Criminal Defense Domestic Violence FAQ’s
What is domestic violence? – Domestic violence refers to abuse that is physical, sexual, and/or psychological in nature. Incidents of domestic violence usually take place within a family setting and can happen between spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, siblings, and other close family members. Domestic abuse behaviors may include: sexual assault, physical assault, verbal threats, harassment, stalking, or manipulation.
Is domestic violence a misdemeanor or felony? – Domestic violence is usually classified as a misdemeanor. However, domestic violence charges may be classified as a felony if the offender caused: injury to a minor, sexually assaulted the victim, sexually assaulted a minor, caused the victim bodily harm, has prior domestic violence convictions, or has prior criminal convictions.
What happens if I am convicted of domestic violence? – Each case varies and the legal consequences will depend upon the seriousness and extent of your criminal charges. If you are convicted of domestic violence, you may be sentenced with jail time, fines, probation, community service, or counseling. Additionally, you may have to adhere to the terms of a restraining order or orders of protection.
Can my domestic violence charges be dropped? – Once a person is charged with domestic violence by California law enforcement, his/her charges cannot be dropped unless the prosecutor handling his/her cases decides to drop them. This means that even if the person who pressed the charges wishes to have the charges dropped, he/she will not have the power to do so once law enforcement is involved.
Should I hire an attorney? – If you have been charged with domestic violence, it is in your best interest to retain the services of a qualified criminal defense attorney. You will want to hire a defense lawyer who has successfully handled a variety of prior domestic violence cases and who is familiar with your local judicial system.
What can an attorney do for me? – Your domestic violence attorney will provide valuable legal counsel throughout the criminal process and also place every effort into maintaining your defense both in and out of court. In some cases, your domestic violence lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors to have your charges dismissed or your sentence reduced. Often times, an attorney can arrange for his/client to be placed on probation or to undergo counseling instead of having to spend time in jail.