Our criminal law pages explain the law, penalties and best defense strategies for every major crime in California. Contact us for a free case review.
Domestic violence, unfortunately, affects many people in California. If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, we can help you. Contact our experienced attorneys today and get a solid defense team for your case.
It’s critical to understand the legal ramifications of any domestic abuse case. If you’re charged with a domestic abuse case, having an experienced Los Angeles domestic abuse lawyer on your side is a valuable advantage. Domestic violence case laws in California are unique because it involves criminal law and family law.
California Penal Code 13700 defines domestic violence as an abusive act against a current or former intimate partner, family member, or household member. The law also defines abuse when a person actively uses or threatens to use physical force against another.
Domestic abuse is a widespread problem throughout California. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced physical violence from an intimate partner. In 2020, there were approximately 160,646 domestic violence-related calls.
Domestic violence may happen as part of a cycle of abuse with increasing tension, abuse, and a time of normalcy until tensions rise again. Abusers can use multiple forms of abuse to exert control over their victims.
Domestic violence can include physical force, sexual assault, and disturbance of the peace. It can also include emotional, psychological, or verbal acts of violence.
The prosecutor decides on the charges filed based on the circumstances of your case and your lawyer’s defense strategies. Domestic violence court cases involving children may be heard in juvenile court. If child protective services examine the claims and the court decides the child is in danger at home, the court has the authority to make the child a dependent of the court.
In California, if there is a corporal injury leaving a victim with physical injuries, punishment may involve imprisonment in state prison for two, three, or four years or in county prison for no less than a year. You may also have to pay a fine of $6,000.
Domestic battery is the use of force against a partner despite no visible injuries. Those convicted of domestic battery face fines of up to $2,000 and/or county jail time for less than one year under California Penal Code 243 (e)(1).
If a domestic violence claim is made and children are involved or are living in the household, Child Protective Services (CPS) may be called. The CPS must swiftly investigate and follow up on the allegations. Their goal is to keep the child safe in their home and create a plan as quickly as possible if the child is at risk.
The CPS agent works with the family to understand their needs to identify helpful resources for the family.
Criminal records check: CPS searches criminal records for past charges or convictions of domestic violence, restraining orders, or violations for probations. The CPS caseworkers may also interview the alleged abuser in a secure location with security nearby.
Contact with the family: Caseworkers interview the alleged victim and family members in safe locations, with no interference from the alleged abuser. Interviewing all adults and children involved in the allegations lets them safely and freely discuss domestic violence.
Collaboration with service providers: Some families in the CPS system may need multiple services to meet their needs. CPS workers can work closely with service providers, such as alcohol and drug abuse and mental health providers, to understand the social problems within the family and offer solutions.
While the caseworker’s requests are necessary to complete the assessment, you need to contact a lawyer before agreeing to interviews and signing a release form containing confidential information. We can help you prepare for interviews with your caseworkers and investigations, so the case decision is favorable to you.
Our attorneys are well-versed in the procedures that CPS workers follow during the assessment process. We can help you understand your legal rights. We consider the specifics of each domestic violence case to ensure you receive the best outcome possible, including:
Prepare for interviews with the CPS caseworkers: We encourage you to listen carefully to the CPS caseworker during your interview. Our lawyers teach you to listen to the question being asked and answer it directly. Answer just what’s asked and avoid saying statements that may incriminate you further. Before you agree to any interview, contact our law firm for assistance.
Cooperation with the investigation: Caseworkers have to make case decisions after completing a family assessment that may affect your family’s future. It is in your best interest to work with your lawyer to evaluate all documents you receive from CPS and gather evidence to support your case.
Working with a lawyer with extensive knowledge and experience can help keep your family together during the family assessment. If you agree to an interview with a CPS worker without first contacting an attorney, your statements during the meeting could be used against you in court. It is best to consult with a lawyer before cooperating with any investigation.
If you receive a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO), you need to hire a law firm to challenge the order. Our law firm has extensive experience with domestic violence cases, we can help you respond to the DVRO and prepare evidence to present before your restraining order court hearing.
You must follow your restraining order, including staying away from people and locations noted in the order. If it states you must move out of the house, you must follow this order. You may face fines or jail time if you disregard any part of your restraining order.
Our expert attorneys can help you complete Form DV-120, which is a Response to Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order, on your behalf. This document provides the judge with your side of the incident that led to the filing of the DVRO.
If you have children with the person seeking protection from domestic violence, you can ask the court for custody and visitation orders in the order. The lawyer submits the order before your court date.
The judge determines whether a DVRO should be reduced or canceled. Our attorneys can present your case for making the DVRO unnecessary by offering evidence and witnesses testimony on your behalf. If the court agrees with us, then the DVRO can end.
Although you are not required to have a lawyer respond to a DVRO, a restraining order can have serious legal consequences for you and your children. Anything you say or write about concerning the DVRO can be used against you in court. Working with a firm like ours, one with extensive experience with domestic violence laws in California can help preserve your rights to achieve the best outcome possible.
In some cases, if there is insufficient evidence to prove domestic violence, the prosecutor may drop charges. The victim may say contradicting allegations in both the written and oral statements given to the police. The prosecutor reviews both statements, and if they conflict, the prosecutor can dismiss the case.
If there are no obvious signs of injury and no other evidence is available to prove it, the prosecutor may decide not to pursue the case. A lack of impartial witnesses can often make it difficult to prove domestic violence cases, especially when the accused person has a different story than the alleged victim.
If you face domestic violence charges and want to have them dropped, your best chance is to hire a lawyer to help you. Our law firm for example can help you through the following methods:
Reviewing the police report: A copy of the police report has important evidence about the domestic abuse case. Your The lawyer can read and interpret it to craft a compelling argument for your defense and present their argument before the court and the prosecutor.
Detailing the incident in writing: A police report may include factual errors or false claims. Prosecutors may be persuaded not to pursue charges if you provide a written account of the facts under your lawyer’s guidance.
Having a solid legal team to help you: A legal team familiar with California domestic violence laws can use sound defense strategies to help dismiss a domestic violence case.
Withdrawing domestic violence charges is difficult because prosecutors have complete control of the case. Your best chance of getting your case dismissed is to work with Mariya Melkonyan on your side. Her 13 years of experience as a former Deputy District Attorney can help understand your domestic violence case’s legal implications and complexities.
Time is of the essence for any domestic violence case, especially if you have been charged already. Mariya Melkonyan’s experience ranges from minor misdemeanors to serious felonies and jury trials. She has the skills and professional contacts needed to develop a strong strategy for your domestic violence case.
All your meetings with Mariya are confidential and protected by the attorney-client relationship. Reach out to Mariya today for a free consultation.
What if the victim’s spouse refuses to testify in court?
Califonia’s spousal testimonial privilege prevents the court from forcing spouses to testify against one another, even in criminal cases. But this law does not apply when the spouse is charged with child neglect, spousal abandonment, or any crime against their spouse, child, or relative. The victim’s spouse will not be legally protected and must testify in court or face legal consequences.
What if the victim of domestic violence doesn’t show up to court?
California law doesn’t require the victim of domestic violence to testify in court, but they must show up to court if they are subpoenaed. If the victim refuses this summons, they can be found in contempt and may receive community service or be fined as punishment.
Can a domestic violence charge be filed a second time?
A second domestic violence charge may cause a longer imprisonment sentence and more significant fines. A second offense of domestic battery carries a mandatory minimum of 48 hours of incarceration and/or a fine of $2,000. Up to one year of county jail time, between two to five years of state prison, and/or a fine of $10,000 for a second offense of corporal injury.
If the domestic violence crime causes severe injuries, it can be a strike on your criminal record. In California, three strikes on your criminal record can result in you being incarcerated for 25 years to life. It is crucial to work with a lawyer who can help build a strong defense strategy against a second domestic violence charge.
Criminal charges and convictions for domestic violence have long-term consequences and shouldn’t be approached lightly. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help if you’re facing these charges. Consider hiring the Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan for your case.
We offer you guidance through the entire process and understand how newer laws impact your case. Mariya Melkonyan is a former Deputy District Attorney with the experience and strategy needed to help you win your case. Contact the Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan today for a free consultation.
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During your free initial consultation, your attorney will discuss the facts of your case, getting a clear overview of your situation. Your attorney will then explain the process, letting you know what will be expected of you and the support and services they will offer.
Your attorney will then guide you on how to proceed and begin collecting potential witness details to support your case and evidence for preservation, proper representation, and preparation. Finally, we will explain our fees, take you through our retainer form, and answer any queries you have.
To give Mariya a clear view of your case, you must provide them with as many details and as much evidence about your case as possible. This may include documentation, videos, audio files, witness names, time logs on any information related to the case for review. The more details and evidence you can provide, the better case your attorney can build right from the start.
Some clients are concerned about revealing too much to a lawyer in an initial consultation, but your meetings with an attorney are confidential and protected by client/attorney privilege.
After your initial consultation, we’ll be able to determine a retainer fee and discuss payment options. In most cases, the retainer feee payments are divided into two parts; the first is typically payable upfront.
There are various options for paying your retainer fee, including cash, check, or card.
There is no one-size-fits-all cost for an attorney to defend your criminal case. The fee depends on the charges against you and the details of your specific case. As a rule, open misdemeanor cases tend to be charged at a lower fee than open felony cases. Post-conviction legal services, such as expungement of criminal records, are usually even less expensive.
The final fee depends on the complexity of your case. During your consultation, the attorney will discuss the fees with you. The more details you can give about your case, the more accurate expectations your attorney can set. Contact Mariya today for a no-obligation case review.