When it comes to a domestic violence or spousal abuse case and a first offense, a lot of people don't realize the serious nature of what they've gotten themselves into. Or maybe they do.
When you get arrested and dragged out of your own home, or whether the police come and capture you, and all it was, was a simple phone call saying there was a disturbance or a problem.
Maybe your significant other called 9-1-1, the police come out and if they see that any type of violence has occurred and they determine one party is more guilty or the aggressor in the case, then they're going to arrest that party and typically put a $50,000 bail on them and send them into court.
Protective Order Prohibiting Contact with Victim
What's interesting about these first offenses is, once you get to court, they're also going to put a protective order in place protecting the alleged victim in the case from the person who they're presuming is the perpetrator.
So, that typically means that you have to stay 100 yards away from that person at least while the case is pending. They can even try to make that order stay in effect after the conviction. That would technically mean you can't see your significant other anymore.
I've got a number of cases pending right now where people who were arrested and had cases coming up on Christmas Eve. They have family and kids, and we're trying to work hard to avoid having the full protective order being put in place.
They're definitely always going to put a protective order in place when we make the first court appearance. The issue is whether it's going to be a full protective order where the person has to stay away, or we can get what's called a Level 1 protective order where people can still have peaceful contact but there's a protective order in place to protect the alleged victim of the case.
What's strange about this is, between the arrest and you bailing out and the 30 or so days that go buy, unless the other party gets a civil restraining order against you, you're allowed to see that person.
So, somehow it's okay to see that person for that 30 days, but then once you go to court, all of a sudden the court and the prosecutors are going to snap into action and put a full protective order against you. This is one of the things you have to look out for in a first offense domestic violence case.
Penalties for First Offense Domestic Violence
Some of the punishments that you're facing in a first offense are, you'll usually be put on three years of probation where you can leave the state and travel as long as it's not felony probation, but you will be ordered to do certain things.
You'll have to obey all laws or you violate your probation. You'll also be ordered to do what's called a 52-week domestic violence course which is once a week for a year, where you go to a year which basically teaches you how to deal with your anger.
It teaches you how to deal with your significant other and when problems arise, which they typically do in a domestic situation when people live together or are dating.
It teaches how to deal with those problems and how to deal with your anger and how to deal with your emotions. Also, how to not get physically violent, how to leave the area and how to downgrade the situation so it can be discussed in a calm and reasonable manner. So, that's what the 52-week domestic violence courses are designed to help you with.
There also may be further punishment in addition to fines and fees that go along with any criminal case. Depending on what happened, the prosecutor and judge may want to order you to do other things, like if you were under the influence of alcohol when this incident occurred, they may want you to go to AA meetings.
A lot of people don't want to do that, but if you have an alcohol problem that when you drink it leads to violence and now you've been arrested, the courts figure that they're not being unreasonable when they ask you to do AA meetings to get a grip on whatever alcohol issue they perceive you to have.
Other potential punishments in a first time domestic violence case including community service, Cal Trans, community labor, jail time. All sorts of different things, again, depending on what happened in the case and what the prosecutor and judge perceive are your issues.
Why you got into this position of getting arrested, injuring your other half — whether it be boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, girlfriend/girlfriend. Even if you're just in a dating relationship, if there's some sort of violence involved you can be arrested and charged with a domestic violence-related offense.
Of course, another ramification of that first offense is they are going to put a protective order in place. Usually, it lasts for three years and if you still want to see the other party, you're going to have to try to get a Level 1 protective order through your attorney, where you're still allowed peaceful contact.
If the situation is serious enough, like a stalking allegation or the person was really hurt, or a felony or multiple incidences of violence, a lot of times the prosecutors are going to want a 10-year protective order, to protect that other party and to keep you away from them. Common domestic violence charges in Los Angeles include domestic battery and corporal injury to spouse.
Experienced Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
So, getting an attorney who knows the ropes and who has handled a lot of first time domestic violence cases is obviously because they're going to know what the pitfalls are in the potential case. They're going to know how to deal with the protective order issue.
They're going to know how to keep you out of jail. A lot of times they're trying to put people in jail who are good people, have no prior criminal record and are the sole providers for the alleged victim and if there's kids involved.
So now, by putting you in jail you potentially lose your job, lose income for the family and the alleged victim is getting punished further because that person is not able to pay their mortgage; not able to be provide for.
So, there's a whole bunch of issues that come up in these first time domestic violence cases. That's why, if you want to tackle these issues the right way and be most effective, you get somebody like me who's been doing it for 25 years.
I've handled thousands of domestic violence cases and knows exactly what needs to be done to get you the result you must have to protect your rights, your freedom, your reputation and your criminal record.