Facing domestic violence charges can be extremely difficult because you deal with overwhelming negative emotions and the consequences of being convicted of domestic violence. Domestic violence convictions send the convicted behind bars and fines that leave finances bone dry. It is also essential to know that domestic violence does not only involve physical injuries. It also includes but is not limited to emotional abuse, threats, and intimidation, verbal abuse, physical abuse, and harassing or unwanted phone calls or text messages.
Our experienced criminal defense lawyers at Summit Defense are experienced and knowledgeable of the criminal justice system in California. Our law office provides legal services to help you defend your rights and prove your innocence. You can call us at 1 (866) 560-4276 to make an appointment or visit our San Jose Law Offices and avail our free consultation with our experienced domestic violence defense attorney.
WE ARE HIGHLY EXPERIENCED AND AGGRESSIVE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ATTORNEYS
Criminal defense involves protecting the rights of people against wrongful convictions and protecting their constitutional rights. These matters require extensive experience and an aggressive approach. Our criminal defense attorneys at Summit Defense provide legal advice based on years of experience handling various criminal cases.
We adhere strictly to deadlines set by the courts and ensure to give our best in all proceedings. Our clients’ interests are of paramount consideration, and every case is of high value to us. Call us for a free consultation to know more about how you can establish your defenses. Free yourself from worries of imprisonment or paying fines, and contact us as soon as possible.
SAN JOSE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INFORMATION CENTER
- Overview of Domestic Violence
- Definition of Domestic Violence
- What Are the Common Domestic Violence And Related Offenses?
- What Are the Common Defenses Against Domestic Violence?
- What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence Charges in San Jose?
- Local And National Resources for Domestic Violence
- Allegations And Filing Domestic Violence Charges
- Arrest Warrant for Domestic Violence Charges
- Court Process in Domestic Violence Charges
- Plaintiff Can’t Turn Back When a Domestic Violence Charge Has Been Filed
- Evidence in Domestic Violence Cases
- Preventing Testimony in Domestic Violence Trials
- Domestic Violence Conviction Collateral Consequences
- Domestic Violence Cases Involving Children
OVERVIEW OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Domestic violence charges are felony or misdemeanor charges filed against persons alleged to have physically assaulted or caused emotional harm to a victim. Domestic violence can be done through threats, damages to one’s body or property, and abandonment. Domestic violence charges carry penalties that restrict a person’s liberty for years. Some consequences include prison or jail time, criminal court restraining orders, domestic violence counseling, fines, and other penal remedies. It is truly a life-altering situation to deal with.
Our domestic violence lawyers at Summit Defense can help you investigate your case’s pieces of evidence and facts. We also appear in court on your behalf and, in some cases, have the charges reduced or dismissed.
DEFINITION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
In the domestic violence prevention act, California Family Law defines domestic violence as abuse perpetrated against any of the following people:
- A current or former cohabitant
- A spouse or former spouse
- A current or former dating partner
- Any person related by blood or marriage within the second degree
- A person that the accused has a child in common
- The child of the abuser
Domestic abuse is defined as but is not limited to the actual infliction of physical injury or assault. Other activities that cover abuse are:
- Sexual assault
- Intentionally causing body injury
WHAT ARE THE COMMON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES?
- Penal Code Section 273.5 (Domestic Violence) or the Willful Infliction of Corporal Injury. The code states that any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury leading to a traumatic condition to their spouse or former spouse, a cohabitant, former cohabitant, or the mother or father of the child is guilty of a felony. Upon conviction, the individual shall be punished by imprisonment in state prison for four years. It can also be in a county jail for not more than a year or a fine of $6,000 or both.
- Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) (Battery on Spouse/Cohabitant). Suppose the domestic violence in the form of battery is committed against a spouse. In that case, an intimate partner, a person with whom the accused is cohabitating, a fiancé, a parent of the defendant’s child, or a dating or engagement relationship, the battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding $2,000 or imprisonment in a county jail of no more than one year.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON DEFENSES TO A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGE
There are a lot of defenses to domestic violence cases. The courts properly scrutinize domestic violence charges wherein the defendant sets up their defenses. A wrongful conviction fatally deprives a party of its rights. The following are the defenses that a party may raise:
- Self-defense. The primary defense to such charges would be self-defense. In this kind of situation, the defendant should prove that the threat is imminent and sudden and that there was no time to think about and avoid the situation. Also, the means employed to defend oneself should be reasonable, such that there is no foul play or overuse of force.
- Accident. After all, some domestic violence cases can just be mere accidents that are not bound to happen. There could be other intervening circumstances that led to the incident beyond the control of any of the parties. Acts of God, force majeure, and other accidental misfortunes could have caused the accident. This circumstance should free the defendant from liability for lack of criminal intent to abuse anyone.
- False charges. The criminal charges filed against the defendant could be fabricated or false. The case filing may have been motivated by hatred, revenge, jealousy, or other reasons beyond the defendant’s comprehension. The alleged victims could also be motivated by just getting rid of a family member or a spouse for selfish benefits.
An experienced domestic violence attorney will have all the tools and knowledge to allege these defenses properly during the trial. The defense attorney would know the propriety of these defenses, so it is important to consult one to avoid possible prison time and other fines. A domestic violence defense case is crucial with your right to liberty and custody over your children. Call us now at Summit Defense for a free consultation regarding your domestic violence defense.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES AND PUNISHMENTS AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Offense Maximum Imprisonment Maximum Fine
- Misdemeanor up to one year in county jail, $6,000 or both
- The battery on spouse or cohabitant up to one year in county jail, $2,000
- Violation of restraining order none, $1,000
- If it results in physical injuries, up to 30 days in county jail, $2,000 or both
- Domestic violence first offense for four years in state prison, $6,000 or both
- Domestic violence second offense for four years in state prison, $6,000 or both plus 15 days in county jail
- Domestic violence third offense for four years in state prison, $6,000 or both plus 60 days in county jail
The list of penalties above also includes probation periods and other charges if convicted. If the offender is a foreign national or a resident citizen of another country, the punishment of more than one year in prison also entails automatic deportation. As for citizens, a penalty of more than one year of imprisonment bars them from going overseas.
LOCAL AND NATIONAL RESOURCES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence – also known as the partnership, is California’s domestic violence coalition that aims to prevent or address domestic violence in California. The partnership advocates for good policy-making toward the defense of domestic violence victims and the community’s education to prevent further abuses and violence.
Sacramento, CA 95812-1798
Toll Free: 800-524-4765
Stand! For Families Free of Violence – an organization that provides counseling services for all affected by domestic violence.
1410 Danzig Plaza, Suite 100
Concord, CA 94520
Telephone: +1 925 676 2845
Crisis Line: +1 888 215 5555
FAX: +1 925 676 0532
Center for Domestic Peace – a support group for men and women who are victims of domestic violence.
734 A Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
Phone: (415) 457-2464
Fax: (415) 457-6457
TTY: (415) 457-2421
CORA: Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse – provides family support and crisis intervention programs for domestic violence victims. They also provide legal advice and workshops to provide a community of integrity, respect, and love for all.
2211 Palm Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94403
Business Line: 650-652-0800
Alameda Family Services – provides mental health services, childhood education, and family support.
2325 Clement Ave.
Alameda, CA 94501
Community United Against Violence – provides programs for healing victims of abuse and leadership programs to impact communities positively.
Crisis line (415) 333-HELP
427 South Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94103
ph: (415) 777-5500
fax: (415) 777-5565
Abuse, Violence & Anger Cessation Alliance – programs for people with anger or violence problems.
342A – 9th Street, Suite 218
San Francisco, CA 94103
Main: (415) 553‐7825
Fax: (415) 553‐7825
Axis Community Health Mental Health Services offers a 20-week anger management course and counseling for adults, couples, families, and children.
Address: 4361 Railroad Avenue Pleasanton, CA 94566
Phone: (925) 201-6240
“VIP” Violence Intervention Program – a program of the Public Health Department that provides mental health services for trauma survivors and perpetrators.
Community Justice Center
555 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
ph: (415) 292-2565
St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco
crisis line (415) 831-3535
1175 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
ph: (415) 552-2943 x206
Asian Women’s Shelter – Provide emergency shelter, support, and counseling, with specialized services for non-English speaking Asian women and their children.
Crisis line (415) 751-0880
3543 18th Street, #19
San Francisco, CA 94110
ph: (415) 751-7110
fax: (415) 751- 0806
W.O.M.A.N., Inc. – city-wide San Francisco service that provides shelter availability information and has special programs for lesbians and Latina women.
Crisis line (415) 864-4722
333 Valencia, Suite 251
San Francisco, CA 94103
ph: (415) 864-4777
fax: (415) 864-1082
Midway Shelter of Alameda – housing and assistance for women and children suffering from homelessness and domestic violence.
24 hour service: 1-866-A WAY OUT (1-866-292-9688)
Questions: (510) 523-2377 or (510) 357-0205 ext.206
A Safe Place – comprehensive domestic violence services in Oakland for women, girls, and children.
24-Hour Crisis Line: 510.536.7233
Building Futures – provides emergency, temporary, and short-term housing for women and children, leaving family violence.
1395 Bancroft Ave.
San Leandro, CA 94577
Main Line: 510-357-0205
24-Hour Toll-Free Crisis Line
Building Futures – has a specialized children’s program.
1395 Bancroft Ave.
San Leandro, CA 94577
Main Line: 510-357-0205
24-Hour Toll-Free Crisis Line
APA – Family Support Services – provides home visitation to at-risk Asian families with children 0-5; parenting education; and victim support services.
10 Nottingham Place
San Francisco, CA 94133
ph: (415) 206-5450
fax: (415) 206-4778
Family Paths – offices in Oakland, Fremont, and Hayward. Provide family support, counseling services, parenting classes, and referrals to other service providers.
24-hour support and referrals: 1800-829-3777
ALLEGATIONS AND FILING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES
Contact law enforcement to report any domestic violence. Law enforcement takes action through any of the following:
- Calling 911. The alleged victim or witness of the incident should call 911 to report the incident to the police. Arrests shall be made only after the officer has thoroughly investigated the incident.
- Filing of domestic violence charges. The police department may file charges with the District Attorney’s office. The alleged victim can also personally file criminal charges against the perpetrator.
ARREST WARRANT FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES
The police issue an arrest warrant upon filing domestic violence charges against the person charged. An arrest warrant is a written order to take a person into custody. The order is issued by a police officer based upon the affidavit of another person, usually an alleged victim who has filed charges in court. Once the warrant has been issued, it will be sent to a statewide computer system so that all California law enforcement agencies can view the warrant information.
At this point, hiring a San Jose domestic violence defense attorney can help your cause. The accused can avail of the right to counsel immediately upon arrest. The criminal defense lawyer can file a motion to quash the arrest warrant.
COURT PROCESS IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES
Criminal courts are where all domestic violence cases are tried. The court process starts with the prosecutor formally charging the defendant with a crime. The court then will set a trial date and notify the defendant of that trial date and the conditions for bail.
- Arraignment. Defendants are brought into court to hear the charges against them. The defendant shall be informed of the criminal charge and asked to enter a plea. The defendant must decide whether they will fight the charges or accept them.
- Pre-Trial. At this stage, the defendant is entitled to meet with the prosecutor. They can enter into negotiations with the prosecution to obtain a reduction in charges or penalties. The parties will also have the opportunity to examine the evidence that will be presented at trial.
- Trial. The prosecutor and the domestic violence attorney shall present their case and state their arguments before the judge or jury. The accused may choose to testify on their behalf and present evidence that the accused is innocent. The trial proceedings shall be the basis of the final decision on the case.
THE PLAINTIFF CAN’T TURN BACK WHEN A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGE HAS BEEN FILED
Once the plaintiff formally files charges for domestic violence, the State is now legally obligated to complete the case. The State becomes the party to the case because of its nature as a criminal case. The plaintiff now becomes the prosecution’s witness and shall cooperate with the prosecution throughout the proceedings, including giving evidence, deposition, and appearing in court hearings.
An experienced domestic violence attorney can help those charged with domestic violence understand how to address their defense. It will be advantageous to consult an attorney before appearing in court for any hearing or deposition.
EVIDENCE IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES
The pieces of evidence that could be used as the basis for a conviction of domestic violence will vary depending on the specific criminal offense charged. The most commonly seen evidence in a domestic violence case involves eyewitness testimony, 911 tapes, and any audio or video recording of the incident.
These pieces of evidence are helpful because they directly show how the violence occurred. However, the court may also rely on circumstantial evidence in a domestic violence case. In some cases involving injuries, witnesses will be called to testify about how an injury occurred and what the treatment was after the injury was inflicted.
PREVENTING TESTIMONY IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TRIALS
In some instances, testimonial evidence can be disputed as immaterial, or the person testifying is not competent enough to make a fair statement against the defendant. The defendant has the right against self-incrimination, and there are questions in a trial that he may not answer because of that right.
The defendant can also allege that the person testifying is of unsound mind. In a domestic violence case, the victim is deemed incompetent to testify if they cannot comprehend the nature of an oath required of witnesses. A domestic violence attorney has all the knowledge and capabilities to ensure that the defendant’s interests are protected from malicious and incriminating questions.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONVICTION COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES
Domestic violence convictions not only cause the payment of fines and imprisonment. Listed below are some of the collateral consequences of a domestic violence conviction:
- Restraining order. If you are convicted of domestic violence, the Court is required to issue a restraining order against you. There will be no requirement that your spouse asks for this order. Even if your spouse does not want it, the Court must issue one on its own motion. A restraining order violation can result in more criminal charges for you and/or additional civil liability.
- Exercise of the profession. A domestic violence conviction requires that you make a written report to the California State Bar. If you are an attorney, doctor, or nurse, your employer will be notified, and you may face disciplinary proceedings from your licensing board.
- Child custody. You may not be able to have any contact with the child. Even just being charged with domestic violence is likely to result in your spouse requesting sole custody of the children.
- Employment. As a result of the conviction, you may face termination from your job. Being convicted of domestic violence could also result in the denial or revocation of professional and/or business licenses, such as teaching and real estate.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES INVOLVING CHILDREN
The criminal justice system imposes additional penalties if the domestic violence case involves children. A domestic violence case involving children can be classified as child abuse, child neglect, or child endangerment.
- Child abuse is defined under California Penal Code §11165. Such abuse is knowingly causing or permitting a child to suffer pain or mental suffering, which results in an injury to the child’s health, including physical, mental, or emotional well-being.
- Child neglect is also defined under Penal Code §11165. Such neglect occurs when a parent fails to provide necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment for the child.
- Child endangerment is when a person in a domestic relationship with the child or when any person responsible for a child’s welfare recklessly causes or permits the child to be placed in a situation where his/ her health is endangered.
TALK TO SAN JOSE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAWYER TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
Defending the rights of those accused of domestic violence is our cause. Do not be overwhelmed by the charge. Instead, know what to do and learn about your legal rights. Our San Jose domestic violence defense attorney at Summit Defense is here to give you legal advice and establish your defenses. Contact Summit Defense Law Office through our online form or call us at 1 (866) 560-4276 for a free consultation.