Long Beach, Dismissal of Domestic Violence Charges

Our client, age 36 and with no prior criminal history, was cited by and arrested by police for misdemeanor domestic violence to his wife.   There were two counts against him, a violation of Penal Code § 273.5 (a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor) and a violation of Penal Code § 243.1(e) (battery upon a spouse).

Bail was set at $50,000, which our client post through a bail bond company, paying roughly eight percent of the total bail with a promise to appear in court as ordered later.
Without All the Details, What Happened?:  Long Beach, Wife Claims Our Client Hit Her, Dismissal of Domestic Violence Charges.
The wife had called the Long Beach Police Department after the two had a very minor physical altercation, wherein she alleged he pushed her back against a wall.  The wife had no visible injuries.  Our client, in contrast, had a scratch across his face from his wife’s fingernail, which had caused him to bleed slightly at the time.

The Long Beach Police Department came to the home, spoke to the wife and then arrested our client.  While they were at the scene, they attempted to persuade the wife to retract her report, as they could see the very minor nature of the dispute.  As they arrested our client, they apologized profusely, explaining that they really had no choice once a victim makes such a report.  Our client was cooperative and calm throughout.

The Long Beach Deputy City Prosecutor then charged our client with three misdemeanors: 1) Penal Code Section 273.5(a), corporal injury to a spouse; 2) Penal Code Section 243(e)(1), battery upon a co-habitant; and 3) Penal Code Section 242, simple battery.

It merits mention that it is not improper or illegal for a prosecutor to file a complaint with charges that are more than what the police cite someone for or what the police write down as the basis for their arrest.  The prosecutor is free to add or drop charges from what the police recommend.

Our office was retained within two days of the arrest and immediately contacted the investigating detective at the Long Beach Police Department, as well as the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s office.  We spoke with the City Prosecutor, explaining at length the context of the minor fight, our client’s otherwise unblemished criminal history and, perhaps most importantly, the investigating officers’ reluctance to arrest our client.
 
The Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Officer regarded the case as extremely serious at first, lecturing us about how O.J. Simpson’s first domestic violence arrest was dismissed, only to be followed by the violent, bloody death of Nicole Simpson.  The prosecutor did not want to set herself up for another type of case by dismissing this case. 

However, after discussing the case facts a little more, they began to back off their views that our client was potentially the next O.J.

Our office then appeared at the arraignment and we were told the City Prosecutor’s Office had not made a decision yet on moving forward.  This was unusual, but it has happened before.

About two weeks after the arraignment, however, our client received a letter from the City Prosecutor’s office advising that they had decided to dismiss the case.

For more information about what one can do if a case is dismissed, click on the following articles:
  1. How Do I Have My Arrest Record Sealed and Destroyed?
  2. What Can I Do About My Criminal Record on the Internet When The Court Dismissed My Case?
  3. Fingerprint Records Must be Destroyed if the Court Grants a Petition for Factual Innocence (Penal Code § 851.8)
Watch our Video about Domestic Violence by clicking here.

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