Many individuals who are arrested for allegedly committing a domestic violence offense are cited with corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant (California Penal Code § 273.5), punishable as a felony or domestic battery (California Penal Code § 243(e), also punishable as a felony.
Corporal injury to a spouse is punishable as a felony by up to four years in state prison and a $6,000 fine. Domestic battery is punishable as a felony of one year in state prison and a $1,000 fine.
However, as a domestic relations matter progresses through the court system, the prosecution may find that proving all the elements of an offense under § 273.5 or § 243(e) to convict a defendant may be difficult under the facts of the case. These circumstances may compel the prosecution to reduce charges in negotiating a plea.
If the facts are unsubstantial or the defendant has a valid self-defense claim, a prosecutor may be willing to offer a reduced charge in return for a guilty plea.
A common scenario is a victim and defendant reconciling with the result that the victim requests that the prosecutor drop the charges against the defendant. Despite such a request, a prosecutor may proceed with charges.
Yet, proving a charge of domestic violence under § 273.5 or § 243(e) in the situation where the victim does not want to testify against the defendant may be a difficult challenge for a prosecutor. Extracting testimony from the victim that can successfully convict the defendant may be close to an impossible task. Thus, in this situation where the victim is unavailable or uncooperative, the prosecutor may be willing to consider a reduced charge.
Pleading to a lesser or reduced charge may help an alleged offender avoid the stigma of having a domestic violence conviction on his or her record. Other consequences may also occur as the result of being charged and convicted of corporal injury or domestic battery.
The prosecution may allow the defendant to plead to a charge of disturbing the peace in violation of California Penal Code Section 415. Additionally, a plea to trespassing/malicious mischief under California Penal Code Section 602 or a similar non-domestic violence charge may be negotiated. Reducing a charge of domestic violence typically requires the advice, guidance, and representation of experienced criminal defense counsel. The attorney that any defendant hires in this situation may be crucial to achieving the best possible result.
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, John Patrick Dolan has forty years of criminal defense experience. Prosecutors may consider reducing domestic violence charges or dismissing a case entirely for a variety of reasons. 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.