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Why Are Domestic Violence Cases Difficult to Dismiss?

January 8, 2018

Fred Thiagarajah

I’m Fred Thiagarajah.  I’m a former domestic violence prosecutor who has been practicing criminal law since 2000 and I’d like to give you a background about why domestic violence cases are taken so seriously in California.  First, I’m going to tell you why the police will almost always arrest someone if they suspect domestic violence.  Second, I’m going to tell you why the DA will almost never listen to the victim.

It all started with OJ Simpson.  Before the OJ trial, domestic violence cases were not taken very seriously by the police.  The police often treated domestic violence like a matter that had to be resolved between the couple.  Nicole Simpson had called the police many times to report domestic violence but OJ was almost never arrested.  However, when OJ was tried for murder against his wife, the public perception shifted against the police for not doing their job earlier.  Maybe if they had arrested OJ after the first time his wife called the police, he may not have ended up killing her.

The pendulum has swung the other way.  The police used to be too easy when handling DV cases.  Now, the police are too hard.  Any report of domestic violence will result in an arrest, even if there is no injury.  This leads to the second issue.  In many domestic violence cases, the victim will ask that charges not be filed, and they will try to retract their statement.  However, the DA’s office will rarely listen to the victim and keep prosecuting the case, even if the victim doesn’t want to press charges.  Why is this?

The reality is that some domestic violence really goes on this world.  Some people really are hurting their significant others.  Unfortunately, victims of domestic violence are often controlled by their abusers and will often recant their statements and try to protect the person abusing them.  So when a real victim of domestic violence changes their story, the DA will believe that the victim was abused but is now trying to protect their abuser.  The problem is that some people are falsely accused and the person making the accusation will then try to make things right by retracting their statement.  However, the DA can’t tell the difference between a real victim, who was really abused, and a fake victim, who made a false accusation.  So the DA’s office treats all victims like their real victims and assumes that anybody who changes their testimony is simply trying to protect their abuser.  Needless to say, this makes things very difficult for someone who has been falsely accused of domestic violence.

This is why it’s important to have an attorney who has been trained to understand how prosecutors approach domestic violence cases.  All of the attorneys at this firm are former prosecutors and public defenders.  Each of us have had extensive training and experience in defending domestic violence cases.  If you need a domestic violence lawyer, then either you or someone else made the wrong choice to put you in this situation.  Now its time to Make the Right Choice.  Call our office today for a free consultation or visit us at


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