A domestic violence conviction can have serious consequences, affecting everything from your career prospects to personal relationships. To ensure you give yourself the best chance of building a successful defense, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.
However, in the meantime, here’s what you can expect if you’re facing domestic violence charges and a look at some defenses which may be available to you if you’re formally charged.
What Is Domestic Violence?
In California, domestic violence is defined in Section 13700 of the California Penal Code. Broadly speaking, domestic violence covers the threat or use of physical force against an intimate partner, the defendant’s child, or a blood relative. So, actual force is not necessary – the victim just needs to reasonably believe that they’re in physical danger.
What Happens After the Police Arrest Someone for Domestic Violence?
If you’re arrested for domestic violence, the arresting officers write a report setting out the allegations. They may obtain witness statements and conduct other investigations they deem necessary, such as criminal background checks. The prosecutor at the District Attorney’s Office decides, based on the evidence available, whether it’s appropriate to file charges against you.
During an arrest, it’s crucial to stay calm and show respect for law enforcement officers. Otherwise, you could face additional charges. However, you shouldn’t answer any incriminating questions – instead, make a plan for who you need to contact and reach out to a criminal defense attorney.
What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence in California?
Domestic violence in California can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
- Felony: up to 5 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000.
- Misdemeanor: up to 1 year in county jail and a fine up to $2,000.
The penalties can vary depending on your criminal record, especially if you’ve been convicted of domestic violence before. On some occasions, if you’re charged with a misdemeanor, you might get probation rather than jail.
Other penalties you may face include:
- Mandatory alcohol education classes
- Mandatory counseling
- Restraining orders
- Court fines and fees
- Community service
Domestic violence convictions affect your permanent criminal record. Your attorney can give you more guidance tailored to your specific case.
How Can I Fight Domestic Violence Charges?
The defenses available depend on the charges made against you and the facts of your case. However, some defenses your attorney might discuss with you include:
- Defense of another person
- False and malicious accusations
- Another person is responsible for the victim’s injuries
You should never plead guilty without seeking an attorney’s advice first.
Domestic Violence Charges – Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
Are you facing domestic violence charges in California? Then you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. The criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of David S. Chelsey will help you build your defense and represent you at all stages of the criminal court process.
To schedule your case evaluation and free consultation, contact us online or call us today at (800) 755-5174.