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5 defenses against domestic violence charges in California

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2022 | Domestic Violence |

Domestic violence charges in California can have serious consequences, including jail time and having to live with a criminal record. In many cases, however, there are viable defenses you can use to have the court drop, reduce or change the type of charge.


You can argue that you only used force to protect yourself from harm. You will likely require witnesses who saw the incident and can testify about who the aggressor was to use this defense.

There are also circumstances where you could claim “defense of others.” For example, if you intervened to protect a child or another family member from an abusive situation, this may be a valid defense.


In some cases, it may be possible to show that the victim provoked you into using force against them. This is only likely to be successful if the victim was physically hostile towards you first and you used a reasonable amount of force in response.

Mistaken identity

If you were not the person who committed the act of domestic violence, you have a complete defense to the charges. To prove this is in court, you may need an alibi or video footage placing you somewhere else at the time of the incident.

False accusations

It is not uncommon for people to falsely accuse others of domestic violence in the heat of an argument or as a way to get revenge, especially during divorce or child custody cases. If you have evidence that the allegations against you are false, this can make a good defense in court.


In some cases, the victim may have consented to the use of force. This is most likely to come up in sexual activities where participants have agreed to engage in rough play. It is important to note that the victim can withdraw consent at any time, so even if they initially consented, they can still press charges if they change their mind later.

If the court finds that you did commit domestic violence, but one of these defenses applies to your case, they may reduce the charges against you. They may also dismiss the charges entirely if there is clear evidence that you were not the aggressor or if the victim has admitted to making false accusations.