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What’s the Role of Digital Evidence in Domestic Violence Defense Cases in Los Angeles County?

By September 13, 2023May 19th, 2024No Comments
Woman Searching Location in Map Online | Domestic Violence Lawyer in Los Angeles​​ | Wegman & Levin

Every marriage or intimate partnership encounters its fair share of ups and downs. Disagreements happen, and most couples are able to work through their differences through discussions and negotiations. However, there are times when a heated argument can escalate to the point where one person does or says something they cannot take back. In some cases, someone may falsely accuse their partner of harming them or subjecting them to acts of domestic violence—these allegations, even if they are meritless, can destroy the accused person’s relationships and reputation. Even though our criminal justice system is based on the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, mere accusations of domestic violence can damage a person’s professional reputation and standing within the community. If law enforcement in Los Angeles County has arrested you for acts of domestic violence, you should contact a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. Your attorney will examine the specifics of your situation and help you determine the most strategic path forward. Let’s take a look at how California defines domestic violence offenses and some of the most effective legal strategies that a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can use to defend your future and freedom.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence Under California Law?

First, it’s helpful to understand what the term “domestic violence” means. Most people assume that domestic violence refers to acts of physical violence committed by one partner to another. For example, you may picture a larger male perpetrator striking or hitting a female victim. However, it’s essential to recognize that acts of domestic abuse do not only involve male perpetrators and female victims—people of any age, gender, sexual identity, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic class can be perpetrators or survivors of domestic violence. What’s more, crimes of domestic violence do not always involve spouses or dating partners; they extend to other types of relationships, like family members and cohabitants of the same residence. Violence (or threats of violence) between current or former spouses, dating partners, co-parents, cohabitants, parents, children, relatives, or step-relatives all fall under the umbrella of domestic violence. Penal Code sections 273.5 and 243(e)(1) are the most common battery charges constituting domestic violence, but it is the nature of the relationship, not the particular offense, that makes a charge “domestic violence.”

Potential Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction

It’s natural to wonder about the penalties for domestic violence crimes under California law. Although the California Penal Code does not address the specific offense we refer to as “domestic violence,” such acts fall under the criminal codes governing domestic abuse, spousal battery, corporal injury on a spouse, and spousal abuse. All of these acts share the common goal of controlling another person’s autonomy and independence through physical violence, coercive control, or emotional manipulation. The majority of these offenses are considered misdemeanor crimes, usually punishable by up to one year in county jail, up to $2,000 in fines, and probation. However, if the alleged offense caused serious bodily injury to the victim or the victim was a minor at the time of the incident, the charges may be elevated to felony-level offenses. Also, if you have previous criminal convictions for related offenses, you can expect to face enhanced punishments for this most recent offense. Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges, it’s best to seek legal representation right away to maximize your chances of obtaining the best outcome possible, given the specific circumstances of your case.

Using Evidence in Your Domestic Violence Defense Strategy

Due to the intimate nature of romantic and familial relationships, many domestic violence cases boil down to one party’s words against the other’s. As you work with your skilled Los Angeles County criminal defense lawyer to prepare your legal strategy, you will need to identify the strongest forms of evidence to use to defend yourself against these charges. Let’s explore how evidence, particularly types of digital evidence, may be used by the defense and the prosecution to further their cases.

Digital Evidence

In our increasingly online world, digital evidence is becoming more valuable. Your defense lawyer can help you identify forms of digital evidence that support your position. For example, if the other party is claiming that you were with them at a specific time when the alleged event took place, you can use location data from your phone or GPS to contradict their accusation and show that you were elsewhere at that time. You may also use pictures, social media posts and comments, text messages, and phone call logs to push back against the claims and accusations made against you. Your attorney will help you develop the most effective approach to presenting evidence in support of your position.

Understanding Your Legal Rights

The prosecution often relies on gathering and presenting digital evidence to further its case against you. For instance, prosecutors may use text messages and comments you made on social media to depict you as an aggressive individual capable of committing acts of domestic violence. However, it’s essential to recognize that you have legal rights at every stage of the criminal justice process. Law enforcement officers cannot seize your computer or phone without obtaining a warrant; if you believe the police violated your legal rights at any point, you can trust that your defense lawyer will bring these violations to light and advocate for the dismissal of the charges. Your attorney will also help you evaluate the evidence that the prosecution intends to use against you and prepare a solid and effective defense strategy in response. No matter what path your case may take, now’s the time to fight aggressively and strategically for your future.

If you are facing domestic violence or assault charges in Los Angeles County, you need reliable and effective criminal defense services right away to ensure your rights remain protected at every turn. Call Wegman & Levin today at (818) 980-4000 to arrange a free consultation with an experienced and trusted criminal defense lawyer.

Michael M. Levin, Esq.

Michael M. Levin is an experienced attorney who has been in private practice as a criminal defense lawyer for over 25 years. He has conducted numerous jury trials in cases ranging from DUI to capital murder. Read More

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