We are sensitive to our clients’ concerns about privacy and confidentiality. I do not disclose information about our cases, or even the names of our clients, without their permission. When appropriate, we request that sensitive documents be sealed and that the press be excluded from the courtroom.We handle all misdemeanors and felonies.
What is [Alleged] Domestic Violence?
A. So-called "domestic violence" has a broad definition in California. It may consist of the slightest unwanted physical contact, even when no injury results.
B. When injury results, the charge alleges "corporal injury" upon a spouse [or other intimate partner [or former partner].
C. Be aware that in California, a conviction of any crime against a family member requires the completion of a year-long batterer's treatment program, even if no battery actually occurred.
D. If convicted, and usually upon being charged, the Court will impose restraining orders and result in loss of certain rights, including the right to bear arms for ten years. Other serious consequences, such as jail time and fines, also may apply.
However, depending on the circumstances, you may have valid legal defenses. Regardless of the circumstances, you need an experienced advocate to achieve the best possible result.
If a 911 call is made regarding a domestic disturbance, there is a very good chance that someone will be arrested and charged with a domestic violence offense. California law requires law enforcement officers responding to a call for even the most minor incident of domestic violence to arrest the person who they deem to be the dominant aggressor. (Penal Code section 13701.)
If there is any evidence of injury, even the smallest red mark, the party arrested could be charged with a felony under California Penal Code section 273.5. Other charges that may apply to a domestic violence allegation include criminal threats (Penal Code section 422), spousal battery (Penal Code sections 242/243(e)), assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury (Penal Code section 245), vandalism (Penal Code section 594), damaging a telephone line (Penal Code section 591.5), or violation of a domestic violence restraining order. (Penal Code section 273.6.) Criminal charges may be filed even if the alleged victim says he or she started the fight, was not hurt, and does not want to press charges. You may be required to post a large bail amount to be released from jail pending trial.
A conviction for an offense involving domestic violence often triggers serious collateral consequences. A non-citizen convicted of a domestic violence offense may face deportation, regardless of how long he or she has lived in the United States. Domestic violence prosecutions also have serious repercussions for child custody disputes. Under California law, a parent convicted of an offense involving domestic violence is presumed to be unfit for sole or joint physical or legal custody of a child. (Family Code section 3044.) A conviction of even a misdemeanor involving domestic violence will subject a person to a ten year ban on firearm ownership under California law (Penal Code section 12021) and a lifelong ban under federal law. (18 U.S.C. section 922(g).)
Consequences Of A Domestic Violence Conviction:
The consequences of a domestic violence conviction can last a lifetime. These crimes carry heavy fines, mandatory classes that last a year, and jail and prison sentences, and they are defined as crimes of moral turpitude. Moreover, some of them can be “strike” offenses for purposes of the Three Strikes Law. Domestic Violence crimes also can have grave immigration consequences and can lead to deportation from the United States. Many times, when children are involved, a conviction of a Domestic Violence crime can even mean losing custody of your kids.
The Charges Cannot Be Dropped:
There is the misconception that a spouse/partner/girlfriend/etc can “drop” the charges after he or she has called the police and you have been arrested. They can't. The District Attorney’s office will not drop the charges in a Domestic Violence case simply because a week or a month later the supposed Domestic Violence “victim” wants to drop the charges. The decision to file or not to file a case is in the sole discretion of the D.A.'s Office in your County.