Domestic violence is generally described as a type of crime committed against someone you share a close relationship with. It's the most commonly charged crime in California and includes many different statutes.
What separate a domestic violence offense from other crimes is the relationship between the two parties of the offense. The alleged victim must be a:
- current or former spouse,
- family members,
- former dating partner,
- parent of your child.
Domestic violence is not typically a single event, but rather a long cycle of violence. It's not uncommon for police to respond to a 911 call to the same location involving the same people multiple times.
Most domestic violence charges are “wobblers” that can be filed as either a misdemeanor or felony crime.
In order to for a prosecutor to obtain a conviction for a domestic violence related charge, they have to prove your actions against the alleged victim were willful and there was a relationship described above. For more information, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers are taking a closer review below.
Common Domestic Violence Charges in California
In the state of California, domestic violence is a very broad legal term that covers a wide range of different situations. The most commonly charged crimes include:
- Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC – domestic battery,
- Penal Code 273.5 PC – corporal injury to a spouse,
- Penal Code 422 PC – criminal threats,
- Penal Code 368 PC – elder abuse,
- Penal Code 273d PC – child abuse,
- Penal Code 273(a) PC – child endangerment,
- Penal Code 136.1 PC – dissuading a witness,
- Penal Code 646.9 PC – stalking,
- Penal Code 273.6 PC – violate restraining order.
Other common domestic violence situations include general harassment and posting damaging or harmful information online in violation of California Penal Code 647(j)(4) revenge porn laws.
If you are facing domestic violence charges, our criminal defense lawyers know how to negotiate with the prosecutor in an effort to obtain the best possible result.
Top Three Domestic Violence Cases
As noted, DV incidents case are the most common type criminal cases in California. The top three include the following:
Domestic battery under California Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC is a misdemeanor crime. The prosecutor does NOT have to prove any type of injury occurred.
This statute is used by prosecutors when there are allegations of pushing or shoving during an argument.
Corporal injury to a spouse under California Penal Code 273.5 PC is a “wobbler” that can be filed as either a misdemeanor or felony crime.
It's described as the willful infliction of a physical injury resulting in a traumatic condition on an intimate partner. Some evidence of a physical injury is normally necessary.
Violating a restraining or protective order under California Penal 273.6 PC is filed when a defendant intentionally and knowingly violates a court issued order, such as when a judge orders an intimate partner to have no contact with the victim. This is normally a misdemeanor crime, but could rise to the level of a felony.
Another common charge just outside the top three is criminal threats under California Penal Code 422 PC, which is also a wobbler that can be either a misdemeanor or felony crime.
The prosecutor must you threatened violence against someone with whom you shared a domestic relationship. The level of charges will depend on the severity of the threat along with the circumstances of the case.
Is There Any Way for My Domestic Violence Case to Not Be Filed or Dismissed?
This is probably one of the biggest questions on most people's minds who are arrested and charged with domestic violence. They don't want this charge on their record.
Usually, their significant other is willing to help them in any way they can so they don't end up with a conviction on their record because a lot of times the significant other relies on that person for their support.
Maybe they have a family, or whatever the case may be. So, they don't want that person prosecuted and convicted and potentially sent to jail and potentially lose their job.
So, the answer to that question is yes, it is possible to avoid a filing in a California domestic violence case. It is also possible to get a dismissal in a domestic violence case.
However, it's not for the reasons you might think. A lot of people think, well the other person doesn't want me prosecuted, so it should just be dismissed.
That's not why the prosecutors either don't file cases or dismiss cases. It's not them against you — the person that you are with against you.
It's the People of the State of California against you represented by the prosecutors and they don't care whether the victim wants you prosecuted or not. They care whether or not there was any type of a crime committed.
How Can I Avoid the Filing of Domestic Violence Charges?
So, the reason domestic violence cases in Los Angeles, California don't get filed or get dismissed is because:
- you hire an attorney who is experienced in domestic violence law:
- who convinces the prosecutors that they're going to lose the case.
There's usually some sort of a problem with a case that doesn't get filed:
- maybe they don't have the evidence;
- maybe it was mutual combat, where both parties were fighting;
- maybe both parties were arrested;
- maybe there's no injuries.
There's a whole list of reasons why domestic violence cases are not filed. It's just usually not because the person is saying they don't want the other party prosecuted.
It's because you've got a good attorney championing your position trying to convince the prosecutors that they shouldn't file a case against you because you didn't do anything wrong.
Perhaps it's because they're not going to be able to prove that you committed domestic violence. That's why cases don't get filed through a process known as prefiling intervention.
How Can I Get a Domestic Violence Charged Dismissed?
When we're talking about getting a case dismissed, this is where things get a little tricky in domestic violence cases. They get arrested. They've got a court date. They post a bail and they're asking to get their case dismissed.
First of all, it hasn't been filed yet. You have to wait until the case gets filed before you can dismiss it, and obviously, you want to prevent a filing in the first place.
So, when we're talking about dismissal, where talking your case that's already been filed, you're already in court and now you want to try to get that case dismissed.
Your criminal defense attorney is going to have to show the prosecutors that they can't win the case because they're not looking to dismiss domestic violence cases for political reasons.
They don't do that unless they can't prove the case, such as there's no injury and there's some problem with their case that is pointed out to them by your attorney.
Because the police, typically, only point out bad stuff that gets you in trouble and makes you look guilty. Unfortunately, they don't go after getting evidence that could exonerate you and help you and lead to either a non-filing or a dismissal.
So, it's up to your attorney to show the prosecutors that their case is so bad that they can't win it and that's how you get a dismissal or you get them to reverse the process and do what's called a City Attorney hearing.
If they do that, they're typically going to end up not filing the case and if they did file, it would likely get dismissed against you. Obviously, the other way to get a dismissal is to go to a jury trial, have the jury find you not guilty in which case the case will be dismissed.
Criminal Defense for Domestic Violence Cases
If you're looking for the best, and you've got a domestic violence case and you're looking for somebody who's going to be honest with you, then you have come to the right place.
You also want someone to give you the straight information and not try to just give you information that you want to hear, which ultimately will lead to disappointment and problems..
Take the first step. Pick up the phone. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I have been handling domestic violence cases in Los Angeles County for almost 30 years. I've worked for the prosecutor's office and a Superior Court Judge.
Since the early 1990's, I've worked for people just like you. If you want the best, make the call. Hedding Law Firm has two office locations, including 2049 Century Park E #2525 Los Angeles, CA 90067, and another in the San Fernando Valley. Contact our top-rated law firm for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979