Domestic violence charges are among the most serious, and the most emotional. What some people might think is a little family argument, or a dispute among couples, can lead to a felony arrest by law enforcement. Oftentimes arguments can get out of hand and lead to one spouse calling the police and claiming violence when none occurred. Domestic violence convictions can be life-altering events and hiring a lawyer to handle these cases should be taken with the same seriousness.
Domestic violence arrests occur all of the time in Los Angeles because of the rules relating to the police response. If there are any credible claims of offensive contact/injury, the police are going to make an arrest. This is why, as mentioned above, even just a small argument can turn into a felony arrest with someone going to jail. Little to no physical evidence is typically required for police to make an arrest and it is usually the person who calls 911 first who is defined as the “victim.”
Furthermore, domestic violence charges are among the most susceptible to being manipulated by one party. It can be difficult to dispute a victim’s false or inaccurate report when there are no other witnesses. These false claims can be the result of revenge, a recent divorce, family court or custody proceedings or infidelity. Oftentimes the person arrested feels “guilty”, even before any facts of their side come out.
There is also a misconception that these charges can be “dropped” if the victim wishes to. Unfortunately, or not, once the police make an arrest in a domestic violence incident, the government steps into the shoes of the victim and pursues the charges. Thus, even if the victim does not wish to cooperate or have the perpetrator prosecuted, the decision is no longer theirs.
Domestic violence charges are brought when any act of violence is committed against a family member, such as a spouse, child or domestic partner. These cases also may include a component/added charge of child abuse, parental rights and sexual misconduct, which is why having an attorney represent you is imperative.
Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction
The most common charged crime for domestic violence is California Penal Code section 273.5 – corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant. This crime is a “wobbler”, meaning it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor.
Consequences of a domestic violence conviction can have far-reaching implications. They carry fines, requirements to complete a 52-week domestic violence class, a moral turpitude conviction on your record and may lead to deportation if you are not a citizen of this country.
Additionally, a conviction for domestic violence may lead to restitution, anger management counseling, problems at your place of employment, not being able to own or possess a firearm, and criminal protective orders against you.
A misdemeanor conviction of Penal Code section 273.5 can include:
- Up to 1 year in county jail time
- A fine of up to $6,000
- Lifetime loss of the right to own a firearm
- Misdemeanor probation
- Restitution to the victim
- A 52-week domestic violence batterers’ program and/or a domestic violence restraining order.
A felony conviction of Penal code 273.5 can include:
- 2-4 years in state prison
- Felony probation, and/or
- Additional 3-5 years in prison if you caused the victim “great bodily injury” or a significant physical injury
- Count as a strike under the Three Strikes Law if the crime involved great bodily injury
- Potential loss of a professional license (such as attorney license to practice)
Taking certain steps before your court date can help your case in the eyes of the prosecutor. Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Ross Erlich often counsels clients on what things they can do before their arraignment to shed a better light on the facts of the case and present themselves more favorably before the judge. Additionally, Los Angeles attorney Ross Erlich employs the services of a former LAPD police officer, who is now a licensed private investigator, to help bring out background facts of the alleged victim, when appropriate, to disclose to the prosecutor.
Attorney Ross Erlich
If you or someone you know has been charged with domestic violence charges, it is important to contact Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Ross Erlich as soon as possible so that the proper investigation and fact-gathering can be done on the case.
Attorney Ross Erlich knows how, and when, to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence, or even file a motion asking the judge to throw out some of that evidence from the case. Attorney Ross Erlich knows when to leverage plea deals, how to best position his client to negotiate those deals to avoid a conviction for a violent crime, get a reduction in the charges or pursue a diversion that would prevent any conviction from occurring in the first place.
Because these charges are serious and are prosecuted aggressively, it is important that Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Ross Erlich examine all possible avenues for resolving the matter including anger management classes, restitution, or domestic violence treatment.
For aggressive and vigorous defense of your rights, contact Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Ross Erlich today.