The Los Angeles City Attorney has an entire unit set up to do nothing more than prosecute even the most minor cases of Domestic Violence where there is little to sometimes no injury to either party and the City prosecutes even if the reporting party does not want to testify. Prosecutors over over zealous many times with Domestic Violence for largely political reasons. Victims who report domestic violence who later wish to reconcile with their significant other have been arrested and jailed for not cooperating with prosecutors. It is imperative that if you are accused or even a civic of domestic violence you consult with Attorney Brian Michael's. DV cases are common cases in Los Angeles and attorney Michael's has handled hundreds of these cases over his 18 years in practice. Below is a summary of domestic violence and related violent crimes that are often charged in the DV context:
Typically, domestic violence charges will consist of violations of Penal Codes §§ 273.5 and/or 242 and 243(e). However, there are a variety of charges that fall under the category of domestic violence. The consequences of each crime are different. If you have been charged with any domestic violence offense(s), please contact a criminal defense attorney today to determine your best defenses.
Infliction of Injury. California Penal Code §273.5. If you willfully inflict any injury, no matter how minor, upon the body of an intimate partner, you can be charged with a felony. If convicted, you will face up to four years in prison and/or a fine of $6,000. If you were convicted of a domestic violence charge within seven years of this conviction, you will be guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony. As a result, you face up to five years in state prison and or a fine of up to $10,000.
Battery. California Penal Codes §§242, 243(e)(1). According to California law, "a battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another." If you are found guilty of this misdemeanor, you will be subject to a $2,000 fine and/or up on one year in the county jail.
Sexual Battery. California Penal Code §243.4. If you touch an intimate part of another person against the will of the person and the touching is for the purpose of sexual arousal, you are guilty of sexual battery. This crime is a wobbler, meaning that you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony; and you may face up to four years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Violation of Protective Order. California Penal Code §273.6. If you intentionally violate a protective order of the court, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. You could be punished with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment in the county jail for one year. If this violation of a protective order results in physical injury, you will be punished by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or a jail sentence for up on one year.
Intimidating an Intimate Partner or Witness. California Penal Code §136.1. If you prevent or dissuade or attempt to prevent or dissuade your partner or any witness from attending or giving testimony at trial or any court proceeding, or if you try to dissuade or prevent someone from making a report of victimization or seeking the arrest of someone in connection with that victimization, your actions can result in a felony or misdemeanor charge.
Where these acts are accompanied by force or by an express or implied threat of force or violence or where the act is in furtherance of a conspiracy or for pecuniary gain, you can be charged with a felony punished by up to four years in state prison. It is not a defense for this crime that no one was physically injured or actually intimidated.
Criminal Threats. California Penal Code §422. You can be charged with a crime if you threaten to commit a crime that will result in death or great bodily injury, whether it's made verbally, in writing or by means of an electronic communication device even if there's no intent to actually carry out the act. The only requirement for this crime is that a reasonable person is fearful for his or her own safety. A criminal threat is a wobbler, meaning that you could be convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony.
Stalking. California Penal Code §646.9. If you willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follow or harass or make a credible threat toward another person, you can be charged with stalking. Stalking can occur even if you do not have, nor ever had, a relationship with the other person. This crime is a wobbler, which means that you may be convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor.
You will be charged with a felony if you stalk someone while there is a protective order in place. The punishment for this felony is up to four years in state prison. Additionally, if this is your second stalking conviction and your first stalking conviction was a felony, you can be charged with a felony stalking count and you may be sentenced to five years in prison. As if the prison sentence isn't bad enough, a felony stalking conviction can haunt you for the rest of your life: The court may order you to register as a sex offender.
In California, mandatory minimum sentences for domestic violence are imposed under the state's Domestic Violence Sentencing Enhancements law, which requires judges to impose additional penalties on defendants convicted of domestic violence offenses.
Under this law, if a person is convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense in California, the court must impose a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail. If the person has a prior domestic violence conviction within the previous seven years, the mandatory minimum sentence increases to 45 days in jail.
For felony domestic violence offenses, the law requires a mandatory minimum sentence of two, three, or four years in state prison, depending on the severity of the offense and the defendant's criminal history.
It's important to note that mandatory minimum sentences are the minimum penalties that a defendant must face, and judges have the discretion to impose longer sentences based on the specific circumstances of the case. In addition, California law allows for alternative sentencing options, such as probation or community service, in some cases.
It's also important to note that domestic violence offenses can have long-lasting consequences beyond the criminal penalties imposed by the court. For example, a conviction for domestic violence can result in the loss of a person's right to own firearms, affect their immigration status, and impact their ability to find employment or housing in the future.
If you have been charged with domestic violence in California, it's important to consult with an attorney who can help you understand the potential penalties you may face and develop a strong defense strategy to protect your rights and freedom.
Expunging a Domestic Violence Conviction.
If you've already been convicted of a domestic violence offense, there are things that can be done to positively impact your criminal record. Expungement of a domestic violence conviction, just like expungement of other criminal offenses, is possible. In any case in which probation has been granted, whether a misdemeanor or a felony domestic violence case, it may be possible to withdraw the guilty or no contest plea, or a verdict of guilty, and replace with a not guilty plea and dismiss the complaint. This is pursuant to California Penal Code section 1203.4. In felony cases where a state prison term was imposed, the only relief available is either through a Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon, or a direct application to the Governor for a Governor's Pardon. There are also serious considerations relating to firearms rights for anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime. Getting a record restored following a domestic violence conviction, or any criminal conviction, is a sensitive undertaking, and it is vital to confer with a skilled criminal defense lawyer who understands and appreciates the legal complexities of expungements associated with domestic violence charges.
No matter what charges you are currently facing, a skilled criminal defense attorney can help. There are defenses for every criminal charge. In most cases, these domestic violence charges are based on one person's word. A domestic violence criminal defense lawyer understands that there are two sides to every story. This lawyer can help you gather evidence and proof for your side of the story. Do not think that these charges are hopeless. Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney today to learn how you can save your reputation and keep your record clean.