Domestic violence convictions bring serious consequences, including jail time, restorative financial payments, loss of child custody, and a criminal record, among others. If you have been charged with domestic violence, seek legal representation from a Costa Mesa domestic violence defense lawyer. Your lawyer may be able to have your charges and resulting penalties reduced or dismissed.
What Is Domestic Violence?
California Penal Code §13700 establishes domestic violence 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.” The Code defines abuse as “intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to himself or herself, or another.” Simply stated, a person is guilty of domestic violence if they intentionally or recklessly threaten or injure someone with whom they live or with whom they have or have had an intimate relationship.
For a free legal consultation with a domestic violence defense lawyer serving Costa Mesa, call (310) 928-9347
Can Children Be Counted as Victims of Domestic Violence?
While PC 13700 includes “intimate partners” as victims in domestic violence cases, the California Family Code establishes a more comprehensive list. The offender’s children, grandparents, siblings, relatives by marriage, and others can be victims of domestic violence.
Neglecting to care for a child properly, inflicting unreasonable corporal punishment, and endangering a child’s safety are forms of domestic abuse.
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What Are Penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions?
Domestic abuse can bring misdemeanor or felony charges depending on several factors: the severity of the victim’s injuries, the specific circumstances of the event, and the offender’s criminal history.
Misdemeanor penalties can include up to one year in jail and/or fines of up to $2000. Felony convictions can bring prison time of more than a year and significant fines. For example, PC 368, which makes elder abuse a crime, is a felony that can bring up to four years in prison.
There are some offenses that fall into the “wobbler” category, meaning they can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. A skilled domestic violence defense lawyer in Costa Mesa will work to move the “wobbler” to a misdemeanor charge.
Are There Additional Punishments for Domestic Abuse Convictions?
You can face additional penalties for domestic abuse convictions. These penalties include:
- Paying financial restitution to victims for relevant expenses, such as medical bills or damaged property, loss wages, or counseling.
- Payment to domestic violence programs.
- Attending a year-long batterer’s program.
- Loss of custodial rights of children.
- Loss, either temporarily or permanently, of gun-owning rights.
- Deportation, ineligibility to apply for a Green Card or other changes to immigration status that may make prevent your legal admission and residency in the United States.
- Restraining orders.
- A permanent criminal record. Domestic violence will appear in routine background checks.
- Loss of professional state license or security clearance.
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Is Probation Ever an Option for a Domestic Violence Conviction?
A judge may order probation for first-time misdemeanor offenders whose victims were not seriously injured. However, convictions for domestic violence charges bring mandatory jail time. Even if put on probation, offenders will have to spend a minimum of 30 days in jail and may face some of the additional penalties listed above as requirements of their probation.
If offenders violate probation, a judge can revoke probation and order the perpetrator to jail or prison time.
How Can a Costa Mesa Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Help?
A skilled domestic violence defense attorney in Costa Mesa knows how penalties for convictions can affect your life and will work to have your charges reduced or dismissed.
There are a variety of possibilities for a defense that vary according to the specific circumstances of your alleged offense. Common defenses argue
- The victim was hurt accidentally.
- The accused did not cause the victim’s injuries
- The defendant is being falsely accused
- The victim’s injuries came from the defendant’s acts of self-defense or actions intended to protect a third party.
- Officers who arrived at the scene did not uphold your rights or carry out a proper investigation.
- The abuse cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Your lawyer will know how to collect witness statements and evidence to support your interests and how to dispute the allegations brought against you.
Orange County offers a pre-trial diversion option for offenders who qualify. Your Costa Mesa domestic violence defense lawyer will help you determine your eligibility and, should you qualify, help you complete all documentation accurately.
Under this provision, successful completion of a batterer’s program and your compliance with other requirements and payments can lead to the dismissal of the charges against you.
Your lawyer will know if your best defense is to plead guilty to lesser charges that have decreased penalties and long-term consequences.
How Long After an Incident Can a Person Be Accused of Domestic Violence?
In California, as of February 2019 and the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 273, prosecutors can bring charges against reported abusers up to five years after the date of the alleged incident. The bill is applicable to alleged offenses committed on or after January 1, 2020, or within the five-year period prior to that date.
Why You Need a Costa Mesa Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
California takes charges of domestic violence seriously, imposing severe and even lifelong consequences on convicted abusers. Successfully fighting these charges requires comprehensive knowledge of the law and the court system.
If you or a loved one has been charged with domestic violence, consult with a Costa Mesa domestic violence defense lawyer as soon as possible. Domestic violence laws and charges are complicated and can easily pile up, making it difficult to know how to defend yourself, and mounting a vigorous, successful defense is crucial.
Your lawyer will investigate all aspects of your case, building a strong defense and casting doubt on the prosecution’s allegations or interpretation of events. Your lawyer will ensure your rights are upheld and your side of the story is heard and work to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed, to protect your future.