Why domestic violence charges can be tricky to defend against

The evidence is not always clear cut in domestic violence cases, and they are often emotionally charged, making them tricky to defend against.

Domestic violence is a tricky area of the law in California-for both prosecutors and defense attorneys. For example, it may come down to a "he said, she said," case. In general, such cases may benefit the defense but not always.

Here is a look at some of the reasons that defending a domestic violence charge can be tricky.

The "evidence" can be misleading

Photographs of any injuries and property damage such as a broken chair are one way to document apparent domestic violence. However, there often is no way to ascertain definitively if injuries and property damage were self-inflicted or inflicted by someone other than the accused. For example, someone going through a child custody battle may choose to injure himself or herself in order to retain full custody and blame the injuries on the other parent.

Child witnesses are problematic

There can be issues with child witnesses for many reasons. One is language; a child may lack the proper words to communicate a concept or may use the wrong words to convey it. Adults, not fully understanding this, might simply take a child at his or her word.

Similarly, a child may hear or see something but lack enough experience to know what kind of context to place it in. Thus, a playful slap or a statement or made as a joke could be interpreted as a threat and vice versa.

Child witnesses can also be suggestive and easily coached/led. They may also identify more strongly with one parent or adult, perhaps through alienation of the other parent, and will basically say whatever the favored parent wants them to. There is also the fact that children are more susceptible to hunger, tiredness and the like. Unfortunately, many adults tend to interview them when they need to eat or sleep. The information that results from these interviews may not be reliable.

Emotion is involved

It can be difficult for jurors or even a judge to try a case based on the evidence after hearing words such as "domestic violence" and "abuse." Many people have their own experiences with domestic violence too, and that might color their abilities to impartially decide a case.

It can be difficult for authorities in California to wade through the many complex issues to arrive at the truth in a domestic violence case. The job of a defense attorney is, in part, to advocate for the defendant. That often means presenting a fuller picture of an event than what the prosecution plans to put on. While it can be tricky, it is often riskier for a defendant to do it himself or herself without a lawyer.