San Bernardino Domestic Violence Attorney
San Bernardino Practice Areas
San Bernardino Domestic Violence Lawyer
How Does California Define Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence involves someone who is or has been in a close relationship with another person. They are assaulted or face threats of abuse from the person they were in that relationship with. These instances of abuse can be between blood relatives or couples in a relationship. However, the dynamic involves one party causing harm to another. Domestic violence laws define abuse as including:
- Intentionally trying to cause bodily injury to another person
- Participating in harassing, stalking, threatening, or displaying aggressive behavior toward another individual
- Disturbing another person’s peace
- Sexual assault
- Causing a reasonable fear of impending severe physical harm to another person through threats of violence
- Causing damage to someone else’s property
Actions that constitute abuse include:
- Hair pull
- Thrown item
- Intimidation tactic
- Instance of stalking
- Restricting their freedom of movement
Physical damage is not always needed to prove domestic abuse. Abuse can be verbal, emotionally manipulative, or consist of psychological manipulation. In cases where the alleged abuse is not physical, witness testimony and statements from the victim are used to file charges.
What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence in California?
- Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant: If the damage you caused led to a traumatic condition, you could be charged with corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant. An injury or wound is categorized as a traumatic condition in these circumstances. Any degree of bruising is considered traumatic, with more severe injuries providing more evidence for a conviction. In this instance, emotional discomfort is not considered a form of corporal injury because these injuries are purely physical. The prosecution must establish criminal intent behind the action, usually exhibited through verbal or written threats of violence. These crimes are often tried as felonies.
- Spousal Battery: Spousal battery is defined by the California Penal Code as the purposeful and illegal use of force against a spouse or cohabitant. To be charged and prosecuted for spousal battery, the victim is not required to exhibit any outward signs of injury. However, in these instances, they must prove emotional or mental manipulation was committed by the defendant. Convictions of spousal battery will most often end in misdemeanor charges.
- Sexual assault
- Assault with a weapon
- Domestic violence
- Attempted assault
What Are the Consequences of Domestic Violence in California?
The repercussions of a domestic violence conviction in California can include:
- Mandatory minimum jail time
- Domestic violence restitution classes
- Payment of fines to the state or the victim
- Restraining orders (or protective orders)
- The loss of parental rights
- The loss of California gun rights
- The establishment of a criminal record
- Immigration repercussions for non-citizens, such as deportation
Even if the defendant is given a summary or formal probationary sentence, most of these repercussions still stand.
For some previously convicted felons, a domestic violence charge can mean harsher legal consequences. The Three Strikes Law applies to felonies that are regarded as violent or serious offenders due to their prior convictions. California Penal Code 667.5 defines violent felonies, and Penal Code 1192.7 defines serious felonies (c).
You may face charges of assault with a dangerous weapon if you use a weapon during a domestic violence episode, in addition to domestic violence charges. It can constitute physical abuse against a spouse or domestic battery if the other party suffers injuries because of a domestic violence incident. If you have already received two charges under the three-strike legislation, your punishments will be harsher. They may even involve a lengthy prison term.
Is a Lawyer Necessary for Domestic Violence Cases?
Although you do not legally need a lawyer for your criminal case, the help of a defense attorney is essential when standing trial. In domestic violence cases, your attorney can evaluate your side of the story as well as any witness testimonies and evidence presented by the prosecution. They can use this information to create a strong defense. The Sixth Amendment guarantees your right to counsel in any legal matter. With charges as serious as domestic violence cases, this representation can be the only thing between you and prison time. For those affected by the Three Strikes Law, your lawyer can help analyze the case to see if there is the potential for reduced sentencing. However, this is a rare occurrence in these circumstances.
San Bernardino Domestic Violence Attorneys
As soon as you receive any domestic violence charges, your first instinct should be to find a defense attorney. Because of how long these charges can follow you into your future, and the social stigma attached to a guilty verdict in these cases, creating a compelling defense is essential. This can help you avoid the harsh consequences of these convictions. For domestic violence defense services in San Bernardino, contact Exum Law Offices today.