Domestic violence charges in California, unfortunately, tend to spike during the holidays. The Christmas and New Year’s holidays is usually a time to be with friends and family to happily celebrate being together. Unfortunately, domestic fights enhanced by alcohol and perhaps other stressors like financial troubles can lead to arguments and sometimes violence between spouses and loved ones. Many times the police are called during an argument even when no violence occurs between a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend. In most instances, especially in the Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside County, if the police show up to a person’s residence or place of business as a result of a 911 domestic call, someone is usually arrested or charged with misdemeanor or felony domestic violence. Such charges can be very serious and a person arrested could face jail or even prison time if someone is seriously injured and thus the first person someone should call after being arrested is an experienced criminal defense attorney with knowledge of how to properly defend a person facing domestic violence charges.
Under California Penal Code section 273.5, a person a) [a]ny person who willfully inflicts upon a person who is his or her spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or the mother or father of his or her child, corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall 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.
Depending on the seriousness of the injury to the alleged victim of domestic abuse, the District Attorney can charge a domestic violence case as either a misdemeanor or felony. A competent Criminal Defense Lawyer can explore many avenues not only to get criminal charges dismissed but also get a serious felony charges reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Many times a good Criminal Defense Attorney can take very serious domestic violence charges where a defendant is looking at jail or even prison time and have the charge reduced to a misdemeanor and work out a plea bargain with a District Attorney. Many instances a plea bargain will include domestic violence classes, anger management classes and/or parenting classes in lieu of jail or prison time.
In addition, on many occasions, the Court will allow a spouse or cohabitant to have contact with the Defendant spouse or cohabitant but a person facing such situation should first contact and consult with a competent Criminal Defense Attorney to avoid being found in violation of any Court stay away orders. In certain cases, an experienced criminal defense attorney can not only secure a misdemeanor conviction as opposed to a felony where an injury occurs but also obtain community service in lieu of jail time. Such a plea bargain can be obtained through skillful negotiation by an experienced criminal defense attorney who takes the time to investigate the facts of the case and negotiate a plea or dismissal that is equal to the actual conduct committed by a person charged with domestic violence.
One should also be aware that domestic violence charges apply not only to spouses but persons who are dating that also live together. Domestic violence and related assault charges are very serious and tough to face unless you find a competent Criminal Defense Attorney to defend you and let you know all the avenues you have to successfully defend against criminal misdemeanor or felony charges.