Defining Domestic Violence in California
In a domestic violence case, the prosecution must prove certain elements when it charges you. Those elements differentiate criminal battery and assault and domestic violence. The elements include proving that the person who accused you is:
- A current or former spouse
- Your fiancé or fiancée
- Your child’s co-parent
- Someone you lived with or who lived with you
In addition, the prosecution must prove that you willfully and unlawfully used force or violence against the other person. There are different penal codes that address the severity of violence, and each entails a different outcome if convicted.
Discuss the details of your case with our experienced board-certified criminal defense lawyer.
Can a Domestic Violence Charge Be Expunged in California?
Yes, under certain circumstances, you can have a domestic violence charge or conviction expunged from your record. Typically, these are misdemeanor cases that do not include sexual assault or violence perpetrated on minors. If the case is a felony, you would need to get it reduced to a misdemeanor before you can have it expunged. Also, if you did not follow the terms of your probation or if you have additional convictions on your record, you could be denied an expungement.
Will a Domestic Violence Charge Keep Me From Getting a Job?
It is possible to be denied employment with any violent crime charge or conviction on your record. While it depends on the type of employment, you may be unable to get certain jobs requiring a professional license or a job working with vulnerable populations such as children or the elderly.
Is a Domestic Violence Charge a Felony in California?
Domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. It is most often a misdemeanor unless any of the following apply:
- A minor suffered injury or sexual assault
- An adult suffered serious injury or was sexually assaulted
- The defendant has previous convictions for domestic assault or additional crimes
Does a Domestic Violence Charge Stay On Your Record in California?
You may be able to get charges expunged if they were dropped or you were found not guilty. However, the expungement process is complex, so it is best to work with a lawyer.
Will a Domestic Violence Charge Prevent Gun Ownership?
A conviction of domestic violence will affect your ability to own firearms and can begin soon after the charges are filed. The judge may require that the person facing charges cannot possess, own or use a firearm. If the defendant is convicted, California state law prohibits them from gun use or ownership for ten years. However, federal law may result in a ban on firearms for the rest of your life. This can be a confusing issue that is best discussed with an attorney.
Contact Our Torrance Domestic Violence Lawyer Today For a Free Consultation
Our firm focuses on providing solutions for Californians facing criminal charges. We will provide you with an aggressive defense and a creative strategy to reach the best possible resolution. Protect your freedom with our board-certified criminal defense attorney at Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP.
Call our Torrance office at (310) 361-3068 or you can request your appointment by completing this online contact form.
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Michelle has had a profound impact on my life. She not only has a firm grasp of legal matters, but also of human emotions. This dynamic duo worked all hours of the day and night on my case. They exerted effort way beyond the amount that I had paid them.- Khadijeh K.
If you are in need of a great attorney with an abundance of experience as well as a very professional office staff who constantly will keep you updated, call Ernenwein & Mathes!- Jake L.
They are the gold standard for defense attorneys. A+- Former Client
Common Defenses Against a Domestic Violence Charge in California
There are many defenses that can be raised in response to a domestic violence charge. The most common include:
- Self-defense: This is probably the most common defense to domestic violence charges. If you can show that you were only acting in self-defense to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of violence, then you may be able to avoid a conviction. Often, because domestic violence cases involve people who know each other, it can be difficult to determine who was the aggressor. This is especially true when the incident took place inside the home, where only the people involved know what really happened. However, leveraging other forms of evidence, such as text messages, emails, or medical records, can help raise this defense and show who the real aggressor was.
- False accusation: Unfortunately, it is not an uncommon occurrence for people to make false domestic violence accusations against an ex-spouse or partner out of spite. If you can provide evidence that the accuser has a motive to lie or that there are inconsistencies in their story, then you may be able to prove that the charges are false. This can be demonstrated through electronic communications, character witnesses, or other forms of evidence. It must show that the accuser is not being truthful about what happened in order to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.
- Lack of evidence: In any criminal case, the prosecution must prove the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that they must have enough evidence to show that you are guilty and that no other plausible explanation exists for what happened. If the prosecution’s case is based solely on the testimony of the accuser and there is no other evidence to corroborate their story, you may get the charges dismissed.
- Mistaken identity: If you can show that you were not the person who committed the domestic violence, then you will not be guilty of the charges. This is often seen in cases where multiple people live in the same household and someone else is accused of domestic violence. However, it can also happen when the accuser mistakenly identifies you as the perpetrator. If you have an alibi or other evidence to show that you were not the one who committed the violence, then you should be able to avoid a conviction.
If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to determine which defenses may be applicable in your case. An attorney can also help you learn more about the criminal justice system and protect your rights.
What is the Process for a Domestic Violence Case in California?
If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, it is important to understand the process so that you can be prepared for what’s to come. The process will vary depending on the jurisdiction, but some general steps are typically followed.
- Arrest: The first step in the process is usually an arrest. If the police are called to a domestic violence incident, they will likely make an arrest if they can determine that a crime was likely committed. If you are arrested, you will be taken to jail and will have to post bail to be released. Even if the victim does not actively want to press charges, the state may choose to pursue charges on its own, or the victim may change their mind and decide to cooperate with the prosecution.
- Arraignment: After you have been arrested, you will be taken to court for an arraignment. This is where the charges against you will be read, and you will be asked to enter a plea. You can plead not guilty, guilty, or no contest. A guilty plea will result in a conviction, and sentencing will proceed. If you plead not guilty, then the case will move on to the next stage. This is the moment where you should have an attorney present to help you make the best decision for your case.
- Discovery: During discovery, both the prosecution and defense will have an opportunity to gather evidence. The prosecution will turn over any evidence they have to the defense, and the defense will do the same. This is also the time when each side will decide which witnesses they want to have testify at trial. Common occurrences during the discovery process include depositions and motion hearings. This is a critical stage of the process because it will allow your attorney to see the evidence against you and start planning your defense.
- Pretrial motions: After discovery is complete, each side will have an opportunity to file pretrial motions. These are motions that ask the judge to rule on specific issues related to the case. For example, the defense may file a motion to suppress illegally obtained evidence. If the judge grants the motion, then the evidence will not be able to be used at trial. This is just one example of a pretrial motion that could be filed. Pretrial motions are generally filed to get the case dismissed or improve the chances of success at trial.
- Trial: If the case does not settle during pretrial proceedings, it will go to trial. At trial, both sides will present their evidence and witnesses. The jury will then deliberate and reach a verdict. If you are found guilty, then sentencing will proceed.
- Sentencing: The judge will hand down a sentence if you are convicted of domestic violence. The sentence will vary depending on the severity of the crime and your criminal history. In some cases, you may be sentenced to probation and ordered to complete a domestic violence counseling program. In other cases, you may be sentenced to jail time. Your attorney can work to reduce your sentence and help you get the best possible outcome in your case if you decide not to appeal.
- Appeal: If you are convicted, you have the right to appeal the decision if you disagree with the outcome of the case. A higher court will review the case to determine if there were any mistakes during the trial that led to an unfair outcome. If the court finds that there were errors, it may reverse the conviction or order a new trial.
Expungement is Rarely a Straightforward Process
If you are considering expungement for domestic violence charges or convictions, it is a good idea to consult an attorney first. These cases are complex and you do not want to make a mistake in the process that hurts your chances. Speak with us today.
Consequences of A Domestic Violence Conviction in California
Penalties For A Domestic Violence Conviction Are Not Limited To Jail Time
The potential penalties for a domestic violence conviction exceed fines and jail time. The allegation itself can negatively impact your career, your reputation and your peace of mind. A conviction can limit or take away freedoms that the Constitution entitles you to. Contact one of our criminal defense attorneys to discuss your case.
Our lawyers combined have practiced criminal law for more than 60 years. Robert Ernenwein is a former Los Angeles deputy district attorney, and he will utilize his knowledge of how the prosecution works to identify your best possible solutions. At Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, we provide clients with the aggressive criminal defense their case needs. You can rely on us to fight for your freedom as if we were at risk of losing our own.
The Consequences For A Domestic Violence Conviction In California
Domestic violence cases can be emotionally taxing. When children are involved in this type of allegation, as a parent you could be at risk of losing parental rights or custody. The court will likely issue a criminal protective order forbidding you from having contact with your loved ones, and you will be at risk of losing your ability to own or purchase a firearm. In addition, your reputation as an employee or employer can be at stake due to the allegation. Other legal penalties will vary depending on the severity of the charge.
The three common penal codes for domestic violence include CA Penal Code 243(e)(1), which is a misdemeanor; CA Penal Code 243(d); and CA Penal Code 273.5, which is a felony.
- CA PC 243(e)(1) can result in fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to one year in jail.
- CA PC 243(d) can result in one year in jail or two to four years of imprisonment and a restraining order.
- CA PC 273.5 can result in up to one year of jail time or two to four years’ imprisonment and up to $6,000 in fines.
While a criminal defense attorney can advocate for alternative probation sentencing for a misdemeanor, the prosecution can pursue additional penalties. Our criminal defense attorneys are ready to prepare a solid defense to defend your rights.
Aggressive Criminal Defense For Your Domestic Violence Charge
Our lawyers at Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, will aggressively defend your freedom and protect your rights. We will provide you with professional legal guidance to direct you toward a positive resolution for your domestic violence charge.
Contact one of our attorneys for your honest case evaluation. Call (310) 361-3068 for your free consultation at our Torrance office. You can also contact us online.
As bad as a misdemeanor conviction is, a felony 136.1 conviction is even worse. A felony conviction could lead to 16 months to four years in a California state prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Given these extremely harsh potential consequences, wouldn’t you want only the most aggressive, knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense counsel on your side?
What do prosecutors need to show to convict me of intimidating or dissuading a witness?
To be convicted of violating California Penal Code Section 136.1, witness intimidation, the prosecutor must show:
You maliciously tried to prevent or discourage a witness from:
- giving testimony at judicial proceeding or inquiry
- making a report that the witness or someone else was a victim of a crime
- cooperating or providing information so that a complaint (or other charging document) could be sought and prosecuted and from helping to prosecute that action
- arresting or causing or seeking the arrest of someone in connection with a crime
2. You acted with intent.
Should I Hire A Torrance Juvenile Attorney For My Child?
The right counsel can help you avoid pitfalls that may arise in the case, such as the juvenile court’s determination that the case is serious enough (i.e., felony) to justify your child being charged and tried as an adult. If your child is tried as an adult, his or her case is moved to adult criminal court, and if convicted, may go to prison with adult offenders.
The defense lawyers at Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, have handled over 1,000 juvenile cases over the course of their combined 60 years of experience. We will make every possible effort to allow your child to remain in juvenile court. We can attend your child’s fitness hearing, where the court makes the decision regarding whether to try your child as an adult or a juvenile. Psychiatric reports, probation reports and legal arguments can be arranged to help convince the juvenile court to retain its jurisdiction over the minor.
As Robert Ernenwein is a former Los Angeles deputy district attorney, the lawyers at Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, know the criminal process inside out, giving them a distinct edge when they represent you in court. They are well-respected and well-known by Los Angeles prosecutors and judges.
If your child has been charged in a criminal case, contact Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, Los Angeles and Orange County criminal defense lawyers today at (310) 361-3068 for a free case review.
What Kind Of Punishment Will My Child Received If She Or He Is Convicted?
Generally, punishments fall into four different categories. First, your child may be sent home on probation. Second, the juvenile may be sent to a placement facility within the community, such as a boys’ or girls’ home. Third, the juvenile may be sent to a camp facility. The camp may be a short-term camp and last as little as four months or as long as 12 months. Finally, your child may be sent to DJJ, which is a juvenile version of an adult state penitentiary.
If My Child Is Convicted, Will The Conviction Remain On His Criminal Record?
If you hire us, we will try to get your child’s case deviated out of the criminal justice system through deferred entry of judgement or to seek informal probation with dismissal or a dismissal after formal probation. If we can secure these as conviction/sentencing options, the offense will not go on his or her criminal record. If a plea of no contest or conviction occurs in a case, the record can be sealed after the juvenile’s 18th or 21st birthday.
My Child Has Been Taken Into Custody. What Can He/She Be Charged With?
Depending on the seriousness of the charged offense, the prosecutor can file either misdemeanor or felony charges. If a minor is convicted of a misdemeanor, he will be placed on probation, detained in a juvenile facility, such as a boot camp or a ranch, ordered to pay a fine or a combination of these punishments. If the minor is convicted of an infraction, such as a motor vehicle violation, he or she will usually be punished with a fine.
However, the minor will face much more severe consequences if he is convicted of a felony. The court may sentence to incarceration in a state institution, such as the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), which is the equivalent to a state prison sentence for adults. In addition to or in the alternative, the court may order house arrest (electronic monitoring), commitment in a youth center, probation, parole or undergoing treatment programs.
There are rules and procedures that are unique to the California Juvenile Court and, therefore, make it very different from adult criminal court. For instance, juveniles are not entitled to jury trials (the theory being that, since juveniles are being rehabilitated rather than punished, they are not entitled to all protections otherwise afforded adult criminals). Juveniles also have no right to bail.
If You Were Not Drunk When The Fatal Crash OccurredEven if you were not drunk when the accident took place, you could still be charged with vehicular manslaughter. The prosecution will need to show that you committed an unlawful act while driving and were grossly negligent. For example, if you were speeding or driving recklessly, it could be considered an unlawful act. Gross negligence could come into play, too, which basically means you disregarded the safety of others.