Domestic Violence First Offense
What You Can Expect
It is a fact that many who are charged with domestic violence don’t have a prior criminal record. However, domestic violence laws in California have significantly changed over the years thanks to advocates that have been pushing for these changes in the law. Violent cases where victims have ended up suffering fatal injuries have changed the manner in which law enforcement officials handle these types of incidents in cases. As a result, police are typically required to take one or both parties into custody if they are responding to domestic violence incident.
If you have been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, it is crucial that you speak to an experienced lawyer — even if you have absolutely no prior criminal record. Early intervention by an attorney can make a significant difference in your domestic violence case.
Domestic Violence Charges
When law enforcement officials respond to domestic violence calls, they will usually take statements from the involved parties if all parties are present. They will make a note of whether anyone sustained injuries and if they were taken to the hospital. If they are able to make a determination as to who the aggressor was, they will make an arrest. It is also likely that both parties involved are arrested on suspicion of domestic assault. Under California Penal Code Section 273.5 PC, domestic assault is a “wobbler,” which means it could be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony.
If the responding officer determines that an aggressor pushed or shoved the other person, he or she may be arrested on suspicion of spousal battery, which is always charged as a misdemeanor. Whether the defendant is charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, they will be taken to jail and be required to post bail in order to be released. This is true for all defendants, even if they don’t have a previous criminal arrest or conviction. Once the defendants post bond, they will be given a court date for arraignment. If the defendant is not able to post bond, the prosecutor has 2 business days to file charges. If that doesn’t happen, the defendant will be released.
How Are Charges Determined?
So how does the prosecutor determine what type of charge to file on a first domestic violence offense? In such cases, the prosecutor might look at several factors including the defendant’s prior criminal record. If the defendant has no previous arrest or conviction (particularly those involving domestic violence), the prosecutor may be more inclined to not file charges. Sometimes, the prosecutor might choose to file a misdemeanor charge.
Another factor that comes into play is the circumstances in which the alleged assault occurred. Did the defendant restrict the movement of the victim? Was the victim injured? What was the nature and extent of the injuries? For example, if the victim suffered severe injuries, the defendant will very likely face a felony charge. If there were no injuries, the prosecutor might decide to go with a misdemeanor charge. If the defendant is found guilty and the judge is ready to issue a sentence, the defendant’s prior criminal record will play an important role in determining punishment.
If you have been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence or are facing similar charges, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you fight the charges and clear your name.
Call us at (844) 807-8180 for a free and comprehensive consultation.