If somebody gets convicted of a domestic violence charge — whether it be a felony or a misdemeanor, the courts will typically put them on probation. The other alternative after a conviction is obviously, being sent to prison and then that person would be on parole when they got out and have to deal with the parole department.
Length of Probation and 52-Week Domestic Violence Course
But most times, especially on first offenses, someone's going to be put on probation, the question is going to be how long is that probation going to be. Is it going to be for three years? Is it going to be for five years?
Usually in the more serious domestic violence cases, such as California Penal Code 273.5, corporal injury to spouse, it's going to be a five year probation where the person can't pick up any new cases or can't violate any of the terms and conditions of probation or they'd be subject to getting additional punishment related to that probation violation matter, including any domestic violence protective order.
In most domestic violence cases though, such as )California Penal Code 243(e)(1), domestic battery, the legislature says the person has to be on probation for at least three years even in misdemeanor cases. I have seen cases where the probation has been less.
For example, one or two years, but usually the prosecutors demand at last three years of probation, and really what they're trying to do is keep tabs on the person and make sure that they are not violating the terms of probation and are not abusing or hurting the alleged victim in the case, making sure that person finishes their 52-week domestic violence course and any other terms and condition of their probation.
Probation Violations for Domestic Violence Case
As far as violations go when you're on probation for domestic violence case – there can be what's called an internal violation or an external violation. An external violation is pretty easy to figure out.
It has to do basically with picking up a new criminal case and they would violate their probation in the way the judge will tell them at the end of their sentencing, that part of the terms and conditions of their probation are to obey all laws.
So, if you pick up a new criminal case that would be an external violation. They could send you into court, not only to deal with a new open criminal case, but also to deal separately with the probation violation.
If you violated your probation in a domestic case you could be looking at jail time up to the maximum of whatever the max is for the particular charge that you pled guilty or no contest to.
An internal violation, on the other hand, which is common in domestic violence cases, occurs when you do not do something you were supposed to related to what the judge ordered you to do at the time of your sentence.
For example, if they ordered you to do a 52-week domestic violence course make sure you do the classes at least once per week. If you blow your classes off, don't do your classes, you come back to court for a progress report.
The judge says to you, have you been doing your domestic violence courses, you say no I had to work, I couldn't do it, the judge says all right, well you've violated your probation.
You're entitled to have a probation violation hearing where the judge or prosecutors will put on evidence to show you've violated your probation and then the judge can punish you for that internal violation.
Other internal violations have to do with you not paying restitution related to the case, not paying your fines, not doing community service, Cal Trans — whatever the judge orders you to do if you don't do it and the judge figures that out then you're going to be looking at the probation violation and punishment for that violation.
So, being on probation obviously comes with responsibilities and if you don't meet your responsibilities then the judge and the prosecutor are going to be looking to punish you for that.
Prohibited From Owing or Possessing a Firearm
Also, you lose your ability to own, use or possess a weapon when you're put on probation in a domestic violence case. So, if you have a weapon in your name you're going to have to sell it, give it away, get it out of your name, otherwise you'll be in violation of your probation and be looking at punishment.
They don't want people who have a tendency to lose their temper to have guns, because that's how death occurs in these domestic violence situations where it's already and volatile situation.
So, if you're on probation for domestic violence, you obviously want to be careful what you and not violate your probation. Realize right from the beginning that this a very politically charged crime, so they're going to be keeping an eye on you and if you don't do what you're supposed to, they will punish you.
You'll be looking at jail time and other potential issues. Once you get off probation most times you're going to be able to file a motion to dismiss your case pursuant to Penal Code Section 1203.4.
They call it an expungement, but in reality it's just getting a dismissal. People who run your record, it won't be completely wiped off. They'll be able to see it, but they'll be able to see that your domestic violence case was dismissed and you can move on with your life.