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Domestic Violence Cases and "Hearsay"

Posted by Dmitry Gorin | Mar 20, 2007 | 0 Comments

In is a common misconception that the person reporting the domestic violence charges has the right to decide whether or not to press charges. Once the police get involved it is no longer in the complaining party's control. Instead, it is now up to the prosecutor to decide whether or not the case goes to court. Thus, the testimony of your partner or the individual claiming domestic violence can be very important to your case. Where the complaining party does not wish to prosecute, it is important that you retain an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to help you because he/she may be able to speak to the prosecutor to prevent the filing of the case in the first place. However, if the case does get filed and goes to trial, it is important that you encourage your partner or the individual claiming domestic violence to testify in court and give a truthful account of what happened. Otherwise, statements that were made to the police or the 911 operator at the time of the incident are admissible in court. This is an exception to the normal "hearsay" rules governing testimony that is admissible in trial. "Hearsay" refers to any statements that are made outside of the court but are brought into the court as evidence of the alleged claim. California Evidence Code Section 1240 allows for statements made outside of court by the complaining party to be admitted in court as evidence so long as he/she was describing the events that he/she was viewing or experiencing at the time the statement was made. This would include 911 calls made at the time of the incident. California also has a "fresh complaint" hearsay exception which allows any statement to be admitted into court as evidence that is regarding a complaint made by your partner or the person claiming domestic violence. This does not include any responses given to questioning, but it would include the initial statement of complaint made to the police. These statements can be used against you as evidence to the offense that was committed and the person responsible for such offense. However, there are ways around these exceptions which is why it is imperative that you obtain professional legal assistance. Tagged as:

About the Author

Dmitry Gorin

Find me on Google+ Dmitry Gorin is a licensed attorney, who has been involved in criminal trial work and pretrial litigation since 1994. Before becoming partner in Eisner Gorin LLP, Mr. Gorin was a Senior Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles Courts for more than ten years. As a criminal tri...

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