California domestic violence laws prohibit physical violence in nearly any close relationship. They apply not only to violence between spouses, but also between boyfriends and girlfriends, former partners, parents of the same child and anyone who lives together. Unlike ordinary assault and battery laws, domestic violence laws allow victims to request a restraining order or protective order and sometimes separate parents from their children. In fact, this can happen before any conviction. That's why HOWARD LAW recommends that you call our Riverside County domestic violence defense lawyers as soon as you realize you will be charged.
Domestic violence cases frequently pit one person's word against another. When there are no witnesses, law enforcement officers essentially have to choose whose story they believe. In fact, state law allows officers to arrest someone for domestic violence even if the "victim" no longer wants the person arrested, and even if there's no real physical damage done. This can protect real victims of domestic violence, but it can also create injustices when police jump to conclusions. For example, even though state law acknowledges that both men and women can be victims of domestic violence, officers are much more likely to arrest the man. That's sometimes true even when the physical evidence tells a different story.
The consequences of a domestic violence conviction can affect every part of your life. Long before any trial can take place, the accuser is eligible to get an emergency protective order that prohibits the accused from coming home or seeing children. This can even happen while the accused is spending a night in jail. Domestic abuse can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony, according to the prosecutor's judgment of how serious the case was. A misdemeanor conviction means up to a year in county jail, while a felony conviction carries up to three years in prison and may count as a "strike" under the three-strikes law. In either case, defendants may also be subject to:
- Anger management classes
- Substance abuse classes
- Community service
- Court-ordered contributions to anti-domestic violence funds
- Long-term restraining orders keeping them away from the accuser and family members
- Problems with child custody
- Restrictions on their Second Amendment rights
- Trouble finding or keeping a job
In short, a domestic violence charge can take away your freedom and substantially disrupt your life, even after you've finished serving time. Our Los Angeles County domestic violence attorneys believe these are disproportionately high penalties for a domestic fight that got out of hand.
If you're accused of domestic violence in California, don't hesitate to call Howard Law for help. To set up a consultation, you can call us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925 or contact us through the Internet today.