Domestic violence offenses may involve the use of weapons, including firearms. According to California law, a defendant in these cases can face charges for assault with a deadly weapon, as well as other penalties specific to sentencing for domestic violence. In other words, an individual may face serious felony charges if they point a loaded gun at a family member during a heated dispute. Early intervention in domestic violence with firearms helps to strengthen the possibility of charges being reduced or even dismissed. Riverside domestic violence lawyer Gregory H. Comings has represented the criminally accused for more than a decade. Attorney Comings meets the legal needs of clients by providing a tailored, results-oriented legal defense.
Domestic violence is an offense that may be charged when the victim is in an intimate relationship with the defendant and alleges physical or emotional abuse, or stalking. In some cases, the defendant may be charged with domestic violence when they did not have a physical altercation or even touch the victim. For all domestic violence charges, it is necessary that a close relationship exist between the accused and the victim. This relationship may be a parent-child, or a romantic partnership. It can also include siblings, and grandparents.
Pointing a loaded firearm at another person is a crime. There is no requirement the weapon be fired in order to be criminally charged. If, during a domestic dispute, a person points a loaded firearm at their girlfriend, husband, or family member, they can be charged with a serious felony, including assault with a firearm. According to California Penal Code Section 245 (a)(2) PC, the type of weapon involved in the altercation dictates whether the crime is a misdemeanor or felony. For example, assault with a machine gun, assault weapon or semiautomatic firearm is always a felony. If the weapon is not loaded, the defendant can be charged with brandishing a weapon, codified in California Penal Code Section 417 PC. This is an offense that may be charged as misdemeanor or felony, and is not a “strike” offense.
For purposes of domestic violence, if a firearm is involved in criminal allegations that the defendant abused a family member, mandatory sentencing requirements may apply. California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC includes provisions such as the issuance of a domestic violence restraining order. This would prevent the victim from being in contact with the defendant.
A felony conviction for domestic violence with a firearm includes losing the right to own or possess firearms. The defendant may also be required to complete community service, pay mandatory fines, and finish an intervention program aimed at anger management. The judge has the discretion to include other conditions, such as jail time, community labor, and fines.
For all crimes, the burden is upon the State of California to prove all elements of the offense. When there is doubt as to whether the defendant committed the crime, it may be because the evidence is weak. It is also possible that accusations of domestic violence were false. Proving that the allegations are false is challenging, however, despite the reality that family members or partners may act out and falsely accuse the defendant of actions they did not take.
Self-defense or defense of others is a strong defense common to domestic violence charges. It is critical that the use of force for a self-defense claim be reasonable. If your child is pushing you and you punch them in the face, this may not be deemed reasonable.
Accident is another defense that may apply. Additionally, the defendant has the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If there is evidence obtained in violation of these rights, it should not be admitted at trial.
Speaking to an attorney after being accused of domestic violence with a firearm is crucial. By asserting your legal rights in a timely manner, you can help protect yourself from the serious consequences of a conviction. Attorney Gregory H. Comings is prepared to discuss your legal matter and can be reached by phone at (951) 686-3457 or through our online form. We assist clients throughout the areas of Riverside, Highland, Temecula, Indio and Rancho Cucamonga.