Domestic violence allegations in San Diego, California, are dangerous and can have a lifelong impact on the accused. You can lose everything you hold dear, including your family, or go to jail just because someone accused you of a DV crime in anger without concrete evidence.
Unfortunately, this shame will likely remain on your record, even when you’re innocent of the charge. This is because the public presumes guilt in every domestic violence case. People just assume that there must be some truth to the allegations.
Because domestic violence cases are usually emotionally charged, complex, and difficult, you must do everything possible to exonerate yourself. You need an experienced San Diego domestic violence defense attorney to fight for you and clear you of those allegations.
What Is Considered Domestic Violence in San Diego, CA?
The following are grounds for a domestic violence charge in San Diego, California:
- Emotional or psychological abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Child abuse and endangerment
- Sexual abuse, assault, and battery
- Physical injury and abuse of a spouse, domestic partner, children, or someone living under the same roof
- Economic or financial abuse
- Spiritual manipulation
- Property destruction
- Injury to household pets
- Violation of restraining orders
- Threats of physical violence, mental harm, and making family members feel unsafe
- Harassment of the victim by a partner at their workplaces and in public spaces
- Physical attacks with dangerous weapons
- False imprisonment
Anyone May Commit Domestic Violence
There’s a misconception that domestic violence often involves a male member of the family threatening a female and other vulnerable family members. It is important to note that anyone in the home can perpetrate domestic violence.
False Accusations of Domestic Violence
While there are valid domestic violence cases, there are also spurious allegations filed by devious relations with malicious intentions. These family members understand that the state of California takes domestic violence seriously.
So, they often file false or untrue domestic violence accusations in the hopes that the state’s court can help them get what they want – usually, child custody or more money from estranged partners.
If you have been accused of domestic violence by an intimate partner or a relation, it is important to quickly engage the services of a domestic violence defense attorney in San Diego.
You cannot afford to take this allegation lightly, particularly if the plaintiff also accuses you of substance or alcohol abuse. It can have far-reaching ramifications on your life. This is even more so if there’s a child endangerment charge that may involve the state’s child protection services (CPS).
For a free legal consultation with a domestic violence defense lawyer serving San Diego, call (310) 896-2723
Is Domestic Violence a Felony in San Diego, CA?
Intimate partner abuse in San Diego, can either be a misdemeanor or felony. It depends on the circumstances surrounding your case. If the defendant is a first-time offender and there was no evidence of physical injury, the case might be treated as a misdemeanor.
But if you have been arrested or convicted in the past for domestic violence incidents, your case may be treated as a felony arrest, especially if there’s proof of serious physical injury leading to hospital visitation.
While most DV arrests are often treated as felony arrests, the charges are often bumped down to misdemeanors and dropped if there’s no proof and you have a good San Diego domestic violence defense lawyer representing you.
San Diego Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
Consequences of a Domestic Violence Charge in California
Here’s the thing about being charged with domestic violence in California: the evidence of the crime never really goes away. For instance, if a domestic violence misdemeanor charge leads to a conviction, it will stay on your record for seven years.
This means that when you apply for a new job, want to buy a new house, try to purchase a new car, apply for a loan, and many other activities that require a background check, this will pop up.
The ramifications of this include denied applications, increased mortgage or finance lending rates, higher insurance premiums, and more. Why? Because a criminal record sets off alarms and presents you as a high-risk individual.
A Criminal Record
A criminal record can also get in the way of your ability to secure new employment for up to seven years, even if you’re qualified for the position. Also, federal laws concerning domestic violence misdemeanor charges basically prevent the convicted individual from carrying or owning a firearm. This means that if you’re in law enforcement, you could potentially lose your job.
Impact to Your Parental Rights
If you’re a parent, you could potentially lose visitation rights, become the recipient of a restraining order, and pay fines. There are serious implications for domestic violence convictions. This is why you need to do everything legally possible to prevent a conviction and a criminal record.
Consequences Can Vary Based on Specific Charges
Facing any charges of domestic violence could derail your life. That being said, here’s a more specific list of possible punishments and fines that you could incur if you’re found guilty of domestic violence:
In cases of domestic battery, a first-time offender can pay a fine of up to $2,000 and/or go to county jail for up to one year. More severe injuries can attract a felony charge which comes with a fine of up to $6,000, two to four years imprisonment in state prison, or one-year remand in county jail. If the accused is a repeat offender, the courts could slam them with a $10,000 fine and/or longer jail terms.
If the first-time offender is charged with a misdemeanor, they could spend up to one year in county jail or three years in state prison. Repeat offenders will serve longer jail terms of two to six years in state prison.
In the event of child endangerment, the parent will likely lose custody, pay steep fines, and may go to jail for the duration of time the court sees fit – usually six months for a first offender. Child neglect charges attract fines of up to $2,000 and/or an up to one-year jail term.
California has a three-strikes rule where if the accused is found guilty of repeatedly abusing a child, they could get 25 years to life in state prison. If anyone, including caregivers, hurts a child badly, they could also spend the rest of their life in jail.
Felony Domestic Violence Charge
The courts can slam the accused with up to five years in prison. Or, they may have to serve probation for three to five years.
Under California law, many domestic violence cases are characterized as wobbler offenses. These are crimes that can be categorized as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the severity of the crime, injury, circumstances, facts, and allegations.
This means that without the right legal representation, you could be facing a felony charge when you should be dealing with a misdemeanor or an even lesser charge. A good domestic violence defense attorney in San Diego will help explain your unique situation and fight to help ensure that you don’t get booked for a felony when it should be a misdemeanor.
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Steps to Take if a DV Charge Has Been Leveled Against You in San Diego
It doesn’t matter how good things were between you and the plaintiff in the past. Once you’ve been accused of domestic violence, you need to protect yourself. Otherwise, you could potentially lose everything you’ve worked for.
So, start by taking the following steps:
- Keep your distance. The complainant does not need to have the court issue a protective or restraining order – although it’s likely that the court would have issued one – for you to stay away from them. Once you have been accused, stay away from them, even if you feel like defending yourself to them. And do everything you can not to violate an emergency protective order if one has been issued against you. You could do time for that, even if the accusation was false.
- All subsequent contacts should be through legal channels. Avoid any direct contact with the accuser until the case is done. Even if they want to chat with you or make amends informally, don’t engage outside of formal legal correspondence. This will save you a lot of headaches.
- Get evidence to prove your innocence. If you have or can get evidence to prove that you’ve been falsely accused without violating a protective or restraining order, by all means, do so. You’ll need this evidence during your domestic violence defense in California.
Can You Expunge a Record of Domestic Violence in California?
That depends on whether you’re convicted of the crime or not. And if you have been convicted, it also depends on whether the domestic violence case was charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Misdemeanors can be eligible for expungement and will basically allow you to get a fresh start. However, if you violate your probation, are on probation for another crime, or are a repeat offender, the courts may not approve your request for expungement.
Felonies are much harder to expunge, owing to their more serious nature. If a San Diego domestic violence defense attorney were to try, they would first have to get the charge knocked down to a misdemeanor before attempting to start the expungement process in California.
What if Your Record Can’t Be Expunged?
If you can’t get your record expunged, there’s a second option – sealing your criminal record. Unlike an expunged record that basically wipes off all evidence of criminal history, a sealed record still has the history. But that history cannot be viewed by the public.
Being labeled a criminal – even when you’re not – can be very costly in California. For instance, regardless of your competence, most employers are wary of new employees who have a past history with the word “violent” in it. And domestic violence accusations typically attract a lot of bias or increased scrutiny.
A domestic violence charge, even when it’s false, can haunt you for a really long time. So, seek legal counsel from an experienced DV defense lawyer in San Diego about the possibility of expungement or a sealed record.
Cost of Hiring a San Diego Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
The average cost of hiring a San Diego DV defense law firm is between $200 and $500 per hour. However, please note that the price can be less or more depending on the law firm’s experience, time in the courtroom, track record, and the severity of the crime you’re being charged with.
Most people assume that domestic violence defense attorneys in San Diego charge cutthroat rates. That’s not necessarily true. Most even have payment plans and a sliding scale, as most cases are unique.
And while cost can be a factor in choosing a criminal defense attorney, you need to also weigh how their experience and peculiar skill sets can help reduce your sentence, save time, and potentially seal or expunge your criminal record.
Our San Diego Domestic Violence Defense Law Firm Can Help
Here, at the Simmrin Law Group, our primary focus as leading domestic violence defense attorneys in San Diego, CA, is to protect your rights, get a fair outcome, and help ensure you’re not wantonly sentenced. When it comes to domestic violence cases, we know that there are always two sides to every story.
It’s our job to hear your side and present your case to the courts, so there’s a more balanced view. We will fight for you, defend your interests, and work hard to ensure you’re not punished for a crime you didn’t commit.
We will investigate your partner’s claims, sniff out their motives, and find all the evidence to help you get a fair hearing and, hopefully, a better outcome. Contact us through our toll-free line or fill out our free case evaluation form today.