Domestic violence is a term that is used to describe various criminal offenses specified in the California Penal Code in which some form of domestic abuse occurred. Exactly what charges are filed against the accused will depend on several factors. Among those reported by a San Diego domestic violence attorney are:
• The relationship between the accused and the alleged victim
• The location where the incident occurred
• The accused’s prior criminal record
• The circumstances surrounding the case
A San Diego domestic violence attorney understands that most people believe that domestic violence can be committed only against a spouse, but California law uses a broader definition. Any of the following relationships may be considered domestic:
• Spouses or former spouses
• Roommates or former roommates
• Individuals who are dating
• Individuals who previously dated
• The parents of a child
• Family members, including parents, siblings, aunts or uncles, nieces or nephews or cousins
Citing California statutory law, a San Diego domestic violence attorney reposts that abuse is an intentional or reckless act that causes or attempts to cause bodily injury or sexual assault or places a person in reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury.
The specific criminal charges a San Diego domestic violence attorney reports as common include:
• PC 273.5: the willful infliction of corporal injury upon a person with whom the accused currently has or formerly had a domestic relationship with.
• PC 243(e): battery against a person with whom the accused has or formerly had a domestic relationship with.
• PC 245: willful assault with a deadly weapon. PC 245 is not limited to domestic violence cases.
Domestic Violence Charges Are Considered Wobblers
A “wobbler” is a case that may be charged either as a misdemeanor or as a felony. There are many factors the district attorney will consider when assessing a domestic violence case. Initially, the nature of the injuries sustained is a primary concern. Serious or debilitating injuries will assuredly trigger felony charges. Other factors to be evaluated include whether the accused used a weapon, whether the alleged victim was a child or dependent adult, if the accused has any prior history of domestic violence or abuse, whether the accused was under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the alleged incident, whether the accused violated a restraining order in place to protect the alleged victim and whether the accused violated terms of probation or parole in committing the alleged acts.
Penalties for Felony Domestic Violence
A conviction carries stiff penalties. Jail time of two, three or four years is typical along with fines and restitution which can exceed $10,000. A mandatory domestic batterer’s counseling program is ordered, which typically requires two meetings a week for one year. Additionally, community service, a restraining order and protective orders are all likely consequences.
Contact a San Diego Domestic Violence Lawyer for Legal Advice
Domestic violence allegations are taken very seriously in California. If you have been accused of such a crime, it is important you fully understand your rights. Begin with a call to James V. Hairgrove, a San Diego domestic violence lawyer, at 619-667-3743.