Self-Inflicted Injury as Domestic Violence Defense

- Dmitry Gurovich

A former California Highway Patrolman was recently acquitted after jury considered his domestic violence defense that his wife caused her own injuries during an altercation. The case stemmed from a reported incident of an alleged altercation in the parties’ home. The defendant was later charged with felony domestic violence cases.

Defendant’s Testimony

During the trial, the defendant testified that he and his wife had an argument on the day of the reported incident but that he did not choke her or intentionally inflict physical injuries upon her, contrary to statements made by their son. Sometime during the trial, the defendant revealed that their son was not his biological son and that he could only surmise that the young man lied about the alleged abuse because of his mom.

The defendant also said that any wounds that his wife may have suffered during the scuffle were in self defense because the woman was allegedly shoving the defendant at the time.

His wife and her supposed two witnesses refused to testify even after the judge ordered them to answer questions in court. All three were cited in contempt for failing to obey the judge’s order to answer.

Jury Acquittal

Without the testimony of the alleged victim and her eyewitnesses, the jury dismissed the domestic violence charges against the defendant, except for one as the result of their failing to reach a consensus.

Domestic Violence Defenses

The California Penal Code defines domestic violence as the intentional or reckless inflicting of a bodily injury, an attempt to cause physical harm, or a threat to cause another physical harm or injury.

Relationship between the alleged perpetrator and the victim is crucial for the complained behavior to fall under domestic violence. In other words, it is important to establish that the alleged victim is either a:

  • Spouse or former spouse
  • Girlfriend or former girlfriend
  • Someone the defendant is dating or has dated,
  • Cohabitant or a person who is living with or has lived with the defendant.

Relationships go through challenging times when arguments or disagreements can arise. But not all marital or relationship arguments constitute domestic violence. If you are charged with domestic violence, you must speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney before making any admissions or statements regarding the incident.

Your attorney can examine the charges against you and exhaust any legal remedies that are available in your situation, including raising the appropriate domestic violence defenses in your favor.

In California, the law firm of Gurovich, Berk & Associates have extensive experience in domestic violence cases, having obtained favorable outcomes in numerous situations involving clients.

If you are being accused or have been charged with domestic violence, we urge you to call us immediately at (213) 385-1555 to speak to one of our dedicated attorneys about your case.