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Prior Bad Acts in Domestic Violence Cases

A new client came in a few months ago. He was charged with felony domestic battery and violating a criminal protective order from a prior misdemeanor DV conviction. The allegations of the new case were pretty serious. In fact, the police reports were so bad that two different judges and the district attorney refused to offer him a misdemeanor settlement.

We set the case for preliminary hearing. Twice the district attorney wasn’t ready to go. One time, I was in trial and now we have the case set for prelim on Tuesday. Friday I got 100 new pages of police reports and a cd from the district attorney.

I was livid to find out that the DA had waited months to turn the stuff over. It appeared to be prior police reports regarding my client and his “victim”, now wife. The DA was going to try and bury my client with prior allegations of domestic violence. Yes, it is true that in a domestic violence case, the district attorney can use prior, uncharged allegations of domestic violence against you in a new, unrelated case.

Then I started reading. Much to my surprise these were mostly reports about our victim being violent toward my client. Our victim had been extremely violent in the past. There were multiple incidents when law enforcement had been called out because our “victim” was the aggressor. And aggressive she was. She was known to use drugs, to carry a knife and to be out and out violent toward my client.

The moral to the story is that not all “prior bad acts” are bad for your client. In this case, the victim is now married to my client. She is planning on testify at the hearing. I have spoken to her about her proposed testimony and she plans to testify truthfully in the preliminary hearing. This means that I will be able to use each and every one of these prior allegations against her to discredit her with respect to the current case. I will turn our “victim” into a knife wielding, aggressive, drug abuser. I’m looking forward to my hearing on Tuesday.

If you or someone close to you has been charged with domestic violence, DUI, or any other crime, call a veteran lawyer who can help.

Call me, attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340 or

Email me at: or visit my sites for more information: or