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What Are My Options for Defense of Domestic Violence Charges In California?

Posted on in Domestic Violence

San Jose criminal defense attorneyIn the state of California, it is a crime to harm, or threaten to harm, an intimate partner, such as a current or former spouse; current or former cohabitant in a residence; a parent with whom the person has a child; or a partner in a romantic relationship. Common crimes of domestic violence include domestic battery and inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner. This type of conviction can have a devastating impact on the rest of the accused person’s life, as well as penalties and jail time. However, innocent people can also be falsely accused of domestic violence. It is important to understand your rights according to California law in the event you are accused of such crimes.

Types of Domestic Violence

Under California Penal Code, domestic battery is defined as “willful and unlawful use of force or violence against the person of another.” Domestic violence also occurs when an individual's intentional acts lead to a “corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition” suffered by a person with whom the individual has a close relationship. In order to prove the accused is guilty of domestic violence as a misdemeanor according to California law, the state must prove the accused deliberately touched his or her partner in a harmful or offensive manner, the victim is the current or former roommate, or current or ex-spouse of the defendant, and the defendant had no right to self-defense, or defense of others, during the offensive or hurtful act to the victim.

Penalties for Domestic Violence

A conviction for domestic battery can lead to a fine of up to $2,000, up to one year in jail, or both. However, the state can also sentence the accused to probation and mandatory enrollment in counseling services. Depending on the degree of harm suffered by the victim of domestic violence, a battery conviction can also result in imprisonment of up to one year in jail or two to four years in a state prison plus a restraining order.

A felony conviction for corporal injury may result in a sentence of up to one year in jail or two to four years in a state prison, and a fine of up to $6,000, or both.

Defense for Domestic Violence

There could be many reasons why someone is wrongly accused of domestic violence, such as if a partner wants to seek revenge or punish the other partner after a bitter breakup so they create false accusations. Defense of domestic violence crimes can also include:

  • Lack of evidence: Insufficient evidence of injury, as the defendant and the victim are typically the only witnesses.
  • Self defense: A defendant is allowed to use force against another individual to defend him- or herself.
  • Defense of others: A defendant is entitled to use force against another person to protect his or her family.
  • Intoxication: If the defendant was severely intoxicated and did not understand what he or she was doing.
  • Mistaken facts: If the defendant believed he or she had consent to touching.
  • Statute of limitations: The state’s district attorney must prosecute the case within a year of the event that lead to the charges.
  • Coerced confessions: If the defendant’s confession was coerced, it could be inadmissible in a courtroom.

Contact a San Francisco Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

If you are facing a domestic violence charge in California, you have the right to legal representation. The accusations against you might not be accurate, so it is best to speak to a diligent San Jose criminal defense lawyer to learn your options for defense. The Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson will examine the evidence for any possible mitigating circumstances. Call 408-246-3004 for a free consultation today.

 

Sources:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=243.&lawCode=PEN

http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/domestic-violence-domestic-abuse-definitions-and-relationships.aspx

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