Domestic violence charges in California include several different crimes and carry harsh penalties for convicted people. If you have been accused of domestic violence, an Anaheim criminal defense attorney can help you develop a defense strategy that may minimize or even eliminate the consequences you face.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence in California?
California Penal Code 13700 defines domestic violence as abuse committed against an adult or minor who is a spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, or a person with whom the suspect shares a child or has been in a dating relationship. Abuse is defined as intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to another or issuing threats and intimidation that lead the victim to believe that they are at risk of physical injury.
In addition to the individual who has been abused by a current or former spouse, domestic partner, or dating partner, the children of the victim or the defendant can be considered victims of domestic violence, and other family members of the partners involved in the intimate relationship.
Crimes that Are Considered Domestic Violence
California has several crimes that are considered domestic violence, including these charges:
- Corporal injury to a spouse or inhabitant
- Domestic battery
- Child abuse, endangerment, or neglect
- Elder abuse
- Criminal threats
- Aggravated trespass
- Cyber harassment, including “revenge porn” as well as posting harmful information about someone on the internet
For a free legal consultation with a domestic violence lawyer serving Anaheim, call (310) 896-2723
Potential Consequences of Being Convicted of Domestic Violence in Anaheim
Most domestic violence charges can either be felonies or misdemeanors, depending on factors such as the severity of the offense, the seriousness of the injuries that were incurred as a result of the abuse, and whether the defendant has a criminal history, particularly if they have previously been convicted of domestic violence offenses. While several crimes fall under the umbrella of domestic violence and carry different penalties, here is a look at the potential consequences of the charge.
In addition to paying court costs associated with the criminal process, a defendant who is convicted of a domestic violence offense may also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim, including covering their medical bills associated with the injury that was incurred, the cost of mental health counseling, wage loss due to being too injured to work, and property damage that was sustained during the encounter that led to the charges. The defendant can also be ordered to contribute to state domestic violence programs.
Generally, individuals who have been convicted of domestic violence charges are required to serve at least 30 days in jail, even if the conviction is the defendant’s first offense and is charged as a misdemeanor. Depending on the seriousness of the crime and the defendant’s criminal record, they may be ordered to serve an extended time in jail or even a prison sentence.
A Treatment Program
Individuals convicted of domestic violence charges in California are usually ordered to complete a treatment program or mental health counseling as part of their sentence.
Permanent Criminal Record
Even if charged as misdemeanors, domestic violence convictions will appear on the offender’s permanent criminal record. This may make it difficult for the individual to obtain housing, employment, or even attend college.
Individuals who have been convicted of domestic violence in California cannot have custody of their children for at least five years after the conviction, per California Family Code 3044, though they can seek visitation rights. To gain custody after five years, the offender must show that they have complied with the provisions of their sentence and have not committed domestic violence toward anyone else since the conviction.
Loss of Rights
Those convicted of domestic violence can also face the loss of other rights, including the right to possess firearms. A misdemeanor domestic violence conviction in California usually will result in a ten-year ban on firearms. In contrast, those convicted of felony domestic violence charges will face a lifetime ban on owning guns. This ban is not only state law but a federal one, meaning that even if the offender moves to a different state, they will be prohibited from possessing a gun.
Individuals who are immigrants and have been accused of domestic violence in Anaheim should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A conviction can result in removal from the U.S. or the ability to apply for a green card.
Anaheim Domestic Violence Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
Possible Defenses to Anaheim Domestic Violence Charges
An experienced Anaheim domestic violence lawyer can help their client develop a legal defense strategy to avoid a conviction or limit the consequences faced by the conviction. Some of the defenses often involved in domestic violence cases include:
- The defendant did not commit the crime.
- The injuries that were incurred by the victim were accidental
- There is no proof that the violence that was reported occurred.
- The defendant caused the injuries while defending themselves against the victim’s violent behavior.
In addition to these common defenses, there are other defense strategies a domestic violence lawyer in Anaheim may consider, including improper law enforcement procedures that were committed during the arrest or investigation. If there is no way to avoid being convicted, the attorney can work with the prosecutor to negotiate a plea bargain for their client that either reduces the charge or the sentence in exchange for a guilty plea.
Contact an Anaheim Domestic Violence Attorney to Help Your Case
Let an experienced domestic violence attorney in Anaheim help you understand your rights after you have been accused of domestic violence. Contact us for a consultation today.