Monder Law Group - News
San Diego Domestic Violence
If you are being charged with a San Diego domestic violence charge, the prosecution will attempt to introduce evidence of prior offenses or acts of domestic violence that you have previously committed to prove you committed the current charge. The prosecution has more leeway to introduce this type of evidence in an attempt to sway the jury and demonstrate that if defendant has acted in certain way in the past, they have likely committed the crime they are being charged with. This evidence is known as propensity evidence. Propensity evidence is evidence of a past character trait, act, or previous crime that is used to demonstrate that the defendant likely committed the current charged crime. Prosecution will often bring up evidence of past crime of domestic violence the defendant has committed as a way to prove he more than likely repeated the crime and was acting within that character trait.
The law has set limits on the admissibility of propensity evidence, as the law understands that people do change and it is unfair to hold their past against them. The law understands that sometimes people are placed in wrong situations at the wrong time. It is important to hire an attorney that will fight for your rights and demonstrate to the court that the evidence the prosecution is trying to admit is not determinative. There are some instances where propensity evidence is admissible, which is in domestic violence cases and sex crimes. Evidence Code § 1109 governs admissible propensity evidence in San Diego domestic violence crimes. Evidence Code §1109 subdivision 1109(a) provides that in a criminal action in which the defendant is accused of an offense involving San Diego domestic violence, evidence of the defendant’s commission of other San Diego domestic violence is not inadmissible. This means prosecution can bring up evidence of bad acts or crimes committed in past to show you committed the crime you are charged with.
The prosecution often attempts to admit evidence of defendant’s prior acts or crimes through an exception as tactical methods get the evidence admitted and to sway the jury. The prosecution understands that prior similar acts of a crime are highly persuasive in convincing the jury the defendant committed the current crime. The jury at often time can be easily swayed by propensity evidence or use it in the improper way by giving the evidence more weight than they should.
If you are being charged with a serious crime, it is imperative you hire a skilled criminal defense attorney. Vik Monder is a trained attorney whom recognizes the prosecution’s tactical methods and will object to admitting this prejudicial evidence. If the evidence is admitted in your criminal case, Vik can mitigate the situation by cross-examining the other side to bring light to the fact this evidence is miniscule and not determinative to the situation. Also through cross-examination, Vik will bring light to the reasons these acts or crimes were committed so the jury will understand the circumstances surrounding the past situation. It is also important to hire a skilled attorney that will make sure proper jury instructions are given. If the judge allows this prejudicial evidence to be admitted at trial despite the objections, this can seriously hinder your case. It is imperative that your attorney ensures proper jury instructions are given. The jury must be informed on how to properly use evidence that is admitted and not give weight to evidence made admissible. Jury members can easily use admitted evidence for the wrong purpose, they must be informed that they only use it for a certain purpose and prevent prejudicial interpretation.
Although other acts of domestic violence are admissible, not just any crime can be used and labeled as a crime of domestic violence. Evidence Code section §1109 lays out the definition of what act constitutes as San Diego domestic violence. Evidence of child endangerment, elder abuse, or San Diego domestic violence can be entered. However, an act that is more than 10 years old is not admissible. It is important to get the right criminal defense attorney in San Diego that is trained to recognize and object to the admission prejudicial evidence to get you the right results you deserve.