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How can I use self-defense in a domestic violence misdemeanor case?

Sunnyvale, CA |

My wife and I had an argument one night when she bumped into me angrily. I pushed her back to stop the physical contact and walked away. Next morning, we argued again but with no physical contact. After I went to work, she called police and showed them a barely visible abrasion on her arm claiming that it was caused by that brief contact the night before, and I was the one to blame. I was arrested and charged with domestic violence battery misdemeanor. There was also a restraining order issued against me. There was no other eye witness at the time when it happened. Will I, or a competent criminal defense attorney, be able to tell the jury the truth and use self-defense to win the case? What are other defenses I can use?

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Attorney answers 4


Self defense is available. You need an aggressive criminal defense attorney that can defend these charges. Domestic Violence charges are difficult for the DA to prove SOMETIMES. If the other party has been aggressive in the past is a good thing for you. Hopefully there is not prior reports of DV with this same person because that would come in against you in trial.

The fact is speak to an attorney and refrain from posting any facts about your case online.

The above information does not establish an attorney client relationship nor is it meant to provide legal advice.


Yes, this is a classic description of self-defense and you should be able to prevail at trial, with a thoroughly prepared defense. You need a good trial attorney to carefully help you present your story to the jury. That is the defense you will be relying on at trial, assuming that the case cannot be dismissed at an earlier juncture. I handle domestic violence cases in Santa Clara County and would be happy to discuss your case with you. Feel free to contact me. It's not a good idea to reveal any more facts on an public online forum, because prosecutors also check these forums and can use your statements against you. Don't talk to anyone but your lawyer about the facts of your case. Good luck to you.

Richard H Wilson

Richard H Wilson


You should also talk to a family law attorney, because in the family law court the allegation of domestic violence can have repercussions and the standard of proof is lower than criminal court. Good luck.


You need a lawyer. If this is a criminal case and you cannot afford a lawyer one might be appointed for you free of charge. Ask for that. You do have defenses to this charge.

Marshall Waller may be reached at 800-655-4766 or by email at: Follow him on Twitter: @feinbergwaller. Responses to questions posted by Mr. Waller on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and the response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue as it pertains to your particular situation you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.


contact me as I handle domestic violence cases.

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