Domestic violence is taken seriously in California, and you could face multiple charges because of one incident. You need a strong defense to avoid the harshest consequences, which could include incarceration, fines, and more.
Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, is a pattern of behavior that involves the use of physical force or intimidation to control another person. It can include physical, emotional, sexual, and economic abuse.
In California, domestic violence is defined as abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship. Abuse means intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to themselves, or another.
Multiple offenses fall under domestic violence crimes, including:
Domestic violence offenses are typically restricted to domestic or intimate partners. Those include a spouse or former spouse, anyone who lives with or has lived with you, a person engaged or formerly engaged to you, anyone dating or sexually intimate with you, and the parent of your child.
Domestic violence charges often involve other offenses as well. They are often charged simultaneously. Some common accompanying charges include:
Most domestic violence offenses are wobblers, which means they can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the facts of the crime.
Penalties for a misdemeanor can involve up to one year in county jail and informal (summary) probation. Felony offenses can result in time in prison as well as formal probation.
It is also important to understand that domestic violence penalties become more serious if the injury inflicted is considered a great bodily injury.
In addition to incarceration and probation, you may face the following for domestic violence convictions:
You may be concerned about your criminal penalties and the social stigma of domestic violence charges. Folsom domestic violence lawyer Chris Walsh knows how the prosecution develops a case, so he can fight against your charges. He used to be a prosecutor, and now he uses his knowledge to defend the accused.
A good defense can help you get charges reduced or dismissed entirely. Some commonly used domestic violence defenses include:
If you can prove that the other person’s injuries were caused by an accident, then you should not be found guilty of domestic violence. Domestic violence requires intent to harm. If you did not have intent, then you did not commit the crime.
California law allows you to defend yourself and others with force. Thus, if the other person was threatening you or someone else with imminent harm, then you could have legally protected yourself by using force in return.
Many alleged victims of domestic violence falsely accuse others because of anger, jealousy, or revenge. If there is a pending family law case (divorce or custody), then they may be trying to get a leg up in that lawsuit. If you can prove the alleged victim is falsely accusing you, then your case may be dismissed.
Yes, you may be able to pursue a pre-trial diversion program or deferred entry of judgment (DEJ). If you do not have an extensive violent criminal record, you may be able to take the batterer’s program (domestic violence classes) and your charges may be dismissed.
We can help you if someone is seeking a restraining order (called a protective order) against you. We can also help if you’re being accused of violating a protective order. In these situations, your civil rights are being restricted because you cannot travel freely. It’s in your best interest to fight a protective order and try to get it removed.
Many people who are convicted of domestic violence struggle to maintain custody of their children. However, they are still often able to get visitation rights. It should be noted that a conviction is not required for a family law judge to determine there was domestic violence in the home and consider it when deciding custody issues.
A domestic violence conviction can affect your life as well as that of your entire family. Our Folsom domestic violence lawyers at Walsh Law know what you’re facing. We can help you fight against false accusations and protect your reputation. Reach out to our domestic violence defense law firm so we can get started on your case.