Domestic Violence Defense

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is defined in a few different sections of the California Penal Code. Domestic battery, as it is defined in section 243(e)1, is a misdemeanor. Domestic battery is defined as any willful and unlawful touching that is offensive and that is committed against the defendant’s spouse or former spouse, their cohabitant or former cohabitant, their fiancé(e) or former fiancé(e), a person that they have dated in the past or that they are currently dating, or the parent of their child. In this case, a visible injury does not need to be present in order for a conviction. In California Penal Code 273.5, it defines corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant. It states that it is illegal to inflict a corporal injury that results in a traumatic condition. An injury as described in this penal code section could be either a bruise or a laceration; as long as it is a visible injury it would count. The person inured must be an intimate partner meaning it could be a current or past fiancé(e), a cohabitant, a current or past spouse or dating partner, or the parent of your child.  If you are being accused you need to hire a criminal attorney and start preparing your domestic violence defense.

Testifying as a Victim of Domestic Violence

California civil code 1219 states that domestic violence does not want to testify, they do not have to and cannot be put in jail for their refusal to testify about their assault or domestic violence case. They can, however, be held in contempt of court and may have to pay fines or do community service. In order to be held in contempt of court these individuals have to first be referred to a domestic violence counselor.  Domestic violence defense attorney Karren Kenney would be able to explain this to you in further detail.

You Need a Domestic Violence Defense to Avoid Immigration Consequences

California considers most domestic violence offenses to be crimes of “moral turpitude”, so if a person is convicted of these crimes, they will be deported. If you or someone you know is being charged with domestic violence and are not a citizen, it is in your best interest to fight these charges and prepare your domestic violence defense in order to avoid them. If these charges are not successfully avoided, then you could lose the chance to become naturalized.

Domestic Violence Defenses

Self-defense or the defense of others are two viable defenses to being charged with domestic violence. If a person was reacting to either protect themselves or others in their vicinity, then their actions would not necessarily be considered domestic violence. If the person was falsely accused of domestic violence, then the false accusation can also be used as a defense mechanism.

Domestic Violence Penalties and Sentences

For penal code 243, because it is considered a misdemeanor, the maximum sentence can be up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Penal code 273.5 is considered a felony; therefore, the potential sentence can be 2,3, or 4 years in state prison or more than one year in jail as well as a potential fine of up to $6,000. In most counties, there is a 30 day minimum jail sentence even for first time misdemeanors and judges almost always require a 1 year domestic battery class.  A domestic violence charge goes on a person’s permanent criminal record, therefore, it is pertinent that if charged, the person seek the advice of a domestic violence defense attorney.

Ready to fight for you!

If you or a loved one is facing an arson charge, you need an aggressive domestic violence defense lawyer on your side. With offices in Costa Mesa and San Diego, we serve people throughout Southern California. Call (855) 505-5588 to start preparing your domestic violence defense. 

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