Q: What is Domestic Violence?
A: There are different types of domestic violence. California Penal Code section 273.5 makes it a crime to inflict corporal injury on a current or former spouse, or cohabitant or parent of your child that resulted in a traumatic condition.
Domestic battery, defined by penal code section 243(e)1, is a misdemeanor crime and is defined as inflicting force or violence on an intimate partner such as former or current spouse, fiance, dating partner, cohabitant, or parent of your child.
Child endangerment defined by penal code section 273a makes it illegal to put a child in your care or custody in dangerous situations allowing child to suffer harm to health and safety.
Child abuse is defined by penal code section 273d pc and states that it is illegal to inflict cruel or inhuman corporal injury on a child resulting in injury, however slight. Spanking does not fall within this crime. The punishment or injury must be cruel.
Penal code section 368 defines the crime of elder abuse as inflicting physical or emotional abuse, neglect, endangerment, or even financial fraud against a victim 65 years or older.
Criminal threats, governed by penal code section 422 pc, makes it a crime to threaten someone and intending to put them in fear of injury or harm.
Q: Do I have to be married to be charged with domestic violence?
A: No. domestic violence may occur between current or former spouses; between two persons dating; between the father and mother of a child; between tow engaged persons; between gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender couples.
Q: What if I did not actually hit anyone; would I still be arrested?
A: Domestic violence does not only consist of hitting a person. You can be charged with domestic violence if you shoved, pushed, bit, kicked, or even slightly touched the victim so long as there was some sort of injury to be shown.
Q: What if the alleged victim changed his/her mind about pressing charges?
A: It will not matter. The victim is not the one pressing charges on you; the victim is likely the one testifying against you but the District Attorney is the one who prosecuting you.
Q: If I was arrested for a felony domestic violence, will I face felony charges in court?
A: Not necessarily. Police can not arrest a person for a misdemeanor unless the crime occurred in their presence. Therefore, the officer will likely find some probable cause to arrest for a felony, for example an injury no matter how slight. Later on, if the district attorney determines that the alleged conduct is not that serious, the charges may be formally filed as a misdemeanor.
Q: How long does the court process take?
A: Generally, domestic violence cases take 2 to 4 months. The first court appearance sis the arraignment in which there is no opportunity to discuss the case; a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest is made during this appearance. Following the arraignment there a few more court appearances and conference and therefore the court process ranges anywhere between 2 to 4 months.
Q: What happens if I am convicted of domestic violence?
A: There are various penalties you may face as a result of a conviction. If charged as a felony, you can face up to 4 years in state prison and f convicted of a misdemeanor you may face up to 1 year in jail. Both sentences would include fines, probation, counseling, community service, restraining order, and criminal protective orders.
Q: Do I need a domestic Violence Attorney?
A: Yes. The prosecutor has to prove your guilt beyond any reasonable doubt and with a defense attorney by your side you have a better chance of either walking away or receiving minimal penalties. An attorney can advise you of your chances of success and get things done on your behalf that you may not be able to especially when it comes to communicating with the district attorney.
Contact our Los Angeles domestic violence attorneys at the Hedding Law Firm and set up a free consultation. We will discuss all the details of your case with you and lay out all your available options and any possible defenses. We will help. We will be your advocate!