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What to Do If You're Arrested for Domestic Violence

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has altered the lives of millions of Americans. In California, we're under a stay at home order, where we're not to leave our residences unless it's for essential business, such as buying groceries or going to a doctor's appointment. What this means is that many of us will be interacting with family and household members for hours a day. Unfortunately, such circumstances can lead to increased stress and disagreements. Sadly, the situation might escalate, and we might respond with violence or threats of violence.

In California, when you physically harm or threaten to physically harm a family or household member, you could be arrested for a domestic violence offense. You might never have thought you'd be taken into custody by a police officer. However, in these difficult times, the chances of such an occurrence are greatly increased.

What should you do if you are arrested for domestic violence?

  • Comply with the officer's orders: The accusation that you committed an offense might not be true, or you might not have been the aggressor. You might think that being placed under arrest is unjust. However, it's important to remember not to resist. If you struggle against the responding officer, you could be charged with a misdemeanor. Regardless of whether or not you are innocent of the alleged domestic violence offense, wait until your case begins to prove that your arrest was unlawful.
  • Remain silent: When accused of an offense, you might want to justify your actions or defend yourself to the officer. However, this could result in your providing self-incriminating statements that can be used against you in court. You have a constitutional right to remain silent during any encounters with law enforcement officials. This means that, other than your basic identifying information, you do not have to answer their questions or provide them with any information about the alleged incident. It's crucial that you invoke this right to protect yourself.
  • Contact an attorney: In addition to having the right to remain silent, you have the right to an attorney. This right should be invoked as early on in the process as possible. Even immediately after your arrest, your lawyer can advise you on what you should and shouldn't say. Additionally, the sooner you retain them for your case, the sooner they can start crafting your defense.
  • Refrain from contacting the alleged victim: You might think about speaking with the alleged victim to explain your side of the story. However, contacting them could be a mistake. First, although they might have been the ones to call the cops on you, they are not the ones prosecuting your case. The State handles criminal matters. The alleged victim cannot drop the charges. Second, if you try talking to the alleged victim to prevent them from giving testimony, you could be charged with dissuading or intimidating a witness. Third, the court might have issued a no-contact order or the alleged victim might have taken a restraining order out against you. If you violate either, you could be charged with additional crimes. Even if the alleged victim initiates the contact, it's important that you don't engage with them.
  • Avoid posting on social media: You might turn to social media to let out your frustrations about your arrest, but doing so could be harmful to your case. What you post online is discoverable and can be used against you in court. Refrain from justifying or defending yourself through social media.

If you have been arrested for a domestic violence offense in Bakersfield or the surrounding areas, reach out to Campbell Whitten for the defense you need. During these uncertain times, we are offering phone and video consultations. Call us at (661) 334-3000 or contact us online today.

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