A Favorable Exchange
In certain criminal cases, a defendant, or, more likely, his or her attorney, may be able to negotiate a plea bargain. A plea bargain is essentially a deal between the defendant and the prosecuting attorney. Typically, the defendant receives a lesser charge in exchange for a guilty plea. Plea bargains serve both the prosecuting attorney's and the defendant's interests. The court wants to avoid trial and support the efficiency of the judicial system. The defendant in all likelihood wants to walk away with a lesser charge. Plea bargains are, in a limited respect, win/win outcomes. But negotiating a plea bargain for a domestic violence charge can be difficult. Domestic violence offenses are serious charges and are aggressively prosecuted by the State of California. You should talk with an attorney if you have specific questions about plea bargains in your individual case. In the meantime, here is some information about domestic violence plea bargains that can help you have a more productive consultation with an attorney once you speak with one.
DV Plea Bargains
It's important to understand how a plea bargain can benefit you before you agree to one. A domestic violence plea bargain may not necessarily result in your charge being reduced to a non-domestic violence charge. California domestic violence charges vary in severity; some are charged as misdemeanors and some as felonies. Some can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If you are offered a plea bargain, you may simply have your charge reduced to a less severe one. Many attorneys have managed to reduce their clients' charges from felony domestic violence charges to misdemeanor charges. For example, you may be able to get a felony corporal injury to a spouse charge reduced to a misdemeanor spousal battery charge. You stand a far greater chance of getting your charge reduced if this is your first domestic violence offense and if the alleged victim was not seriously injured. Such a reduction will make a big difference in terms of what penalties the court may impose, but your charge will still carry with it all the implications of a domestic violence charge, such as batterers' intervention classes, loss of your gun rights, and a restraining order.
If you are determined to avoid a domestic violence conviction and all the penalties that come with it, a plea bargain may not be a good choice for you. Instead, you should consult with an attorney about how to defend yourself against your charges. If you cannot reduce your charge to a non-domestic violence charge, you may need to go to trial. Likewise, if you are facing false allegations, it may not be wise to accept a plea bargain. In some cases involving false allegations, going to trial is the best course of action.
There are limitations to domestic violence plea bargains, one of the biggest of which is the lack of leniency you will face if you have any prior offenses or if the alleged victim suffered from serious injuries. But, remember, every case is unique, and that is why you need to speak with an attorney to better understand the options unique to your particular case.
Although it may be difficult to negotiate a plea bargain for a domestic violence offense, a skilled California domestic violence defense attorney can significantly increase your chance of success. Having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney help you with your case is essential. Domestic violence charges are taken very seriously, and neither the prosecuting attorney nor the judge is likely to let you off easy. Consult with an attorney if you are facing domestic violence charges. An attorney can evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case, advise you of the penalties the court may impose on you and help you determine the wisest course of action to get you a favorable outcome.
Are you facing domestic violence charges? Visalia area criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens can assist you with fighting your charges and help you reach a favorable outcome. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Mr. Martens has handled thousands of cases and has taken over 50 to trial. Attorney Christopher Martens has the skills and knowledge needed to defend your rights. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert criminal defense counsel. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.