Domestic Violence and Internet Crimes
Traditionally, domestic violence crimes refer to physical assault, or threat of assault. Domestic violence can also be committed online, through the internet. Online forums and websites also provide a way for dangerous harassment and threats to occur. When the perpetrator of a criminal offense has a specific relationship with the victim, the State of California may classify an offense as a domestic violence crime. Riverside domestic violence lawyer Gregory H. Comings understands the importance of assessing the evidence in all crimes and assessing the potential for legal defenses that mitigate criminal charges. In addition to domestic violence and internet crimes, our office assists clients in Riverside and surrounding areas in legal matters involving allegations of white collar and sex crimes.Understanding California Criminal Charges for Domestic Violence and Internet Crimes
According to law, domestic violence occurs when the perpetrator commits abuse against someone with whom they are in an intimate relationship. Abuse is defined as intentionally or recklessly using or threatening to use physical force against an intimate partner. This relationship extends to spouses, children, boyfriends and girlfriends, as well as those with whom the accused has a child or is seriously dating, or dated in the past, as codified in California Family Code Section 6211 FC.
Domestic violence internet crimes may include revenge porn, cyberstalking, and electronic harassment. California has addressed internet crimes by statute, specifically covering domestic violence internet crimes within the California Penal Code. For example, California Penal Code Section 647 (j)(4) PC is a statute that makes it an offense to intentionally distribute private pornographic images. When the person targeted was in a domestic relationship with the defendant, the prosecutor may charge the crime as a domestic violence offense. Other sections of the California Penal Code, including extortion or identity theft, may be triggered when the perpetrator has stolen images and used them for unlawful purposes.
Continually harassing or threatening another person until they fear for their safety, or the safety of their family, is illegal. Cyberstalking is threatening or harassing via email or the internet, or by text message or social media. This internet crime may be charged as a domestic violence crime if the target is in an intimate relationship or was in an intimate relationship with the defendant.
Electronic harassment is another form of domestic violence that occurs online. According to California Penal Code Section 653.2 PC, it is illegal to indirectly harass another person using electronic means. To be convicted of this crime, the defendant must post identifying information or personal information about someone online with the intent that strangers and others harass or threaten the victim. When the targeted person is a party listed under California Family Code Section 6211 FC, then the crime may be charged as domestic violence, and the defendant would be sentenced under the requirements of California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC.California Prosecution of Domestic Violence Internet Crimes and Defenses
Domestic violence internet crimes can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. Factors that may be considered when determining charges include the strength of the evidence against the defendant, the severity of harm to the victim, and the defendant’s previous criminal convictions. A domestic violence conviction includes consequences beyond a prison or jail sentence. The defendant may be sentenced to probation, lose custody rights, and be subject to mandatory sentencing set forth by the California Penal Code.
For all domestic violence internet crimes, the State of California must set forth evidence that convinces the jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant’s conduct met all elements of the offense. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can assess whether there are legal defenses that may apply. Charges may be defeated or reduced to a lesser offense if the prosecution’s evidence is weak, if the defendant lacked the requisite intent for the crime, or if evidence shows that the victim consented.Retain a Seasoned Attorney in Riverside
If you have been accused of domestic violence and internet crimes, speaking with a lawyer about the potential penalties of a conviction is important. Attorney Gregory H. Comings is available 24/7 to review the circumstances surrounding your charges and determine the strongest legal defense for your particular case. Our office proudly represents the accused throughout Riverside, Palm Desert, Fontana, Temecula, Redlands, Palm Springs, Ontario, San Bernardino, Moreno Valley, Rancho Cucamonga, Victorville, Indio, and Highland. Contact us by calling our office at (951) 686-3457 or reach us online for an appointment to discuss your matter.