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Domestic abuse conviction in the State of California, what are the penalties for conviction?

Posted by Christopher Martens | Jan 30, 2024 | 0 Comments

Domestic abuse conviction in the State of California, what are the penalties for conviction?

California will penalize the abuser for at least three full years of probation, a jail sentence, and complete and certified completion of any 52-week batterer's program that is mandatory for the abuser to attend. This program will require the abuser to attend at least one session of the program every week, for at least two hours. If the abuser completes the two penalties, they will be released from their conviction.

Normally, judges demand convicts of domestic violence to spend at least 30 days in jail, but this isn't something set in stone. Certain judges also allow the defendants to just serve probation, if it is their first offense ever, or if their victim hasn't incurred any substantial injuries. Felony convictions can carry up to a whopping four-year jail sentence. The punishment for a conviction tends to lengthen, in case the defendant has been charged with similar offenses in the last seven years. Injuries suffered by victims that can lead to felony prosecution include broken bones, severe and harsh trauma that results in permanent harm to the brain or body, and wounds that need sutures.

In addition to that, the courts in California are ordered to give a protective command/order to protect the complainant against criminal threats, violence, sexual and physical abuse, residence exclusion, stalking, and other harm inflicted by their abuser. Additionally, the Penal Code section 1203.097 demands the abuser to issue a payment of $400 to the domestic violence organizations and programs.

The Kern County District Attorney's (DA's) office normally does not seek any fine but wants the abuser to go through a 15 to 30-day jail time as a penalty. An alternative for jail time is serving in the sheriff's jail work program known as SWAP. There is an enrollment fee for the SWAP program and serving each day in the program costs around ten dollars. There is another fine known as the victim's fund fine. This statutory fine costs about $100 and the abuser has to pay $200 as the domestic violence fund fine too.

Additionally, the supervision for monthly probation costs around $40/month. There are probation supervision charges, as well as mandatory court security expenses. Defendants can face a jail sentence of around 365 days in the county's jail along with a hefty $2,000 fine. Normally, judges don't impose this tough sentence but do so in case the defendant goes against the rules and regulations pertinent to their probation period.

Defendants have no right to own guns or any other arms, while they are on probation or if they are convicted of Domestic Violence in Bakersfield.

If a defendant fails to meet their probation's requirements, they are sentenced to harsh jail time. Their requirements include undergoing a drug test whenever asked to, getting counseling for anger management, taking substance abuse tests, and classes for controlling their abuse. After a defendant begins taking batterer's counseling in a program approved by the court, they can request their judge to cancel the restraining order issued against them to the victim. This can only happen if the victim comes to the court and willingly gives their consent for the cancellation of their abuser's restraining or protection order. If the defendant has been convicted of domestic violence in the past, they are bound to experience harsher penalties.

In case the abuser is an immigrant, being convicted of domestic violence could get them deported from the country, or result in denial of complete naturalization, even if that person is a resident of the country. Conviction of domestic violence is termed as a moral turpitude crime and it can be used for accusation and impeachment in the subsequent prosecutions.

Some abusers experience second thoughts on entering a ‘guilty' plea. If they want to take back their plea, they have to make that motion as fast as they can, soon after they have entered the guilty plea. They also need to have a good reason to convince the judge to allow them to take their plea back. There are some reasons that judges might accept, such as that the penalty you will get is worse than what you had bargained for when you made the guilty plea. A wrong plea can get withdrawn in case the defendant wasn't aware of any of the conviction's consequences at the point when they plead guilty. The consequences must be serious, like getting deported from the country or losing an important civil right. Grounds such as they're innocent or they have altered your mind regarding the guilty plea, or they aren't ready to take domestic abuse classes aren't reasonable at all.

Once a defendant gets convicted of domestic abuse, they will be placed on probation and the judge might ask them how well they're performing in their batterer's program. Probationers normally arrive around 8.30 am, before the starting time of the court, and then get in touch with the officer of the courtroom probation. If no problem exists, they are provided with a new date and then the defendant leaves before the court begins. In case you arrive early and are asked by the officer to stay, it is most likely that there is some problem and you must not make any statement to the court judge and should get a domestic abuse lawyer to talk on your behalf. This happens mostly when the victim calls to complain about the defendant to the D.A. In this case, you along with your attorney should go over all the evidence filed against you and you should ask them to contact the judge as well.

When a person gets convicted of a domestic abuse crime, they will also have to pay restitution for the hospital bills, numerous years of laborious probation that is supervised by different departments such as the county jail and probation department, and they might also get a prison term that depends on how severely their victim was harmed and injured. If the victim was badly injured then their case will be extremely tough to defend. If they get charged with felony domestic abuse and violence, they have a monstrous problem at hand. In addition, to get a domestic violence lawyer, they need therapy. They would have to attend the therapy sessions, enroll in a proper program created for controlling domestic violence, attend substance abuse or alcohol control meetings, and collect substantial proof that they have attended all these sessions, courses, and classes. The better the proof is, the more difference it will make at their sentencing.

The penalty a defendant faces depends a lot on the nature of their case. The California Penal Code 243(e) (1) is normally known as ‘domestic battery' or ‘battery'. According to the code, the battery is explained as any willful action that has the potential of inflicting injury on another person.

The code further defines it as a hurtful and willful act carried out for injuring that person's domestic partner, also referred to as DP. A DP can be a girlfriend/ boyfriend, fiance, cohabiting partner, spouse, or parent of your kid. Harmful activities inflicting injuries can be kicking, punching, grabbing a person's shirt, and hitting them. These are referred to as ‘low-end' activities to inflict injuries, but they can be serious too. This code also states that one has to spend a year in jail and pay a $2,000 fine for these crimes.

The California Penal Code 273{d) is slightly different from the first one, as it is pertinent to the abuse inflicted upon children. This code deals mainly with physical harm like a hard slap that leaves a bruise, bruising and fighting a kid, beating a child severely with a hard object or a belt, or hitting the child with any other thing that tends to leave marks on their body. These injuries need to be caused willingly by the abuser for the victim to press charges against them. This code is used for charging the offense as a felony or misdemeanor. The charge is dependent on the case's facts and the history of both the victim and the abuser. If the defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor, then they will spend 365 days in jail. They will also have to pay a fine of around $6,000. Completing a child's abuse program and getting probation are practical options for defendants working with seasoned attorneys.

California Penal Code 273.5 is normally known as corporal abuse or spousal abuse.

This code is applicable if the supposed abuse took place between two intimate partners like a boyfriend and a girlfriend, or former close partners, spouses, fiances, or an ex-partner with whom the defendant shares children. Physical injuries inflicted on the victim must be proven properly with reasonable evidence, unlike in the Penal Code 243 {e) {1). In addition, proof should be presented to the judge in the court, if the victim wants to charge the defendant with this code. These domestic abuse cases can be put on trial as felonies or misdemeanors; their punishment depends on the defendant's history as well as on the nature of the injuries incurred by the victim. A misdemeanor conviction tends to result in a jail sentence for a whole year or even probation if the defendant has a clean record. They can also face a fine of around $6,000. In case, they are convicted of a felony, they would have to do a jail time of around four years.

The California Penal Code 368 is related to elder abuse. It covers physical and emotional abuse, financial abuse, theft, and neglect experienced by a victim of domestic violence. A charge following this code can be dealt with as a felony or misdemeanor. A misdemeanor conviction can result in a jail sentence of a maximum of one year, with a fine and probation. A felony conviction can result in a jail sentence of a maximum four years. The penalty received by the abuser depends on their history as well as on the injuries inflicted on their victim. Defendants with a non-existent or limited criminal record have better chances of having no jail sentence, whereas those with huge records have less chances of getting probation without having any jail time.

About the Author

Christopher Martens

Bio Visalia and Bakersfield criminal defense attorney who has dedicated his life to helping those who have been accused of crimes or injured due to the negligence of others.


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