For those accused of a domestic violence offense, there may never be a more serious, frightening, intimidating, daunting situation to overcome in life. Society immediately attaches a stigma to anyone associated with the term “domestic violence,” especially in the media. People are “guilty until proven innocent” in the eyes of the police, prosecutors, and public. Anyone faced with defending a “crime of domestic violence” may face a lifetime of repairing the damage done by this stigma, even if its application is unwarranted and unfair.
“Domestic violence” crimes are those incidents that involve an offender’s spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, fiancé, fiancée, or someone from a present or former dating relationship. Thus, domestic violence laws apply equally to heterosexual and to gay or lesbian same-sex relationships.
The potential penalties for a domestic violence conviction may be significant. Corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant (California Penal Code § 273.5) is punishable as a felony by up to four years in state prison and a $6,000 fine. Domestic battery under California Penal Code § 243(e) is punishable as a felony of one year in state prison and a $1,000 fine.
Not only may a conviction for a crime of domestic violence in California result in criminal penalties involving jail time, but a conviction may also result in serious, significant collateral consequences. Most of these consequences apply even if the defendant is sentenced to “Summary” (misdemeanor) probation, or “Formal” (felony) probation.
In addition to punishment by a prison sentence, consequences of a California domestic violence conviction may include the following:
- A permanent criminal record;
- Mandatory minimum jail time;
- Loss of custody rights;
- Mandatory participation in domestic violence classes or batterer’s treatment programs;
- Loss of state gun rights;
- Payment of fines and/or victim restitution; and
- A restraining or protective order.
- Immigration consequences for non-citizens (deportability or inadmissibility to the United States).
If charged with a domestic violence crime, the first decision anyone makes should be retaining an expert attorney experienced in representing clients faced with defending domestic violence charges. A seasoned criminal defense attorney with years of experience in these matters may ultimately succeed in having domestic violence charges reduced or dismissed.
Don’t be victimized by an assault or a domestic abuse charge. If you or someone you know has been arrested for assault or domestic violence, criminal defense attorney John Patrick Dolan may help achieve the best resolution possible. As a Criminal Law Specialist and a domestic violence defense attorney, John Patrick Dolan has the trial advocacy experience that often makes a difference. Contact Dolan Law Offices today at 760-775-3739 or 562-824-4007 to discuss your situation or find out more online here.