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This video features Mark L. Deniz Esq., a Criminal Law attorney based in California.
Can you be charged with dissuading or intimidating a witness in a domestic violence case in California?
On the face of it, it's a very uncommon charge. It doesn't get charged a lot unless it's part of a domestic violence situation. And what that could be, dissuading the witness, is in the most common circumstances when someone wants to call the police and the other person grabs the phone and hangs it up and says, let's talk, let's not call the police, don't leave. And they try to diffuse the situation.
Well, what they effectively did was deprive that person of the police contact and the prosecution often will file the charges of dissuading the witness. In the old days, it used to be pulling the phone jack off the wall. But nowadays, what you want to do is explain the situation. And I think if you provide context, in most cases, when they hang up or if there is a situation like that, either you were doing it accidentally, maybe it wasn't even you who hung up the phone, but the police just hear the situation and assume that it was the person, the other party that hung up the phone. In all of these scenarios, you really want to get that investigation findings to the police and you want to do that as soon as possible.
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