Experienced Domestic Violence Attorney Contact Us Today to Move Forward with Your Case

Domestic Violence Arrest

If you have been arrested, questioned or interrogated regarding an incident in which you, a spouse, partner or person with whom you presently share or previously shared a special relationship, please read the material contained in this website pertaining to California domestic violence cases and consider calling a qualified California domestic violence criminal defense lawyer to help you.

California domestic violence criminal cases are extremely serious.

The police, sheriff's department or other law enforcement agency takes reports of violence between a couple seriously and present the reports they are required to prepare as part of their domestic violence investigations to California prosecutors and county district attorneys who almost always charge a criminal domestic battery case or criminal assault case in a California Superior Court in the county where the incident is alleged to have occurred.

Domestic Violence 911 Calls

Most domestic violence cases involving the report of family violence between a couple originate with a 911 call from the person who is alleging an assault, battery or stalking incident. The 911 call is always tape recorded. The complaining witness knows they have an open telephone call to the police, while the person who may be subsequently arrested and accused of domestic battery probably does not know that a telephone call has been made to the police.

The recording of the 911 call will typically be played in court before the jury to prejudice the person accused of violence in the home. The 911 call may also be played to a California Superior Court Judge who may make a decision about whether to issue a protective order, such as a domestic violence restraining order.

The police will come to the address of the call if the 911 call is not completed, or if either the person who called hung up or another person hangs up the phone. The police will also come to the home if one or both of the person's involved try to cancel the police resonse. Law enforcement agencies have a particular protocol for handling 911 calls which are not completed which they call a well being check.

Domestic Violence Investigations

When the police arrive at the scene of a report of a domestic violence incident, they are required to conduct an investigation and will want to interview the people involved and witnesses separately. Typically, more than one officer will arrive and each officer will interview one of the parties in a separate room. If the area is small, the officers will position the people involved as far apart as practical with their backs to each other. This is done so that the officers take each person's focus off of the other involved party and allow the officers to see each other for officer safety reasons.

After each of the individuals involved is interviewed, the officer will conference and decide what they will do in the incident. Typically, one officer is designated as the investigating officer who will write the main report. Sometimes this is because the officer was assigned to handle the incident by the dispatcher, the geographic area is the responsibility of that officer, it is that officer's turn to write the report if the officers arrived in the same car, or one officer is a better writer than the other and usually writes the reports.

Domestic Violence Crime Scenes

If serious injuries are involved, blood is present, furniture is damaged or in disaray, the police may have the area processed as a crime scene. Domestic violence crime scenes may be processed by designated crime scene investigators, police photographers, supervisors, investigators (detectives or inspectors). Typically, processing a crime scene where a domestic violence incident has occurred involves photographing the crime scene, collecting evidence, measuring distances, and sketching the area.

Some evidence of a domestic violence incident is too large for police agencies to retain or collect, such as furniture or carpet and it will be photographed. Other evidence such as a torn telephone cord or torn item of clothing may be collected for later presentation in court proceedings such as a Hearing or a Trial. If blood or other bodily fluids is present on an item, special handling problems are presented for law enforcement and will be conspicously marked as biohazardous.

Photographing Domestic Violence Injuries

Police will typically ask whether either person involved in a domestic violence incident is in need of medical attention. The presence and absence of injuries stemming from a domestic violence incident in the home will be documented on special report forms and by photograph. If a person arrested for domestic battery has sustained injuries and the police have not taken photographs, they should be documented and photographed. Phtographs of injuries sustained in a domestic violence case should be taken every day for a week or more because bruising may become more pronounced over time.

Failure to photograph injuries of the person arrested may be done deliberately or negligently by law enforcement officers and will result in a one sided presentation. Some injuries are defensive injuries, while other injuries may be characterized as offensive injuries. Typical offensive injuries which could establish a person was the primary aggressor are to the hands and knuckle area. Penal Code Section 1054 requires that a lawyer who represents a person charged with domestic violence share evidence with the prosecutor just like the prosecutor is required to share all evidence they have with the defense.

Statements of Domestic Violence Incidents

Police will typically request written statements from those involved in a domestic violence incident, paraphrase and summarize the statements in police reports and tape record statements made by the person reporting they were the victim of domestic abuse and the person they suspect was the perpetrator of a domestic assault or battery. The police will typically tape record the statements of any witnesses to a domestic violence incident. These recorded statements will be provided to the prosecuting attorney (usually a county district attorney) along with the police reports.

Emergency Protective Order

An Emergency Protective Order (EPO) will be offered to the reportee of a domestic battery, domestic assault, or a stalking incident. An Emergency Protective Order is an order sought by the police and issued by a judicial officer (Superior Court Judge or Superior Court Commissioner) regardless of the time of day which prohibits a person from contacting the person who is determined by the police to be the victim of domestic violence. The person who reported the domestic violence incident will be called the protected person.

If the person against whom the Emergency Protective Order is issued will be subject to a new arrest and proscution if they violate any term of the Order. The Emergency Protective Order is intended to bridge the time between the date of the incident and the first court date (called the Arraignment) where a different personal conduct order will almost always be issued. The personal conduct order issued at the Arraignment of a person accused of domestic violence is called a Stay Away Order. The Stay Away Order may last through the entirety of the case and through the court's jurisdiction which will extend through the end of probation if the person arrested and accused of domestic violence is convicted of any domestic violence related offense.

Peaceful Contact Order

Sometimes, the person who has reported a domestic violence incident is interested in maintaining a relationship with the person who they have accused of domestic abuse. In these cases, the protected person, who will be characterized as the victim by the district attorney, may request peaceful contact with the person who has been arrested and now has a domestic violence case pending. The protected person must personally request a peaceful contact order from the court. Many attorneys are not familiar with this process. For this reason, it is important to have the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in domestic abuse cases.

No Harassment Order

A No Harassment Order will typically be issued in a case with domestic abuse or stalking undertones where the protected person doesn't wish any communication from the person who has been accused. This Order may be issued by a court where the case has originally been filed as a criminal case or in a separate civil case in another court where a separate application has been made by the person seeking to control the conduct of the person who has been accused of stalking or harassing behavior.

Domestic Violence Prosecutions

After the domestic violence reports are reviewed by the district attorney or other prosecutor, a legal document called the Complaint is prepared and the criminal case is charged in the Superior Court. The person who has been arrested or investigated will be required to appear in court to answer the domestic battery charges. The first appearance is called the Arraignment.

At the Arraignment, the person who has been charged with a domestic battery or domestic assault or therrorist threats will be required personally appear with their attorney. If the person charged does not have an attorney, they will be given time to obtain an attorney or if they are low income will be referred to the county public defender's office or other court appointed lawyer. Public defenders and court appointed attorneys handling domestic violence cases are the safety net for the poor and typically handle a large number of all types of criminal cases. They are not necessarily specialists in handling domestic assault and battery cases and may not be authorized to handle or advise a client on the other cases which an arrest for domestic violence typically generates.

A person arrested for domestic violence may also have to respond to an application for a domestic violence restraining order in a civil or family law court. The legal issues will be different than those in the domestic violence criminal case. Additionally, improper response to the request for a domestic violence restraining order may implicate a person's Fifth Amendment right to be free from self incrimination guaranteed by the United States Constitution. For this reason, and for many more, it is critical for a person charged with domestic violence or a violent incident against a present or former spouse, partner, girlfriend or boyfriend to be represented by an attorney experienced in handling domestic violence criminal cases and domestic violence restraining order cases.

If you are arrested for domestic violence you should not make any statements to the police or anyone else regarding your case. Tell the police that you are exercising your right to remain silent and want a lawyer before you talk to them. The police may say anything, even tell lies, to trick a person into making incriminating statements. If the police want to interview you in custody it is unlikely you will be able to talk your way out of jail. Many police officers will arrest a person and not put anything that might helpful in the police report.

The police can use your out of custody statements against you without reading you your Miranda rights. If the police come to your door and start asking you questions your answers are fair game because you aren’t under arrest yet. There are other legal exceptions and loopholes. Proposition 115’s Truth In Evidence law helps the prosecution use illegally gathered evidence and denies a person the basic right to confront the accuser.

Always be calm and respectful when dealing with the police. Don’t make any sudden movements. Keep your hands where they can be seen. Police know that responding to domestic violence calls can be dangerous and that makes them nervous. It is a bad idea to talk to the police. The police usually didn’t see incident happen. Their job is to gather evidence to prosecute the person they believe committed a crime. Sometimes they will deliberately ignore evidence that helps your case, even a broken chair your partner tried to hit you with. If you have already given a statement to the police denying any wrongdoing don’t be too discouraged. You may not have hurt your defense.

If you are released from custody before your first court appearance, known as the Arraignment, make sure you go to court. If you don’t the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. The more bench warrants a person has on their record the harder it is for them to convince a judge to release them from custody on their promise to appear (own recognizance) in the future. If you are uncertain about any date you have to appear in court the clerk’s office in room 101 has a book of future court dates. There is also a book of bench warrants printouts. If you don’t find your name in either book, wait in line to ask a clerk about the status of your case. Defendants are routinely given two mandatory appearance dates after they are arraigned on their first day in court, the pretrial conference date and the trial date.

Defendants often want to know when they are going to get to talk to the judge. Talking to the judge while your case is pending (or when you’re on probation) is almost always a bad idea. Talking in court is dangerous because the court reporter is recording everything you say. The District Attorney could use anything you say against you at trial using interpretations you never dreamed of. If you are on probation saying the wrong thing can result in the judge putting you in jail. See Invasion of Privacy.

Experienced Domestic Violence Lawyer

The stakes are high in a California domestic violence case. A criminal conviction for domestic battery or criminal threats in California may result in jail, large fines, mandatory domestic violence counseling sessions which meet two (2) hours weekly for a minimum of one year, mandatory alcohol education classes, personal conduct orders, stay away orders, temporary restraining orders, and other punishment as provided by Penal Code section 1203.097. For that reason, it is critical that that a person charged with domestic assault, domestic battery, criminal threats or stalking have only a qualified domestic violence defense lawyer to handle the case from the earliest possible moment.

Robert Tayac is recognized as being among the top domestic violence lawyers in California and represents clients in criminal cases related to domestic violence, assault and battery, and applications for and responses to restraining orders. Attorneys, investigators and experts working with this highly specialized law office represent clients in the Northern California criminal courts located in San Francisco, San Mateo Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Sonoma and Napa counties.

Additionally, lawyers of this law firm represent clients seeking or defending against temporary restraining orders and no harassment orders before the superior courts of San Francisco, San Rafael, Redwood City, South San Francisco, Napa, Oakland, Palo Alto, Walnut Creek, San Jose and Santa Rosa. The firm accepts only California domestic battery cases, California temporary restraining order actions or California driving under the influence cases.

Contact The Office

An arrest for domestic battery, domestic assault, criminal threats or stalking in California may result in actual jail, large fines, mandatory 52-week batterer's treatment program, mandatory alcohol education classes, and other punishment. For that reason, it is important that you have only a qualified California criminal defense lawyer handling your domestic violence case from the beginning.

If you or someone you know has been or may be accused of domestic violence, we invite you to read the information contained in this website and welcome you to call our office and discuss your case with a domestic violence lawyer. If you prefer, you may submit a confidential case questionnaire which will be reviewed by a member of our firm and receive a prompt response.

If you hire Robert Tayac to handle your domestic violence case, you will know your case is being properly handled by a knowledgeable, experienced, and trustworthy California criminal defense lawyer.

Office Locations and Areas We Serve

Mr. Tayac represents clients who have been arrested in the following counties as well as other cities throughout California and can meet clients at one of several office locations in Northern California.


This website is about California’s domestic violence laws and the San Francisco and Bay Area courts. Domestic violence cases in California frequently must be fought. Many people arrested for domestic violence are innocent. A person doesn't have to commit a crime to be taken to jail by the police, especially in domestic abuse cases.

Why Choose Our Firm?

Attorney Robert Tayac Puts a Long, Decorated Career to Work for You
  • Puts Over 20 Years of Experience Toward Your Case

  • Has Trained Other Attorneys in San Francisco

  • Former San Francisco Police Officer & Police Inspector

  • Boasts a Successful Record Achieving the Best Result for His Clients

Contact Us Today

Your Strong Defense Starts with a Case Evaluation
  • Please enter your name.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.