If you are arrested for domestic violence you should not make any statements to the police or anyone else about your case. Tell them you are exercising your right to remain silent and want a lawyer before you talk to them. The police say anything, even tell lies, to trick suspects into making incriminating statements. If the police want to interview you in custody it is unlikely you will be able to talk your way out of jail. Most police officers will arrest you and not put anything that might help you in the police report.

The police can use your statements against you without reading you your Miranda rights. If the police come to your door and start asking you questions your answers are fair game because you aren’t under arrest yet. There are other legal exceptions and loop holes. Proposition 115’s Truth In Evidence law helps the prosecution use illegally gathered evidence.

Always be calm and respectful when dealing with the police. Don’t make any sudden movements. Keep your hands where they can see them. Police know that responding to domestic violence calls can be dangerous and that makes them jumpy. It is a bad idea to talk to the police. The police usually didn’t see incident happen. Their job is to gather evidence to prosecute you. Sometimes they will deliberately ignore evidence that helps your case, even a broken chair your partner tried to hit you with. If you have already given a statement to the police denying any wrongdoing don’t be too discouraged. You may not have hurt your defense.

If you are released from custody before your first court appearance, known as the arraignment, make sure you go to court. If you don’t the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. The more bench warrants a person has on their record the harder it is for them to convince a judge to release them from custody on their own recognizance in the future. If you are uncertain about any date you have to appear in court the clerk’s office in room 101 has a book of future court dates. There is also a book of bench warrants printouts. If you don’t find your name in either book, wait in line to ask a clerk about the status of your case. Defendants are routinely given two mandatory appearance dates after they are arraigned on their first day in court, the pretrial conference date and the trial date.

Defendants often want to know when they are going to get to talk to the judge. Talking to the judge while your case is pending (or when you’re on probation) is generally a bad idea. Talking in court is dangerous because the court reporter is recording everything you say. The D.A. could use anything you say against you at trial using interpretations you never dreamed of. If you are on probation saying the wrong thing can result in the judge putting you in jail. See Invasion of Privacy.


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