Los Angeles Domestic Violence Lawyer
Criminal Attorneys Defending Individuals Accused of Domestic Violence
I have been defending domestic violence / spousal abuse cases for almost 25 years and am very familiar with how they are dealt with in Los Angeles and the stakes on the line for anyone who is charged with this offense. The first thing that is assessed by my office when it comes to this type of a crime is can we figure out a way to get the case dismissed. If there is a realistic way to the dismiss the case, then we will of course pull out all of the stops to keep your record clean.
If there is no realistic way to win the case, then we will then begin to explore other options that make sense based on your particular circumstances. Sometimes there are diversionary dispositions that are available and in some cases we convince the prosecutors to permit you to plead to a less serious charge. Not every case can be handled the same because there are some circumstances where the behavior is so serious that the prosecutors want the person involved to serve jail or prison time. While there are other circumstances where the person has a spotless record and there are no injuries related to the case.
As you might guess, when it comes to human affairs there are all different sorts of scenarios that can occur and there is not “cookie cutter” solution that can be used in every case. This is why it is so important to have a seasoned attorney that has been down this road and can get you the result you must have!
Domestic violence laws are in place to prevent violence in relationships. Under the California Penal Code, a criminal act may be considered domestic violence if it is committed in the context of one of the following relationships:
- Spousal or former spousal relationships
- Relationships between cohabitants or former cohabitants
- Parent-child relationships (including cases of child abuse)
- Partners in a dating relationship
California Penal Code Section 273.5 – Domestic Violence
California Penal Code Section 273.5 defines domestic violence as inflicting injury on spouse, or cohabitant. A party can be found for a charge of domestic violence if the government can prove that:
- The defendant willfully and unlawfully inflicted a physical injury on his or her spouse/former spouse or cohabitant father or mother of their child; AND
- The injury inflicted by the defendant resulted in a traumatic condition.
Other Potential Criminal Charges
Unlike other criminal charges, when domestic violence is involved, several sections of the California Penal Code may apply, depending upon the facts and circumstances of a particular case. These sections may include the following:
- Battery (Section 242) – where an individual uses willful and unlawful use of force or violence against another person
- Battery (Section 243(e)(1)) – which encompasses battery within the context of family or intimate relationships
- Battery (Section 243(d)) – which includes cases where the defendant inflicted a serious bodily injury or injuries on the victim
The California Penal Code specifically refers to domestic violence in Section 273.5. That section defines domestic violence as a situation where an individual’s willful conduct “leads to a corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition,” suffered by a person with whom the defendant shares a familial or intimate relationship.
If you have been accused of domestic violence, you should contact a Los Angeles domestic violence attorney at our law firm to review your case and discuss legal options.
The possible penalties upon conviction of a domestic violence charge can be severe. Specifically, a battery conviction under Section 243(e)(1) can result in a fine of up to $2,000.00, as well as imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year. A conviction for battery under Section 243(d) may result in 1-4 years’ incarceration, along with a restraining order. Finally, a felony conviction under Section 273.5 could result in a similar period of incarceration, a fine of up to $6,000.00, or both.
How a Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help You
Disputes involving violence between family members or people in intimate relationships are often extremely complicated and involve a pattern of behavior and interpersonal dynamics that outsiders do not see. In many cases, police arrive to the scene of a domestic dispute and simply have the goal of separating the people involved as quickly as possible. As a result, people who are actually victims of domestic violence may be the ones who are facing legal action when they were simply acting in self-defense.
It is important to be aware of the fact that courts want to move these cases through the system as quickly as possible, and inform you that you may have defenses available or take the time to fully investigate whether the police report regarding your case is accurate.
Reviewing Your Domestic Violence Case
What steps should I take if accused of domestic violence? The first thing you can do is hire a savvy experienced Los Angeles domestic violence lawyer that has a good track record of handling domestic violence cases in the Los Angeles criminal court system. In my nearly 25 years of experience I have seen many attorneys that are not familiar with how to maneuver a domestic violence through a sometimes unforgiving criminal system and simply can not achieve good results for their clients. The key is to try and set the case up for the client to be dismissed one way or another. Sometimes it is appropriate to resolve the case by way of a jury trial and not guilty verdict to get rid of it. Other times, the person has done something wrong and the prosecutors have the evidence to convict the client and then we try and get a diversionary program or an expungement (which in California is the equivalent of getting the dismissal of a criminal charge). Either way, it is my job to convince the prosecutor and judge that my client is a good person who should not have to suffer the harsh consequences a conviction can bring to a person’s life.
Other things that we have our clients do once they hire us is to obtain character letters from their job, church, family members and people that know the type of good person and good character they possess. We put together a package for the prosecutors and judge as part of the process of convincing them to give our client a break and chance to preserve their good record. With a good package of mitigating factors and the ability to argue the facts of the case in the most professional way possible, it is then my job to go and meet face to face with the prosecutor and judge and resolve the case in the most favorable light possible for my client. I welcome a free consultation and discussion so I can assist in educating you on how the system works in the particular courthouse your case is pending and designing a plan to get you the most favorable result possible. I promise to be straight forward with you and to the point about where you stand based on my years of experience, knowledge of the courthouse and incredible results I have achieved for my clients.
Can The Victim Drop the Charges?
There is a common misconception in criminal defense as it relates to domestic violence cases, that if the victim decides they do not want the other person prosecuted, then the prosecutors will drop the charges. Unfortunately, this thought process could not be further from the truth. In fact, it is common that the victim changes their mind and tries to back out of prosecuting their significant other for various reasons. Sometimes the husband or wife is the bread winner in the house and the victim realizes that they will be financially hurt by a prosecution. Other times the alleged victim did not realize that the ramifications for involving the police would be so devastating, so they decide that they want to take everything back. And, of course there are those circumstances when the alleged victim was angry when the police came and embellished their story about what happened or did not want to get in trouble themselves, so blamed everything on the other party. The prosecutors have a hard time telling exactly what is really going on related to these cases. It is up to someone like me who has been down this road hundreds of times to guide the client through the process and make it clear to the prosecutor what really happened from the client’s point of view. Your freedom, reputation and good name can be immediately protected with one phone call!
OJ Simpson Impact on Domestic Violence Cases
If you are unfortunate enough to have a domestic violence / spousal abuse case pending against you in one of the 47 Los Angeles County courthouses, then you have probably heard someone that you came in contact with mention how since the OJ case the police must arrest the aggressor and the prosecutors will do the best they can to convict the person. This is one of the key history turning moments in the prosecution of Domestic Violence cases in LA. Like it or not, the police, prosecutors and judges are making sure that they are covered politically from the backlash of the OJ case and the public perception of those individuals that use violence against their loved ones. The only way to combat this OJ factor is to have an attorney on your side that is equipped with the relevant facts that relate to your case and knows how to win and negotiate criminal cases in the Los Angeles Court system. With a sophisticated attorney by your side, you will be able to figure out what your best strategy is related to the facts of your case. You do not care about anyone else’s case but yours. A face to face consultation is the best way to determine if the attorney you are considering hiring is the right person for you.
Contact a Los Angeles Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic violence charges are prosecuted very aggressively in California. Consequently, you need an experienced Los Angeles domestic violence lawyer on your side from the beginning of your case. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to assist you with obtaining a probation (as opposed to jail time) and/or with reducing the applicable charges and penalties.
You should feel free to contact the experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at Hedding Law Firm today at 866-986-2092.