When arrested and charged with a domestic violence offense, your situation should be taken very seriously. California does not take these cases lightly. If you find yourself in this situation it is best to consult with a lawyer. No matter what your situation is, our country was founded on innocent until proven guilty, and you have the right to defend yourself.
Yet, the knowledge of the law, and other aspects, is vital to ensuring you get fair treatment under the law. So you want to hire the best domestic violence criminal attorney to ensure you are provided with the best possible defense.
Since domestic violence is such a serious charge (https://domestic-violence-law.com/jail-time), there are some things you should consider. These are some of the most difficult cases to go through, because emotions are very high. You may feel that everyone has turned against you, which is why you need someone on your side. You also need to understand the charges against you and what it might mean for you.
California domestic violence law
Simply put, the law considers someone guilty of this offense if they have abused anyone they have a domestic relationship with. This does not necessarily mean a spouse or family member. These types of relationships include:
– Spouse or former spouse
– A boyfriend or girlfriend
– An ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend
– A roommate or former roommate
– The parent of your child
– Any family member including parents, siblings, aunts, uncles etc.
As you can see, California law takes a lot into account because this is such a serious issue. Second, abuse does not necessarily require physical contact. If someone is in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or harm, then it is considered abuse under California law. So saying you did not touch someone does not necessarily matter.
Also keep in mind that this is a criminal charge, not a civil charge. This means that whether or not your charges will stick are up to the state prosecutor. So even if the alleged victim wants to drop the charges, the prosecutor may not do so and may not be so forgiving.
Misdemeanor and felony domestic violence
In California, special prosecutors handle domestic violence cases. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, the prosecutor will decide whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Felonies carry heavier penalties especially if someone was seriously injured, then the chances are higher that you will be charged with a felony.
Domestic violence conviction penalties
Penalties associated with domestic violence are strict, because the crime is considered severe. This is why hiring a strong legal defense can benefit you. A good attorney will fight on your behalf to help minimize the risk of the hardest penalties. An attorney can negotiate for you, and either get you a better plea bargain, or if you are convicted, work with you to minimize the sentencing. There is even a possibility of probation. Of course, each situation is different, so speaking with an attorney is the only way you will know how to minimize your risk.
Penalties for misdemeanors and felonies can include:
* A one year long domestic violence counseling requirement. The law is about reformation, not punishment. If they can help you, they will.
* Up to forty hours of community service. Giving back is important for rehabilitation.
* A no contact order with the victim. The parameters of this order will depend on the situation, including time and distance.
Misdemeanors can carry a sentence of up to six months in jail. Felonies can bring up to five years. A felony domestic charge is considered a strike in California for the Three Strikes Law, but this can be reduced to a misdemeanor, so it is vital you hire a qualified criminal defense attorney. If you accumulate three strikes, it is an automatic sentence of twenty five years to life in prison. This is why getting the sentence reduced is so important.
Domestic violence is a serious charge, and needs to be handled carefully. You need someone you can trust by your side who has vast experience in this area. Do not try to go on your own or with a public defender. Contact a qualified defense lawyer first.