I'm being charged for battery but I was the battered wife!

Asked almost 4 years ago - Burbank, CA

My husband was a neglectful father, possessive, controlling, verbally and sexually abusive. If I did not engage in sexual activities with him, I had to deal with verbal abuse (wh0re/good-for-nothing/useless) or some kind of consequence. He knows how much I'll be hurt if the boys are taken from me so he uses them against me. He's been physically abusive as well but recently only been verbally and sexually abusive. I finally separated from him. Bitter from the breakup, he started an argument a few week ago. Again, he was verbally abusive, calling me names and threatening he'll take our boys from me, get me for child support and alimony. I hit him and he filed a complaint. Now I have a court date March 30th. I'm really sad and worried. He told me he's going to use this to get the boys.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. 3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I'm not sure if there is a question here but your facts do not show whether you ever filed a police report regarding his conduct prior to the incident where you hit him. You describe an extensive pattern of abuse. Did you inform anyone of this? Verbal abuse doesn't amount to much under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act.

    The facts do however indicate you got into an argument you you hit him. He filed a police report and since the only facts before them are you hit him, that's all they have to go with. I would strongly recommend you speak with an attorney immediately and discuss all of your options regarding your case as quite frankly you should be concerned that the only evidence there appears to be is that you hit him. That could provide enough grounds for a restraining order and the remedy would also mean he could have temporary legal and physical custody of the children and have you see the children in a supervised facility.

    Speak to an attorney in your area as soon as possible.

    This is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  2. 3

    Lawyers agree

    3

    Answered . I'm not licensed in California, but this forum seems to be a free for all, so i'll just note that I have extensive experience defending crimes, and DV cases seem to be a point of emphasis, in my community north of Seattle especially. Additionally, there are lawyers who are truly dedicated to aggressive defense of criminal clients. I believe strongly that in any legal community with more than a handful of lawyers, lawyers should specialize in a specific field. As a lawyer who has dedicated his career to every aspect of excellence in criminal defense I resent lawyers who "dabble" in a field they are not completely familiar with. I often refer cases in which I am capable of handling the crime alleged, but clients facing a criminal conviction, and all the ramifications that can follow. There are two types of Criminal Lawyers. Those that accept the case starting with the assumption the case will go to trial. That is my approach. The sheer number of criminal cases filed in any given court makes it necessary for prosecutors to be selective in the cases they choose for aggressive prosecution, repeat DUI offenders, DV cases involving men like your husband. And generally speaking, most prosecutors do not want to ask a jury to convict a woman of assaulting her husband. The other type of "criminal lawyers" avoid litigation, expecting a plea bargain. You need to find a lawyer who has to experience and the attitude that you are the victim and if the prosecutor handling your case is not willing to listen to the broader picture, than fine. Good luck finding six jurors who are willing to convict this poor woman. You may be in a position to assert self-defense, even if "you hit him". Start by enlisting the support of any friends or family who have witnessed your husbands' controlling behavior, especially any thing physical. Even a raised hand or a verbal threat to hurt you could be admissible to show you hit him because you had a reaonable fear he was going to assault you. Whether the evidence would be admitted or not is academic unless there is a trial. Most prosecutors became prosecutors to protect women like you. A skilled lawyer will make it clear that if getting a conviction is more important than protecting the true victim of the abuse, the prosecutor will have to do what we defense lawyers usually do, try to immunize your abusive husband from the truth about how he treats you. A skilled defense lawyer will make the prosecutor see that the controller is using the system to further his abuse. I find my right to an interview of the "victim" often shows his true colors. First, he may not want to cooperate with the interview, at which point the prosecutor will have cause to dismiss. You were brave to leave him. Sexual abuse, is sexual abuse, whether you are married to the abuser or not it is not defense to a sexual act you are forced to commit against your will, it is Rape, plain and simple. And with most men who manifest these issues it has more to do with control and power than it does to do with sex. You were brave before, now you need to insist on pushing this case to a dismissal. If you have any resources you should hire a skilled local lawyer who specializes in criminal defense, often someone who started their career out of law school who worked as prosecutors or as public defenders because they get extensive trial experience. It is silly to ask an experienced criminal defense lawyer how many cases she has "won", the pertinent question is does the lawyer have the experience and comfort with taking a case to trial. In my 14+ years doing defense work, I prefer female DV defendants to any other because ultimately a jury is a group of people with an innate sense of what is really going on. If they get any inkling of the dynamic of your relationship, they will find reasonable doubt. I'm confident it won't get that far. I've represented plenty of men like your husband when he is not controlling you, his cowardice will show.

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