What To Do if You Have Been Arrested for Domestic Violence in California

If you have been charged with domestic violence you should know that there are a lot of things you can do to help you get through this situation.

I can help you defend against domestic violence charges using my experience and creative solutions. Let’s get to work and minimize the impact on your life. Contact me today to get started!

My Experience With Domestic Violence Cases

I have handled domestic violence cases involving a wide range of circumstances – everything from a slap on the face to cases involving serious physical injury.

I know how to immediately respond to domestic violence charges by conducting the appropriate investigation and taking proactive steps with the prosecuting agencies.

I have been able to get cases reduced, dismissed, and even dropped before formal arraignment, resulting in an “arrest only” classification of the incident.

Creative Solutions

I have worked with couples and families to create positive solutions to domestic violence charges.

By using my network of proven investigators and counselors I have been able to get prosecutors to agree to alternative solutions that can be structured to avoid incarceration or a criminal record that could affect your future.

This is especially important for clients with concerns about the potential impact of a domestic violence conviction on their immigration status, and clients who require security clearances or firearms privileges for their jobs.

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What is Domestic Violence in California?

In California domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor domestic battery, or as the more serious crime of corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant.

Domestic Battery

Domestic battery involves the use of force against an intimate partner. An intimate partner can be a husband or wife, a former spouse, a fiancé, anyone in a dating relationship, or a co-parent.

Even though it is called a “battery,” even the slightest use of force can result in an arrest and prosecution.

It is not necessary for the prosecutor to prove that an alleged victim has suffered injury or pain. The only requirement for a conviction is that there was some use of force or violence.

Some examples include: a man grabs his wife and pulls her arm, a woman slaps her boyfriend, a man pushes his ex-wife.

Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant

A more serious domestic violence charge is imposed in cases where there is an injury. This can be charged as corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant.

In these cases, the prosecutor is required to prove that the victim actually suffered some form of physical injury. This crime is referred to as a “wobbler” and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, usually depending on the extent of the injuries.

Other Charges Related to Domestic Violence

Aside from domestic battery and corporal injury, my office defends against several other forms of domestic violence including aggravated battery, elder abuse, child abuse, and criminal threats.

California Domestic Battery Laws

Let’s take a closer look at domestic battery under Penal Code 243(e)(1).

The law states that “when a battery is committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabitating, a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, former spouse, fiancé or fiancée, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship, the battery is a misdemeanor.

This misdemeanor is punishable by custody in county jail for up to one year, and/or a maximum fine of two thousand dollars. A conviction could also result in having a judge impose summary probation instead of jail time.

If probation is granted the defendant is usually required to complete a batterer’s intervention program, which is sometimes called a batterer’s treatment program or domestic violence classes.

In order to be convicted of domestic battery, the prosecutor has to prove several “elements” of the crime, including:

  • That the defendant willfully touched the victim in a harmful or offensive way,
  • That the victim was an intimate partner with the defendant, and
  • That the defendant was not acting in self-defense, or in defense of someone else.

The first element constitutes the simple battery portion of the crime. To prove this element the prosecutor must show that the defendant acted “willfully” and that the defendant touched the victim in a “harmful or offensive” way.

It is not necessary for the prosecutor to show that you meant to break the law, or that you intended to inflict injury.

Under California law, to act willfully means that your actions were made on purpose or willingly. The prosecutor must also show that you touched the victim in a harmful or offensive way.

Again, the prosecutor does not have to show that the victim was injured. Even the slightest touch can be enough to commit this offense if it is done in an aggressive or angry way.

The second element requires the prosecutor to prove that the victim is your “intimate partner.”

Under the law this can include:

  • Spouses or former spouses,
  • Someone cohabitating or living with you,
  • Someone in an engagement with you (including a past engagement),
  • Someone who is the other parent of your child, or
  • Anyone with whom you have (or had) a dating, sexual or intimate relationship.

Finally, the third element requires that you were not acting in self-defense or in defense of someone else. You can show that you were acting in self-defense if at the time of the incident you believed that you were in imminent danger, and you believed that force was necessary to stop the danger.

You must also show that the amount of force you used was the appropriate level of force for defense. Similar requirements must be met to show you were engaging in the defense of another person.

Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges

Fortunately, there are many ways to defend against charges of domestic violence. You may have been charged in a case where you were acting in self-defense.

You may also be in a situation where what happened was an accident, or the alleged victim may be making false or exaggerated accusations.

There are many ways to deal with these situations. Your case needs to be defended using the proper mix of investigation, legal challenges, counseling, mediation, and other forms of resolution that can prevent a criminal conviction. Let’s get started right away by putting together the strongest possible defense.   

Contact a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Your best chance for the strongest defense means that we start right now. Remember that an experienced defense attorney can make all the difference.

I have successfully handled domestic violence cases using a wide range of defense strategies. Also please remember that time is on our side if you act now. Contact or call my office, Law Office of Mark Greany now at 858-531-6387