Domestic Violence First Offense
The consequences of a domestic violence conviction are serious, particularly if the alleged victim suffered visible physical marks. If you or a loved one is under investigation for a domestic violence offense, or has already been arrested, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help. Domestic violence often takes place within private spaces, and may involve false accusations as well as unwarranted criminal charges. As an experienced Riverside domestic violence first offense lawyer, Gregory H. Comings can help increase the chance of a positive outcome in your case.Domestic Violence Arrest
People arrested for domestic violence may not have a prior criminal record. In some cases, they may have initiated the call to 911 and are now facing arrest. When responding to a domestic violence call, officers first document any observable injuries and take statements from the involved parties. This is an important step because a central factor in determining the severity of criminal charges is whether the alleged victim suffered bodily injury. Sometimes, both parties may be arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.
After taking statements, officers typically transport the defendant to jail. In order to be released, the defendant will have to post bond, even if they do not have a previous criminal record. Upon release, the defendant receives a date for their domestic violence arraignment. If the defendant cannot post bond, the prosecutor must file charges within two business days, or the defendant will be released.Penalties for Domestic Violence First Offenses
As a first-time domestic violence offender, a defendant may be more likely to face misdemeanor charges. The facts of the case will dictate the sentence, as will the presence or lack of a criminal record. Additionally, the court imposes mandatory probation upon defendants convicted of domestic violence. A protective order, attendance at a batterers’ class, or other terms may be included as terms of punishment.
Visible marks or injuries may lead to arrest on suspicion of corporal injury to a spouse. As a “wobbler “crime, California Penal Code § 273.5 can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction still carries potential time in prison. A felony crime may include up to four years in prison, and can result in a strike on the defendant's record.
An officer that assesses the situation and believes physical contact was more limited may arrest an individual on suspicion of battery to a spouse. If convicted, this misdemeanor offense under California Penal Code § 243(e) can result in up to a year in jail as well as court fines and protective orders. A conviction can prevent people from eligibility for certain jobs, such as caring for children.
In order for a domestic battery charge to stand, the prosecution must prove the defendant committed an offensive touching that was non-consensual. A brief touch, no matter how minor, will support a charge.Assert a Defense to Domestic Violence Criminal Charges
Criminal charges may be dismissed if the prosecution cannot prove their case. A weak case may result from insufficient evidence, failure to prove an element of the crime, or another factor. For example, as the accused, you may allege that you were not in fact the perpetrator. This type of defense can result in credibility issues. The victim may assert their own version of the truth and the judge or the jury will be left to resolve the matter.
In some situations, defendants charged with domestic violence can raise self-defense as an affirmative defense. Domestic disputes are emotional, and a court may consider your contention that you took action in response to an act of violence against you. If a family member began to attack you with a weapon, you may have physically restrained them in self defense. Assuming your actions resulted in an effort to protect yourself, and were proportional to the threat you faced, self-defense may justify your actions. In this situation, you would not be liable.Contact an Experienced Domestic Violence Attorney Helping People Throughout Riverside
Riverside attorney Gregory H. Comings remains accessible to clients throughout all steps of their domestic violence case because he understands the stress and anxiety of those facing criminal accusations. If you are facing domestic violence charges or under investigation for another crime, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings. To schedule a free consultation and learn more about your options, call our office at (951) 686-3457 or reach us online. We are proud to help people throughout Moreno Valley, Indio, Highland, Palm Desert, Temecula, and other areas.