This is probably one of the big questions on people's minds when they're arrested for domestic violence, and that is, is there liberty going to be taken away, because usually what happens in these cases is, the police come out to a scene. They assess a situation and once they determine that somebody has committed some sort of violence against another person — there's injuries, they take pictures — then they're going to arrest that person.
That person is going to be handcuffed and put in the back or the police car and then taken to a particular police station and held for a period of time. Sometimes they're held for a long time before they're able to bail out; other times they can bail out in two or three hours.
But I tell you, doing this twenty-five years, it's a common them when people come into my office and say, I don't want to go back into custody again. That was horrible and they haven't even been to the worst part of custody. They've just be to a local jail. County jail is obviously much worse, much more hardened criminals and much less control of your part because you're in a huge system.
Prior Criminal Record and Victim Injuries
The factors that dictate whether or not you're going to get jail are obviously important. One big factor is whether you have any criminal record. If you've got a bunch of domestic violence cases or you've got a domestic violence case with a particular victim in the new case you can bet your bottom dollar you're definitely looking at jail or prison time.
A lot of time on a second-time domestic violence case they file it as a felony, so it gets a lot more serious. So, that's one big factor — whether you have a criminal record and a criminal record for violence or domestic violence is certainly something the prosecutors will take into account.
The next big thing they look out in deciding whether or not you're going to get any jail or prison time is what you did in the particular case. Usually, they're focusing in on whatever injury or injuries there are to the alleged victim. So, the worse the injury, the more time you're looking at.
You can go to the extreme if someone has broken bones because of what you've done. You're looking at a great bodily injury allegation which is three years for the injury alone, plus you combine that with a six year top for a felony domestic violence case, now you know you're looking at nine years at 85% and a strike.
So, they can really get serious with these cases in the extreme example of people who get seriously hurt and the defendant is going to be the only to pay the price. As far as in between this nine year sentence and no jail sentence for those people who just have first offenses — very simple injuries — pushing, shoving, even punching but there's no real injuries, scratching — those people are not looking at much jail time, but there's people in between.
There's people who get involved in a domestic violence situation and they hurt the other person, and again, it's a very subjective thing on the part of the prosecutors as far as what they're asking for punishment-wise.
Most times it's a negotiation and a plea bargain between the prosecutors and the defense attorney. If the prosecutors have the goods, have the case, then you're just talking about what the punishment's going to be. Obviously, the prosecutors are going to want a punishment that they feel fits the crime.
It's the defense attorney's job to point out some of the mitigating factors in the case that makes sense so that the person doesn't get railroaded and sent to jail for a significant period of time. So, if you're not going to be sent to prison for a long time and you're not going to get a no-jail sentence, you may get something in between that.
One good thing is that in Los Angeles County for county jail sentences, you're serving a very small percentage of the time because of the over-crowding in county jail. For example, for a ninety-day sentence, you may just serve a few days if you go in at the right time and the county jail is very crowded, they may not keep you for very long.
So, that's one good ray of light to look forward to, because most people have to work. They have responsibilities and going to jail simply does not work for them.
So, if you've got a domestic violence case somewhere in Los Angeles and you're worried about the punishment, the main concern you have is some sort of mail or prison time, I've given you some of the parameters that the prosecutors and judges look out, but what you really need to do is to get in front of somebody like me.
Los Angeles Domestic Violence Attorney
Give all the details about your life, the case, your prior criminal record and then I can give you a pretty good idea of what the tendencies are of the particular judge or prosecutor on your case, and some of the mitigating things that we can get in front of them to try to minimize the chance that you'll get jail.
If you are going to get jail, obviously try to minimize the amount of jail you get, because the less you get the less time you'll do, the quicker you'll be able to get out and provide for your family and yourself.
So, if you're worried about jail time in a domestic violence case, stop worrying about it. Pick up the phone. Make the call. We'll sit down and go over everything and we'll design a specific plan geared toward helping you get you out of jail time and get you out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible.