By: Mark Diaz
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Galveston Criminal Attorney Discusses Texas Domestic Violence Charges
How Can I Prove My Innocence On A Domestic Violence Charge?
When you’re accused of a crime, you have nothing to prove as an accused. The state has the burden of proof in all criminal cases, it’s the state’s obligation to present evidence that a jury would use to enter a finding of guilt. In a domestic violence case, it is the state of Texas versus the accused. In a domestic violence case, the victim will be the primary witness for the state of Texas.
The gentleman that asked me this question, to begin with, was alone in an apartment with his wife, and she accused him of domestic violence. The neighbors heard screaming, but there were no actual witnesses. It was a neighbor that called the police to the scene. His question was, how can I prove my innocence?
There is no burden of an accused party to prove his or her innocence. His situation is what we call he said, she said. This was a potential new case, the man was calling me because he had been accused, and needed representation. I have not seen any evidence, but I went through it with him and explained that the officers likely had body cams on when they were interviewing her.
If she is claiming any physical injury, the officers would have it on bodycam and would likely have taken pictures of any supposed injuries. In other words, the officers are trying to collect enough evidence for the state of Texas to initiate a prosecution.
I can’t comment on the evidence I have not seen. However, if someone claims that you hit them in the face, there’s going to be some indicator, it’s going to be red, it’s going to start bruising, it’s going to start swelling. The other important thing is when the officers are wearing body cams, we look at the person’s demeanor, are they scared, are they hysterical, or are they just flat?
These are some of the things that we go through in analysis to try and determine how we’re going to proceed on domestic violence cases. Because the accuser is going to be the primary witness for the state of Texas, we would have the opportunity to cross-examine that person and ask all these questions.
For example, we might ask; You said he hit you, under your left eye, why don’t we see any bruising? Why don’t we see any swelling of the eye? Why don’t we see any redness? If you were so scared and so hurt, why aren’t you showing any emotion when you’re being interviewed?
All these types of things go into analysis. Here in my office, we had a case where a gentleman was accused of assault and the woman called the police later on after the incident had occurred. She walked away from the situation at first.
The odd thing was, and my client had alcohol in his system which was obvious in the video. So when we finally got the body cam, there were two critical things worth noting. One was that she told the officers he didn’t hit her. Then the next thing that was critical on the body cam was that the officer was trying to defuse the situation, and she says “Oh it’s okay I’m not afraid of him. If he keeps acting like this, I can just sleep on the couch or something, I just won’t sleep with him.”
So obviously, we were able to get that case dismissed.
The bottom line is that there is no duty that you have, as the accused, to prove your innocence. The burden of proof never shifts to the defense. It stays on the state through the entire trial and the entire proceeding.
If you have been charged with domestic violence or even falsely charged or accused of domestic violence contact Mark Diaz & Associates so one of our Galveston County domestic violence lawyers can assist you.