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When Does Domestic Violence Become a Felony in Los Angeles?


What Determines Whether Prosecutors Will File a Felony Domestic Violence Case Against You in Los Angeles?

This is a big question on a lot of peoples’ mind because most times when people are arrested for domestic violence, on the ticket it says felony and also they’re usually made to post a $50,000 bail which is a felony bail.

So, a lot of times when people come and meet with me they’re under the impression they’re going to be charged with a felony in their domestic violence case in Los Angeles county (CALCRIM 840).

Obviously, a felony for domestic violence comes with a lot of bad penalties.  You’re looking at prison time.  If there’s a real bad injury like great bodily injury, you could be looking at a strike.

You’re looking at a full protective order be putting in place where you’re not allowed to see your significant other for the probation period, which would be three years in most domestic violence cases.  You won’t be able to own, use, or possess a weapon.  You won’t be able to vote.

So, this whole felony charge is a very scary thing to people.  But I’m here to tell you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for most people when it comes to domestic violence cases in Los Angeles county.

Level Of Injuries in a Domestic Violence Case

That light is that usually — I would say better than 90% of the time — even though the police have arrested you for what appears to be a felony domestic violence case, you’re probably going to get charged with a misdemeanor (CALCRIM 841), and here’s why. When Does Domestic Violence Become a Felony in Los Angeles?

Because they take these so serious, these domestic violence or spousal abuse cases even if you’re not married to the other person.  If you’re somehow connected with them, boyfriend/girlfriend, then they will book you for a felony.

But, the prosecutors who are the lawyers like me on the other side, will typically not charge the case as a felony unless there’s a real serious injury, number one, or you have a prior conviction for a domestic violence-related offense.

Even if you have a prior domestic violence on your record, a lot of times the prosecutors will file it as a misdemeanor and not a felony if the injury is not bad.

So, that’s your key thing when you’re evaluating whether or not your case is going to be filed as a felony or a misdemeanor.  How bad are the injuries?  Is it scratches?  Redness?  Bruising?  A cut?  As long as there’s no stitches, no broken bones, usually prosecutors aren’t going to file the case as a felony.  So, that’s the first piece of good news for you.

Now there are those cases that are kind of on the borderline, whether they’re going to be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor.  Obviously, you’re going to want to have your attorney in there fighting for you to try to get that misdemeanor if you are guilty of something.  If you’re not guilty, then you take the case to trial and win it.

Negotiation with Prosecutor

I think no matter how you slice it, if you’ve been booked for domestic violence and you’re facing a pending court date in Los Angeles county, get an attorney as fast as you can.  Let that attorney start making some moves for your so you can end up with the best possible result in your case.

If it’s a situation where it’s a weak charge and they should do a City Attorney hearing or it should be a City Attorney reject, then obviously you want your attorney fighting for that.

If it’s a case where it really shouldn’t be charged as a felony, but you did do something wrong, then you want your attorney fighting to try to get you a misdemeanor.

Also, other concerns are you don’t want to go to jail.  You don’t want to be blocked from seeing your significant other for the next three years.  These are huge implications and you’re going to want to get on the phone.

Get with our California criminal defense lawyers as fast as possible.  I’ve been handling these domestic violence cases throughout Los Angeles county for the past 26 years.  I know the lay of the land and the courthouses in LA.  I know how to handle these cases.

Experienced Domestic Violence Lawyer

I know how to deal with the protective order.  I know how to deal with your criminal record and keeping you out of jail, and all of the other things that can go along with a domestic violence charge. So, pick up the phone.  Make the call.  We’ll start getting your domestic violence-related offense moving in the right direction.

Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. We are also located at 633 West Fifth Street Los Angeles, CA 90071. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 374-3952.

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Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

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