When you pick up a new domestic violence or spousal abuse case and you have a prior conviction or convictions, the prosecutors look at you much differently than somebody who just picks up their first offense.
The reason for this is that the prosecutors and even the judge's aim is obviously to protect the victims of domestic violence. So facing someone continuing to commit domestic violence cases, they obviously feel they have a duty to protect that person.
Just like self-preservation for people, judges and prosecutors are very cognizant of the fact that they are tasked with protecting people in domestic violence cases and they're also very aware that people get killed in domestic violence cases.
Normally, defendant arrested for domestic violence are arrested on suspicion of corporal injury to a spouse in violation of California Penal Code 273.5, which can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, or spousal battery under California Penal Code 243(e)(1), which is always a misdemeanor. The case will be referred by a detective to the filing prosecutor who will review the case and determine what charges.
Felony Domestic Violence Charges
So, if a person has a prior conviction, most of the time the prosecutors will file the second case as a felony. That's justification to file the felony versus in most first-time domestic violence cases, you can bet that the prosecutors will file a misdemeanor case unless there's some serious injury to the alleged victim.
So, that's one impact of picking up a second or multiple domestic cases, and that's that the prosecutors have the authority and discretion to file the new case as a felony.
Also, you'd be looking with all of the ramifications that come along with a felony, like jail time, prison time, the loss of the ability to own, use or possess a weapon/bullets, the loss of the ability to vote and a whole host of other ramifications that come along with that type of a conviction.
Jail Time for Defendants With Prior Domestic Violence Convictions
In addition to the felony conviction, there would also be a chance of going to jail. I think when it comes to a felony conviction and you having prior convictions, the prosecutors believe that the best weapon they have to deter the offender of a domestic violence case is their ability to send that person into custody.
Because obviously nobody wants to be sent into custody, and many of my clients will stop at nothing when it comes to avoiding going to jail or even prison. So, when you have multiple domestic violence cases, the next thing that you should be concerned with is the fact that the prosecutors will be looking not only to saddle you with a felony, but also to put you in custody for a significant period of time.
One thing I've definitely noticed about Los Angeles county in domestic violence cases is the jails will keep people in custody longer than those individuals who just commit a non-domestic violence-related offense.
Great Bodily Injury Allegation
So, normally, if most people are getting out after serving 10% to 25% of their time in Los Angeles, those people who commit domestic violence-related offenses will be kept 50% to even 85% of their time if they have a violent felony pursuant to the Three Strikes Law.
This is usually triggered by a great bodily injury allegation that can come along with a domestic violence case if there's a very serious injury to the alleged victim.
So, when you have multiple domestic violence cases it's even more important to get an attorney who has an experience in dealing with multiple violence cases because sometimes there is another side. Sometimes there are some things that can be done to do damage control for a particular defendant.