DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEFENSE ATTORNEY LOS ANGELES COUNTY CA
Allegations of domestic violence are taken extremely seriously in Los Angeles County, and any person accused of domestic violence risks facing devastating criminal penalties, even if he or she has no criminal record. In addition to a number of harsh direct penalties imposed by the court, a domestic violence conviction also carries severe collateral consequences that can follow you for the rest of your life. In many cases, a domestic violence arrest is simply a misunderstanding, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to hire an attorney. If you have been arrested for domestic violence in Los Angeles County, it is imperative that you consult an experienced domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible. Our legal team at Seyb Law Group has more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience, and we can help you get the best possible outcome in your domestic violence case. Contact our defense attorneys today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
Domestic violence is a serious crime that carries tough criminal penalties upon conviction, in addition to other consequences that can adversely affect your reputation, career and family, among other aspects of your life. Even unfounded allegations of domestic violence can have devastating repercussions that continue long after you are cleared of any wrongdoing. If you have been accused of domestic battery or inflicting corporal injury on a domestic partner, even if your case is dismissed or you are acquitted at trial, you could still suffer the social stigma of a domestic violence arrest. And the problems don’t end there. If you are found guilty of the crime of domestic violence, in addition to facing jail time, costly fines, mandatory participation in domestic violence classes and a restraining order, you could also face a loss of gun rights and child custody rights, and non-citizens could face adverse immigration consequences, such as deportation, removal from the country, exclusion from admission, or a denial of naturalization.
“Domestic violence” is a broad term used to describe any act of abuse committed against an intimate partner, including, but not limited to, battery, abuse, neglect or threats of harm. California Penal Code § 13700 PC is the state law that makes it a crime to commit such abuse against “an adult or a minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.” Under this law, “abuse” means “intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to himself or herself, or another.” The most commonly charged domestic violence crimes in Los Angeles are Penal Code § 273.5 PC (inflicting corporal injury on a spouse) and Penal Code § 243(e)(1) PC (domestic battery).
California Domestic Violence Penal Code § 273.5 PC & § 243(e)(1) PC
One of the more serious types of domestic violence charges in Los Angeles County is PC § 273.5, known as “corporal injury to a spouse,” a crime that occurs when any person “willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim.” Under this law, a “traumatic condition” means “a condition of the body, such as a wound, or external or internal injury, including, but not limited to, injury as a result of strangulation or suffocation, whether of a minor or serious nature, caused by a physical force.” The more common domestic violence offense known as “domestic battery” is governed by PC § 243(e)(1), which makes it a crime to willfully and unlawfully touch, in an offensive or harmful way, “a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, former spouse, fiancé, or fiancée, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship.”
Other criminal offenses that may be charged in Los Angeles County domestic violence cases include: child abuse (PC § 273d), child endangerment (PC § 273a), child neglect (PC § 270), elder abuse (PC § 368), criminal threats (PC § 422), stalking (PC § 646.9) and aggravated trespass (PC § 601).
Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Penalties
The penalties associated with a Los Angeles County domestic violence conviction vary a great deal depending on the specific circumstances of the case, the defendant’s criminal history, and the severity of the victim’s injuries, if any. Some domestic violence crimes are charged as misdemeanors and some as felonies, but most are “wobblers,” which means the prosecutor can pursue either misdemeanor or felony charges against the defendant. A defendant charged with domestic violence under PC § 273.5 faces a felony conviction punishable by two, three or four years in state prison or a misdemeanor conviction punishable by one year in county jail, and/or up to $6,000 in fines. A defendant charged with domestic violence under PC § 243(e)(1) faces a misdemeanor conviction punishable by up to one year in county jail, up to $2,000 in fines, or both, for a first offense.
Other penalties for a domestic violence conviction may include payment of victim restitution for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and/or mental health counseling, and payment to a domestic violence program fund. In some cases, a defendant may be able to receive probation in lieu of jail time for a misdemeanor domestic violence crime, if it is the defendant’s first offense and if the alleged victim’s injuries are not significant. However, the defendant may still have to serve time in jail as a condition of probation, possibly in addition to completing community service and anger management or domestic violence counseling. Also, as a condition of probation, the court may issue a restraining order against the defendant.
Los Angeles County Restraining Order
Under California law, alleged victims of domestic violence can apply for an emergency restraining order, also known as a protective order, which prevents the defendant from having any contact with the victim and his or her minor children for the duration of the protective order. In order to obtain a restraining order, the victim does not need to have suffered any physical harm. He or she must only prove that the defendant has committed or threatened abuse and that the defendant is an intimate partner or relative. If the defendant violates a restraining order, the violation itself is a criminal offense, and he or she will face penalties under PC § 273.6, possibly including up to one year in jail, a substantial fine, and/or mandatory counseling or domestic abuse classes.
California’s “Three Strikes” Sentencing Law
In some cases of serious domestic violence crimes, a conviction is considered a “strike” offense under California’s “Three Strikes” sentencing law, which increases the criminal penalties for defendants with multiple serious or violent felony convictions on their record. Defendants with one strike prior on their record could face double the prison sentence otherwise required by law for a subsequent serious or violent felony conviction, and defendants with two or more strike priors could face an automatic prison sentence of 25 years to life for a subsequent conviction.
Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Defense
Domestic violence is a tough conviction to have on your record and it is common for defendants charged with domestic violence to feel hopeless and overwhelmed. However, the most important thing to remember when facing domestic violence charges in Los Angeles County is that, no matter how dire your situation may seem, you still have rights and you also have the “presumption of innocence” on your side. This legal principle states that a defendant in a criminal case is legally presumed innocent unless proven guilty. And in order to prove that you are guilty of domestic violence, under PC § 273.5, for instance, the prosecution would have to establish the following elements of the crime beyond a “reasonable doubt,” meaning to the extent that there could be no reasonable doubt in the mind of a reasonable person that you are guilty of the crime:
- You willfully inflicted physical injury,
- On a current or former spouse, cohabitant, intimate partner or fellow parent, and
- The injury resulted in a “traumatic condition.”
Best Defense Strategies in Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Cases
Being accused of domestic violence can be extremely embarrassing and frustrating, especially if the accusations against you are false, but while these cases can be difficult and stressful for the defendant to endure, they are also winnable. Domestic violence is a multifaceted crime with various elements, and crafting a winning defense in your domestic violence case means disproving one or more of these elements. Some common defense strategies used in domestic violence cases in Los Angeles County include the following:
- Accident – If the other person’s injuries were the result of an accident, the incident may not lawfully be considered domestic violence.
- Self-defense – If you were acting in self-defense or in defense of another person, you may not be criminally liable under Los Angeles domestic violence law.
- False accusation – If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, your defense attorney may be able to get your case dismissed.
- Mistaken identity – If you are the victim of mistaken identity, your attorney may be able to use this defense to get the charges against you dropped.
- Insufficient evidence – If your attorney can poke holes in the prosecutor’s case and prevent him or her from meeting the requisite burden of proof, you may be able to avoid a conviction.
How Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
The unfortunate truth is that innocent people are falsely accused of domestic violence all the time, often unintentionally, because of a mistaken identification or an innocent misunderstanding, or sometimes even intentionally, because the alleged victim is harboring anger or jealousy against the defendant for some personal reason. In some cases, a person may falsely accuse a former partner of committing domestic violence in order to gain the upper hand in divorce or child custody proceedings. Whatever the circumstances of your domestic violence case, our defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group can help you get the best possible outcome, whether that means securing a reduction in charges, negotiating a lighter sentence or getting the criminal charges dismissed altogether. If the prosecution’s evidence against you is irrefutable and your case is not winnable outright, we will do everything in our power to see that your sentence includes treatment instead of jail time.
Any time you are facing domestic violence charges in Los Angeles County, it is imperative that you hire an attorney to represent your case, but not just any attorney will do. When it comes to fighting charges of domestic violence, there is absolutely no substitute for skill, tenacity and expertise, and that is what our domestic violence defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group have to offer. Our legal team has a clear understanding of Los Angeles County domestic violence laws and how they apply to your case, and we will use every resource at our disposal to ensure that you get the quality legal representation you are entitled to. It is imperative that you understand the criminal charges you are facing and the defense strategies available to you based on your specific situation, so you can be fully informed. Our attorneys understand how devastating a domestic violence conviction would be for you and your family, and we will do everything in our power to help you get a favorable outcome in your case.
Contact Our Skilled Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys
Los Angeles law enforcement and prosecutors are tough on violent crimes, especially violent crimes involving domestic partners or family members, and these types of offenses are investigated aggressively and prosecuted harshly in Los Angeles County. If you are convicted of domestic violence in Los Angeles County, you could face imprisonment in state prison or county jail, considerable fines, a restraining order, and other devastating penalties. You would also have a domestic violence conviction on your permanent record, which could have long-lasting consequences for you and your family, both personally and professionally. If you or a loved one is facing domestic violence charges in Los Angeles County, your future and your freedom are at stake. Contact our Los Angeles County criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.