Being charged with domestic violence can turn your world upside down. No matter what the circumstances are regarding the dispute, California has strict laws about these charges. Understanding how they affect your life and what you need to do to defend yourself requires guidance from a Downey domestic violence defense lawyer.
When you or someone you love is facing allegations of domestic violence, you need a lawyer on your side who will listen to your story with compassion and fairness. At Simmrin Law Group, our team is ready to litigate your domestic violence defense case for the most favorable outcome for you. We believe everyone deserves the best legal representation available, and we will help you understand your options.
How Does California Define Domestic Violence?
In the state of California, many actions fall under the umbrella of domestic violence. It covers abuse and threats of abuse, whether physical, emotional, or psychological. It also includes stalking people or secretly observing them to take photos or videos. While some behaviors are obviously threatening, many times, you may not mean to upset or harm another person.
Regardless of the intention, those individuals who feel threatened may report the actions as domestic violence. Domestic violence specifically occurs between people who have a close relationship by blood or marriage. It can also refer to any serious romantic relationship or partnership, especially if the couple has a child together.
Another group covered under domestic violence is family members, such as siblings, parents, or children.
For a free legal consultation with a domestic violence defense lawyer serving Downey, call (310) 896-2723
Domestic Violence Penalties
Domestic violence may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. California Penal code §273.5 states that misdemeanor punishments include a fine of up to $1000 and one year in county jail. Felony domestic violence carries fines up to $10,000 and five years in state prison.
To qualify for a felony charge, the prosecutor must show that your case involves one of the following:
- Sexual assault or bodily harm to a minor
- Sexual assault of the plaintiff
- Serious bodily injury to the plaintiff
- Previous convictions of domestic violence or other crimes
Being charged with domestic violence in Downey is a serious matter. You should rely on the help of an experienced domestic violence defense attorney in Downey to present your story in the best light. A competent lawyer will negotiate with opposing counsel and prosecutors and attempt to lower the charges and punishments.
If law enforcement is called to the scene of a dispute and they have probable cause that you have committed domestic violence, they are required by law to arrest you. This can cause chaos for you if the situation is just an argument. In most cases, even if the individual who called the police decides not to press charges, the government prosecutor will take over to pursue a criminal case against you.
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Defending Yourself Against a Domestic Violence Charge
If you have never been charged with domestic violence before, it can be overwhelming and frightening. Navigating the complex California legal system is confusing if you have no experience. Your best hope is to let a skilled Downey domestic violence defense lawyer work for you.
While there are many domestic violence incidents that are truly abusive, your case may simply be a misunderstanding between two parties. Developing a solid defense to minimize the severity of the charges can depend on presenting your story favorably to the jury.
Defendants in these cases often rely on arguments such as:
- The other party is falsely accusing you
- You were acting in self-defense
- You were defending another person
- The other party was injured or assaulted accidentally, perhaps in the course of a heated argument
- Injuries that the other party suffered were not a result of your actions
With a sound approach, your lawyer can frequently obtain a plea bargain to a lesser charge which results in less jail time and lower fines. Your attorney could also negotiate for you to receive treatment and attend rehabilitation classes instead of serving a sentence. Every case will be different, and your Downey domestic violence defense attorney will listen to your story and explain your choices.
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Additional Risks: Protective Orders and Loss of Certain Rights
Along with jail or prison time and fines, those charged with domestic violence must adhere to strict conditions which curtail some of their rights. Plaintiffs often file a protective order to legally force you to stay away from them and eliminate contact. These orders are commonly known as restraining orders, which apply specifically to domestic relationships (spouses, partners, children, and other family members).
Other kinds of protective orders are used in cases of:
- Workplace violence: Filed by employers for employees experiencing harassment or violence from someone
- Civil harassment: Filed by roommates, neighbors, coworkers, or distant family members.
- Elder or dependent adult abuse: Filed by those over age 65 or dependents aged 18-64.
If someone has filed a restraining order against you, you must act quickly and respond to it appropriately. Your lawyer can guide you as to the specifics of your case, but the main points to understand are that you must:
- Read the order completely.
- Do exactly what the order says.
- Do not contact any person or go to any place mentioned in the order.
- Sell or turn in any guns or firearms in your possession.
- Go to your court hearing date as listed in the order.
- If desired, file a response before the hearing date.
Your order will detail the individuals and places you must avoid. It will also explain whether you can communicate in any way other than through legal counsel. If you are ordered to move out of a home, you can usually take what you need until your hearing.
You are not legally allowed to own or possess firearms, so you must turn them in at the police station or sell them. Finally, you can file a response to tell your side of the dispute for the judge’s consideration. If you fail to respond, the judge will issue the order with only the plaintiff’s input, and you will be required to follow it.
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Do Not Face Charges without a Domestic Violence Lawyer in Downey
If you are facing a domestic violence charge or a protective order, do not risk your freedom defending yourself. These cases are very complex and often involve criminal charges. You will need legal counsel that is non-judgmental and supportive to achieve the best outcome for you.
The Simmrin Law Group is ready to listen to your story and examine the evidence from all sides in your dispute. When you hire a Downey domestic violence defense attorney from our team, we work diligently to educate you about the best approach for your needs. Contact us using our online form to schedule your free, confidential consultation today.
Call or text (310) 896-2723 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form