There really is a step-by-step process in a domestic violence case. That's why it's so important that your first step should be getting to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Let that attorney guide you through a very difficult process.
Realize that it is political. The judges, prosecutors and police are not your friends. They're not trying to help you. They have a job to do and they are driven politically by the legislature and their responsibilities to make sure that victims of crimes are protected.
So, they're coming into it with the mindset of punishing you and with the mindset of making sure that you're not in a position to harm the particular victim in your case.
To give readers useful information about the domestic violence criminal court process in Los Angeles, we are providing an overview below.
Protective Order Prohibiting Contact with Victim
One thing they're going to do during that process is try to block you from seeing the other person. They're going to try to issue a full protective order where you have to stay 100 yards away from that person.
If you live with that person, that person is your spouse, you've got children with that person, that causes a huge problem. So, right from the beginning, if that's one of the issues that you have, you're going to need to get to someone like me and we're going to have to come up with a game plan to try to prevent the prosecutor and judge from keeping you from seeing your family. That's job number one.
Potential Jail Time for Domestic Violence
Job number two is, they're going to try to punish you. They may want jail time in the case. They may want to take you away from your family or your job and show you what its like when you hurt another person how they're going to deal with you and jail time.
For them is obviously their most effective way to punish somebody because nobody likes to be put in jail. Nobody likes their freedom taken away and it really shows society, the victim and you what happens to those individuals who cannot control their anger and take it out on their significant other.
So, jail time is another huge consideration we have to look at as we go through the domestic violence process. So, the first step is to get an attorney and then we're going to start dealing with those two very important issues in addition to the host of other issues that come along with a domestic violence case as you make your way through the process.
If the victim suffered a serious injury, you could be facing felony charges under California Penal Code 273.5 – corporal injury to a spouse. However, most domestic violence cases are filed aa misdemeanor under California Penal Code 243(e)(1) – domestic battery, where the prosecutor will have to prove all the elements of the crime listed under CALCRIM 841CALCRIM 841 Jury Instructions to convict you.
Dealing with Bail Release
The next step is figuring out whether or not you're going to released on bail. Some people when they retain me have already been released on bail. Other people will have to go before the judge and the judge will decide whether or not they get released on bail.
A lot of people don't have money for bail. A lot of time bail can be significant and cost thousands of dollars. So, that's obviously something that I'm going to talk to you or your family about as we try to figure out how to deal with making sure that you stay out of custody so you can take care of your job and other responsibilities. Nobody wants to be in custody, whether it's related to a domestic violence case or not.
Criminal Court Arraignment
The next step will be what's called the criminal arraignment. That's where you're going to face a judge for the first time. It's usually the arraignment judge. All that judge typically does in a particular courthouse is deal with cases that first come to that court.
A lot of times people enter not guilty pleas and move out of the courts. The judge sets bail and deals with any protective order issues for the alleged victim and the case is moved out of there.
Obviously, your attorney is also going to deal with the prosecutor in that court and see what their position is — get the paperwork and evidence related to the case. After the arraignment, there's usually another court date because the prosecutor in the arraignment court is typically just getting the case, so they don't necessarily have all of the details and are not necessarily in a position to discuss potentially resolving the case.
So, really what you want to do as you go through the domestic violence process and you go to the arraignment and various court dates, is coordinate with your attorney. Let your attorney be the one to guide you through the process.
Obviously, you're going to ask the appropriate questions and your attorney is going to make the right moves on your behalf. But realize, some of these cases take some time to deal with. Your attorney has to sometimes deal with a tough prosecutors. Sometimes there are motions involved, especially in the beginning of the case.
Another issue we're going to have is how does your significant other feel about you? Do they want to get back together with you? Are they angry with you and never want to see your again? Or, is that kind of up in the air So, this is something we have to figure out as we go through this process.
Negotiation with Prosecutor for Best Possible Outcome
At some point during the process, you're going to have to decide with your attorney, whether you want your attorney to negotiate with the prosecutors and try to work out a case, or whether you want your attorney to set the case for trial as soon as possible so you can fight the allegations against you and clear your name.
This is a very crucial factor, because this decision will dictate how your attorney deals with your case, with the prosecutor and with the judge.
When I know that somebody is not going to take a deal on the case and we're going to go to trial, I obviously handle the case differently than if I know ultimately there's going to be a plea bargain, and I've got to be cooperative with that prosecutor in order to get you the best possible resolution.
So, that's another step along the way and the process we're going to have to deal with. Obviously, at some point the judge will sentence you if you get convicted or if you enter into some sort of a plea bargain with the prosecutor, so you're going to want to talk to your attorney about that so you know exactly what you're facing.
There's a whole host of issues that have to be grappled with a you make your way through the domestic violence process, all of which should be coordinated with your attorney in order to get the best result.