If you are facing charges for a domestic violence offense, you have a serious legal problem. Your freedom, reputation, and access to your home and children could be at risk. After an arrest, it is critical that you have a Sacramento domestic violence defense attorney to protect your rights and interests. The earlier in the legal process you are represented by a criminal lawyer, the more legal options may be available.
Under California state law, domestic violence may be heavily punished, with penalties that include jail or prison time, fines, and the losing the right to possess a firearm. The extent of the penalties imposed will reflect whether the charges are filed as a misdemeanor or felony, if it is alleged that an injury occurred, your prior criminal record, and the circumstances surrounding the incident.
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What is Domestic Violence in California?
Under the California Penal Code, “domestic violence” is defined as:
“Abuse committed against an adult or minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.”
What Are the Outcomes From Domestic Violence?
If you are accused of intentionally or recklessly causing, or attempting to cause, bodily injury in one of these relationships, you are likely to be arrested, charged, and taken into custody. The incident may have been the result of a 911 call placed by a family member, with law enforcement arriving at your door. If the person accusing you of domestic violence has an injury – no matter how slight, or even invisible to the eye – you will be arrested and charged. The level of the charge will be based on the degree of the injury.
We Listen, We Care, and We Fight
You need an attorney who is interested in your side of the story and who is prepared to go the distance to defend you. The quality, determination, and talents of your lawyer can make the difference between jail time, losing access to your children and home, and the destruction of your personal and professional reputation. At Scarfe Law Firm, we have over a decade representing the criminally accused. We build a strong attorney/client relationship, and we believe in open, honest communication. We take a strategic approach to defending cases of domestic violence.
When the prosecutor believes that battery was committed on an intimate partner, and is successful in achieving a conviction, the penalties may include fines up to $2,000, and imprisonment in county jail for up to one year, or both. If probation is granted, the individual is required to attend and complete a batterer’s treatment program. Other alternatives to incarceration include making payments up to $5,000 to a battered women’s shelter or reimbursing the alleged victim for reasonable costs of counseling.
If convicted of felony domestic violence, the penalties can include up to four years in state prison and fines up to $10,000. Once released, you will have a felony criminal record and face the loss of your professional license, ability to own a firearm, vote, or go near your children or home.
California Penal Code 243(e)(1) and Domestic Violence
If you are charged under Penal Code 243(e)(1), the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You willfully committed battery
- The alleged victim was an “intimate partner”
The force inflicted does not need to be violent or severe, cause bodily harm, pain, or leave a mark on the body – all it takes for an arrest is an accusation. Even the slightest touch on the body of the other person can lead to a charge of battery if it is claimed that the act was done in anger. If you are wrongfully accused of domestic violence, it is critical that your attorney moves into action at once to restore your reputation, and fight for your freedom and rights.
Felony Domestic Violence Under Penal Code 273.5
In a felony domestic violence charge, it must be proven that:
- You willfully and unlawfully inflicted corporal (bodily) injury on the alleged victim and
- The alleged victim was an intimate partner per the legal definition
- The physical injury led to a traumatic condition
- The injury was not inflicted in an act of self-defense
A traumatic condition is a wound or other bodily injury, whether minor or serious, caused by an act of physical force.
- Effective & Honest Advocacy
- Aggressive, Strategic Defense
- Solution-Focused Representation
Defenses Against Domestic Violence
- Self-defense: In some cases, the accuser was engaged in violence, and the person facing charges was acting in self-defense to attempt to avoid an attack.
- Accident: Injuries can occur due to an accident or mistake, with no intent to harm.
- False accusations: In some cases, an angry relationship partner makes accusations of domestic violence to attempt to inflict damage on that person, or as evidence in a child custody case.
If the alleged victim, once no longer angry or upset, admits that he or she exaggerated what occurred, the charges will not necessarily be dropped. The prosecutor can move forward, even when the accuser admits to lying or exaggerating what occurred. This poses a dangerous risk to innocent individuals who are charged with a domestic violence offense.
Get Help Now
There are few criminal charges that damage your reputation as much as being accused of committing an act of domestic violence. If you have been arrested and charged, exercise your right to remain silent and contact an experienced criminal lawyer immediately. At Scarfe Law Firm, you will be represented by a talented defense lawyer who will fight to achieve any possible advantage, including a dismissed charge, reduced charge, alternative sentencing, or an acquittal at trial. Our firm represents the accused in the communities of Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Roseville, and throughout Placer County.
Call us at (916) 252-1609 at once for a free 20-minute consultation to discuss your case.