Domestic violence is viewed as a big problem in California. Not surprisingly, those who commit acts of domestic violence are subject to criminal prosecution, regardless of whether the victim desires to press charges against the abuser. Prosecution for domestic violence is rigorous and is often handled by special domestic violence prosecution units. There are a variety of crimes a domestic violence offender can be charged with, all carrying serious consequences. The crimes will vary based on who the victim was and how serious the injuries or threats were. Victims of domestic violence can include children, partners, spouses, parents of your children or those you've lived with and were closely related to or involved with either by relationship or family. Under California PC 273.5, it is illegal to willfully inflict bodily injury on someone you have or have had a domestic relationship with. Under California PC 243(e)(1), it is illegal to batter someone who've you had a domestic relationship of some kind with. Battery does not have to result in bodily injury however it does need to be harmful or offensive contact, force or violence. This could be anything from hitting someone to pushing them. There are also separate domestic violence crimes for acts against elders, children or for threatening the use of force or violence. The punishments for these crimes will vary based on the circumstances of the case and whether or not the offender has a criminal record and/or prior offenses. Generally, you could face either a misdemeanor or felony charge, carrying with them jail or prison time in addition to large fines and an order to complete a domestic batterers class. Along with these punishments, those convicted of a domestic violence offense will face discrimination when it comes to housing, employment and even financial assistance opportunities. It will prevent you from working with children or with other vulnerable populations and can reflect poorly on your character for the rest of your life. Because of these long lasting consequences, any of these charges are well worth the fight.
Unfortunately, sometimes an alleged victim will make an allegation of abuse. However false these may be, they may still be considered serious by law enforcement officers and the court system. Speak to an attorney if the victim is making false allegations against you; you may be able to prepare a strategic defense to have the charges dropped. Just as with any other criminal case, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed that crime, meaning they need some proof you actually abused, threatened to abuse or attempted to abuse the victim. An allegation alone will not be enough to convict you; there needs to be some evidence, however slight, that you actually committed a crime. Also, self-defense is not considered domestic violence and sometimes this is the case. A skilled attorney may be able to challenge the evidence and allegations against you by examining the facts and circumstances of the case. Domestic violence victims can file for what is called a domestic violence restraining order, also called a domestic violence protection order. This is a restraining order that protects victims of domestic violence. This is not a criminal protective order and in many cases does not result in the abuser being criminally prosecuted. However, in some cases, the district attorney can press charges against the abuser and issue a criminal protective order. Also, if the domestic violence restraining order is violated, the abuser can face criminal charges. They can be also found in contempt of court, which means they did not follow a court order. Restraining orders can be fairly complex. They often do not end at preventing the abuser from contacting the victim. They can also prevent the abuser from contacting those close to the victim, such as children, family members living with the victim or even pets. A restraining order can also order the abuser to pay temporary child support and other forms of financial support to the victim. It will also require that the abuser relinquish their ownership to any firearms and ammunition. Because these kinds of restraining orders can require the abuser to follow many rules and guidelines, violating the order is easier than you would think. If you are facing contempt of court charges, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Contempt of court and domestic violence related charges are complex so you will want to be well prepared for your defense.
Are you or a loved one being charged with a domestic violence related charge? Contact attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team for legal help in Tulare, Fresno or Kings County. Experienced in domestic violence defense, our Visalia area legal team can ensure you take the right steps towards having a strong chance in court. Mr. Martens has taken over 50 criminal cases to trial and will not be afraid to take your case all the way. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.