to get it ready to file so it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt under the existing domestic violence laws. If the letter resonates with the filing prosecutor then they may make the decision not to file the case.
Cases can be filed anytime within the Statute of Limitations of each Crime
The statute of limitations is the amount of time after which a person cannot be prosecuted for a crime. In California for misdemeanors the period is 1 year and it can vary for felonies. There are a number of reasons whey cases are not filed on time. Domestic violence charges are cases that often fall into this category and are not filed on time.
If your case was not filed on the day of court then it is important to know that it can still be filed anytime within the statue of limitations. For misdemeanors it is 1 year and for felonies it will go higher. In Onrage County, you will can go to the Dsitrict Attorney’s Office or give their office a call to check on your case every 2 weeks. Alternativly, you can also speak with a criminal defense attorney at 714-589-3063 about getiing your arrest sealed.