• By: Darryl Stallworth, Esq.
  • Published: September 29, 2022

Everyone with any family at all knows they can be both a blessing and a curse. If everyone is getting along at a family gathering, life is good. If temperatures rise and someone ends up getting hurt, a family member could end up convicted and incarcerated.

As a criminal defense attorney, I have seen families rise and fall on the heels of a domestic violence charge. I have watched lives exonerated and ruined, but mostly, I have wanted to help. If a family gathering escalated to violence in Oakland, California, or in Alameda County, Northern California, San Francisco, or throughout the Bay Area, Darryl A. Stallworth Law Office can help.

How Do Family Gatherings Turn Violent?

Most family gatherings involve food, drinks, and lively discussions. They occur to celebrate someone’s life, marriage, babies, graduations, new jobs or retirements, holidays, and sporting events. Holidays, in particular, can be stressful for family members. Add a little alcohol, family feuds, jealousy, and one-upmanship, and you have a recipe for violence. Cooler heads don’t always prevail when judgment is clouded by substances and emotions.

The type of violence may range from heated arguments to throwing things to shoving to punches thrown, even to weapons waved and weapons used. Things can get out of hand quickly. At family gatherings, if frightened victims or witnesses call law enforcement, someone may end up being handcuffed and taken to jail. If charged, it will likely be one for domestic violence, and those can be more serious than the same charge for violence against someone you aren’t related to.

What Is Domestic Violence?

California’s statutory definition of domestic violence includes physical violence against people with whom you share a certain relationship now or in the past. The violence must be intentional or reckless, but no one has to be actually injured. A clear and viable threat will suffice.

Relationships considered “domestic” include people you have been intimate or romantic with currently or in the past, such as a spouse or ex-spouse, fiancé(e), partner, boyfriend or girlfriend, or someone with whom you share a child. They also include those related to you by blood or affinity, including parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, stepchildren, and in-laws.

What Happens If A Report Is Filed?

Once the police file a report of domestic assault or domestic violence, the fate of the accused is out of the hands of the victim. What that means is that the victim of an alleged domestic violence incident does not hold the power to have the perpetrator charged and prosecuted or not. Recanting testimony and asking that charges be dropped will not make a difference if the prosecuting attorney believes they have sufficient evidence to get a conviction.

The fact that the prosecution holds all the cards does not mean all is lost. If you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney right away, your attorney will be able to intervene. I would review the evidence, discuss it with the prosecuting attorney, and work toward having no charges filed, less serious and non-domestic violence charges filed, or having any charges that may have already been filed dropped. If the prosecution refuses, I will work tirelessly to fiercely defend you against the charges to avoid or mitigate a conviction.

As you can see, early intervention is the best opportunity you have to end up without a domestic violence charge or conviction. As a former prosecuting attorney, I know what I would do to get a conviction. I use my past experience to help the clients I now defend.

Get Legal Direction With Compassion

Family violence can result in some of the harshest conviction penalties and some of the most damaging long-term outcomes. I don’t want to see your life ruined by one family gathering that may have gotten out of hand. Regardless of whether you are innocent or guilty of allegations of domestic violence, I will do everything in my power to defend you

If you are or may be facing charges, call Darryl A. Stallworth Law Office in Oakland, California, right away. In cases of domestic violence, timing is everything.

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