The recent media frenzy over reports of alleged abuse involving actor Johnny Depp and Amber Heard and Department of Justice reports make it abundantly clear that domestic violence is an issue that continues to be a problem in California and throughout. In an effort to prevent abuse and the potential for escalating violence, law enforcement, whether your charges are out of Los Angeles, Palmdale, Ontario, West Covina or any other California city, will and often does investigate and prosecute anyone suspected accused of domestic violence.
The Domestic Violence law in California
In California, the law relating to domestic violence is found in Penal Code section 273.5. Under this statute any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim is guilty of a felony, and can be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of up to six thousand dollars ($6,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.
Because the consequences and penalties of such a charge can be life changing, it is always advisable to consult with an experienced domestic violence criminal attorney when arrested for domestic violence.
Who can be charged for domestic violence and who is a potential victim?
The domestic violence laws if California do not only apply to individuals who are married but also former spouses, former roommates, a fiancée, or even a dating relationship.
Negotiating a fair resolution to a case
If you or a loved one are charged with the crime of domestic violence, you should always call an experienced criminal defense attorney. In many cases an experienced attorney can negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor so as to resolve the case in a manner that does not ruin the person’s life and may even offer an opportunity for education and training on domestic violence and anger management and other life skills. If the case cannot be resolved before a trial, the prosecutor will have to prove at trial that there was a relationship between the accused and the victim; that the accused willfully and unlawfully touched the victim in a harmful or offensive manner; and the accused did not act in self defense. The slightest touching can be enough to commit a battery. A defense attorney can often times win at trial if the prosecutor cannot prove their case or get the charges reduced resulting in a lesser punishment for criminal defendant.
Punishment for conviction for Domestic Violence
If someone is convicted of violating the domestic violence laws in California the punishment can range from 1 year in county jail to 4 years in prison. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney can often times negotiate a resolution that does not involve any jail or prison time or negotiate a plea to leading to a reduction in the severity of the charges to a lesser crime not involving domestic violence.
A conviction for domestic violence carries particular long lasting impact. It generally involves probation for 36 months (Penal Code 1203.097(a)) a criminal court protective order protecting the victim from further acts of violence, threats, stalking, sexual abuse and harassment, and stay away orders (1203.097(a)(2) and successful completion of a domestic violence program or appropriate counseling program for 1 year.
Under Penal Code 29805 there is also a 10 year ban on the owning, possessing or using a firearm. In many instances individuals who plead guilty to PC 273.5 are not aware of the “gun ban” which can lead to further problems down the road years after the case is over.
If you or a loved one is charged with domestic violence or any other crime in California, call Leib Law toll free at (844) 210-1701.