Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

Speak With Mariya Melkonyan and Her Team Of Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys Today!

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The Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan provide legal services for California domestic violence cases. Call or schedule a free consultation.

Choosing the right California criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court is crucial to the outcome of your case. Mariya Melkonyan understands the emotional and legal consequences of domestic violence cases from her previous experience as a Deputy District Attorney. She can build your case by gathering evidence and guiding you through the legal process.

If you have been charged with domestic violence in California, the consequences could be serious. A domestic violence conviction could result in jail time and other severe penalties such as losing custody of your child and paying fines. 

Table of Contents

    California Domestic Violence Laws

    California law defines domestic violence as abuse committed against a current or former intimate partner and cohabitant. Child abuse is another form of crime that can arise from Domestic Violence. California has a set of domestic violence laws that define domestic violence and the consequential punishments for those who commit these acts. Some common domestic violence offenses include:

    • Corporal Injury on a spouse or cohabitant
    • Domestic Battery
    • Child Abuse

    These California laws also give special protections to victims of domestic violence such as spouses and ex-spouses, significant others and ex-significant others, children, and family members.

    If you have been accused of a domestic violence offense under one of these laws, you need to speak with an experienced domestic violence lawyer who can help you understand your rights.

    Corporal Injury on a Spouse of Cohabitant (PC 273.5)

    According to Penal Code Section 273.5, it’s illegal to inflict corporal injury that results in a traumatic condition. A traumatic condition includes any minor to serious wound or bodily injury caused by physical force.

    In California, it’s against the law to willfully injure any current or former spouse, cohabitant, or the parent of your child. If convicted, the defendant may face two to four years in state prison, up to one year in county jail, or fines up to $6,000.

    If convicted a second time within 7 years of the first offense, defendants face an additional 2, 4, or 5 years in state jail, up to 1 year in county jail, and fines of up to $10,000.

    Domestic Battery (PC 243(E)(1))

    California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) states that battery is similar to the crime of corporal injury with one distinct difference. Domestic battery does not require the defendant to inflict visible injuries.

    You will be charged with battery if you inflict any force or violence against current or former spouses, cohabitants, fiance, the parent of a defendant’s child, or a relationship partner.

    Battery is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 1 year in a county jail or a combination of the two. The defendant will face probation of no less than one year and must complete a batterer’s treatment program or another court-designated counseling program.

    Child Abuse (PC 273d)

    According to California Penal Code Section 273d, parents in California are allowed to discipline their children. It’s legal to spank your child and use reasonable discipline that doesn’t cause injury to your child.

    Willfully harming children is a felony crime in California. Child abuse includes injuring a child, using inhuman corporal punishment, and any injury resulting in a traumatic condition.

    If convicted, defendants face severe punishment of 2, 4, or 6 years of imprisonment. They may face up to 1 year in county jail or fines up to $6,000 for this crime. Defendants may be punished with a combination of jail time and fines.

    Domestic Violence Punishment and Sentencing

    Domestic battery under PC 243(e)(1) is a misdemeanor crime. The type of punishment you face depends on the severity of the crime.

    Domestic battery is punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, or a combination of the two.

    If the defendant is granted probation, they must participate in a batterer’s treatment program for a minimum of 1 year. They must complete the program as a condition of their probation. If no program is available, they must complete another court-designated counseling program.

    When Domestic Violence is a Felony

    If you’re charged for inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant under California Penal Code 273.5, the “wobbler offense,” you may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. The charge depends upon the prosecutor’s discretion and the circumstance of your case. If charged and convicted of a felony, you’ll face 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison and fines not exceeding $6,000. Your sentence may be increased if you caused great bodily harm or used a weapon to inflict the injury.

    You can also face felony child abuse charges under California Penal Code 273d. If convicted, you’ll face a punishment of 2, 4, or 6 years in state jail, fines up to $6,000, or a combination of the two.

    Additional Punishment for Domestic Violence Convictions

    You face additional penalties if you’ve been previously convicted of a domestic violence offense. Jail sentences increase to 2, 4, 0r 5 years, and you may also be fined up to $10,000 if convicted of a previous offense in the last 7 years.

    After serving your punishment, you’ll also be placed on probation. Conditions of your probation may include making payments up to $5,000 to battered women’s shelters and reimbursement of your victim’s medical and court expenses.

    Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may lose custody of your child. The court has the power to remove children from your custody and impose supervised visitations. If convicted of a domestic violence charge, you also lose the right to possess or use a firearm for 10 years.

    Understanding the Domestic Violence Legal Process in California

    A domestic violence legal case can occur when the alleged victim calls the police and accuses the other person of domestic violence. The police will gather witness testimonies and a statement from the alleged victim and put them together in a report sent to the district attorney. The district attorney reviews the report to determine whether to file charges by reviewing all the facts in the case to see if there is sufficient evidence to convict you of domestic violence.

    The prosecution has to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you:

    • You intentionally harmed and unlawfully injured the alleged victim.
    • The alleged victim was related to you, such as a current spouse or ex-spouse, current or ex-significant other, your child or a child under your care, or someone with whom you were previously or are currently engaged to marry.
    • You inflicted a traumatic injury on the victim.
    • You committed the act causing injury, not in self-defense.

    When you work with a criminal defense lawyer, they walk you through the legal process, assist in preparing necessary documents, and provide guidance on how to proceed with your case. They may help you in the following ways:

    • They can develop legal defense strategies that the alleged injury was accidental or the alleged victim made a false accusation against you.
    • In some cases, they may pursue a plea bargain to lessen the charges to help you avoid the negative repercussions of a domestic violence conviction.
    • They can ask you to go through a pre-trial diversion program such as a batterers’ program depending on the specific charges, your residential location, and any criminal history. Upon completion, your charges will be dismissed.

    Contact The Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan for a Free Consultation

    The sooner a qualified attorney can get involved in your case, the better chances you have at a favorable outcome. The Melkonyan Firm is here to help minimize the impact these charges will have on your life. We know how important it is to take immediate action after an arrest so that we can begin building a legal defense strategy for your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.

    Call The Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan for a free consultation about your potential defenses.

    ( 424) 901-3131

    “Remember, do not make a statement to the police until you contact your lawyer. Do not talk to your spouse or anyone else regarding the allegations as anything you say can be used against you.”

    Frequently Asked Questions

    In California, only the district attorney decides if domestic violence charges are brought. Domestic violence victims may have mixed feelings about pressing charges against a loved one. California does not give discretion to the victim.

    Once police are made aware of domestic violence allegations, they send all files to the district attorney. The district attorney reviews the files and determines whether or not to bring charges of domestic violence.

    Victims cannot press charges in California; only the district attorney brings charges. Your allegation is an important piece of evidence in the case.

    Talk with your attorney before deciding to recant your statement. Taking back your allegations could lead to charges of filing a fake police report or lying to the police. Your attorney can help you avoid being charged with a crime.

    Generally, in California, you have the right to refuse to testify against your spouse, so the court cannot force you to testify. Your testimony is important evidence in the case, and without it, the chance of conviction is significantly reduced.

    However, the spousal privilege may not apply if you are a victim of a crime committed by your spouse. Talk to your attorney regarding these rights and exceptions.

    Self-defense is a viable form of defense in domestic violence cases. It’s considered an affirmative defense, and your lawyer will have to prove:

    You reasonably believed you were in danger of being injured or unlawfully touched.
    You reasonably believed the use of force was necessary to defend yourself.
    You didn’t use more force than required to fight off the danger.

    All these conditions must be met for a valid legal defense of domestic violence.

    Domestic Violence Defense Law Firm

    Domestic violence cases can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced domestic violence defense attorney in Los Angeles for your case. At The Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan, we always have our client’s best interest at heart. From the moment you contact us for a consultation, we start planning solid defenses for your case.

    Most clients feel ashamed, frustrated, and angry after being charged with a crime, but our legal team is here to reiterate that you, as a citizen, have basic rights, one of which is to hire an attorney. Before you speak to authorities, remember that you do not have to answer any questions without a lawyer present. Mariya Melkonyan is a former Los Angeles District Attorney who has tirelessly fought countless felonies and misdemeanors and can apply those same skill sets in your case.

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