The California Legislature has stated that criminal offenses related to domestic violence merit special consideration for purposes of imposing a sentence. This is based on society’s condemnation of violence committed against victims with whom the offender has an intimate relationship. As a result, violations of California law’s specific statutory code sections addressing domestic violence crimes create serious consequences for those convicted of a domestic violence offense.
California Penal Code § 13700 PC defines “domestic violence” as abuse committed against an intimate partner. Domestic violence is often referred to as domestic battery, domestic abuse, or spousal abuse. An experienced criminal defense counsel can help ensure that an individual accused of a domestic violence crime qualifies for a pre-trial diversion program or deferred entry of judgment.
Domestic violence crimes are crimes committed by an individual against an intimate partner. These crimes include the offense of “domestic battery,” (also known as “spousal battery” or spousal assault,”) defined by California Penal Code § 243(e). California Penal Code § 273.5 PC makes inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner a criminal offense in California.
The consequences of a California domestic violence conviction may include:
*A restraining or protective order
These orders contain provisions that prevent one party from having any contact with a certain family member or another party in an intimate relationship. It defines the conduct and types of contact prohibited.
*Mandatory minimum jail time
Most domestic violence crimes may be charged as “wobblers,” which is a crime that may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime. Most courts in California impose a sentence of a minimum of 30 days for domestic violence, even if it is the individual’s first offense.
*Payment of fines and/or restitution
Restitution may include the victim’s medical expenses, mental health treatment, lost wages, and property damage. The defendant must also pay a fine of $500 that funds California domestic violence programs.
*Mandatory participation in domestic violence classes including a “batterer’s intervention program”
This is a year-long treatment and counseling program.
*A criminal record
The conviction will appear whenever a routine background check is undertaken for employment, housing, licensing, or other entitlements.
*Loss of gun rights
The 1968 Gun Control Act and subsequent amendments thereto prohibit any individual convicted of a felony and subject to a domestic violence protective order from possessing a firearm. The intended effect of this new legislation is to extend banning the use of firearms for those convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.” California Penal Code § 29805 PC, makes most misdemeanor domestic violence convictions cause the perpetrator to be banned ten years from using or possessing firearms. A misdemeanor conviction for violating Penal Code § 273.5 PC subjects to perpetrator to a lifetime ban of gun rights. California law also imposes a lifetime firearms ban on anyone convicted of a felony offense in any state or country.
*Loss of child custody rights
There is a rebuttable presumption in California that “[a]n award of spousal support to the convicted spouse from the injured spouse is prohibited.”
*Immigration consequences for non-citizens
This may include deportation or inadmissibility to the United States. Many California domestic violence convictions qualify as an “aggravated felony” or a “crime involving moral turpitude” under federal immigration law.
John Patrick Dolan is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law, the highest achievement awarded by the State Bar of California to attorneys in the field of criminal law. The advice, guidance, and representation of experienced criminal defense counsel may be crucial to achieving the best possible result in any criminal matter. John Patrick Dolan has forty years of criminal defense experience. Contact Dolan Law Offices today at 760-775-3739 or 562-824-4007 to discuss your situation or find out more online here.