In the state of California, domestic violence is one of the most common prosecuted crimes under various criminal law provisions. Its general definition is an attempt or threat to use physical force against an intimate partner.
In Los Angeles criminal courts, domestic violence allegations are taken seriously and most defendants who have been convicted will face long-term consequences.
In fact, most defendants don't fully understand the level of legal penalties they are facing and the extent of the collateral consequences associated with the conviction. Most California domestic violence charges are:
- filed as a misdemeanor crime under Penal Code 243(e)(1) domestic battery, but;
- some are filed as a felony under Penal Code 273.5 corporal injury to spouse, depending on the level of injuries suffered by the victim.
Plea Bargains in Domestic Violence Cases
Most domestic violence cases are resolved through the plea bargaining process between the prosecutor and your criminal defense lawyer. This means you:
- agree to plead guilty;
- for reduced charges or a lighter sentence.
Most domestic violence charges are filed as a misdemeanor crime.
However, before you agree to accept a plea offer from the prosecutor, you need to understand there are several unexpected consequences for a California domestic violence conviction, such as where you are employed or live.
For instance, the judge could order that you can't enter your own home, which would force you to locate another place to live that could put a strain on your financial situation.
The domestic violence conviction might also impact your ability to secure employment or get a promotion at work because it will show up on a routine background check.
So, a common question we are asked from a defendant or family member deals with the lasting effects of having a California domestic violence conviction.
Let's review below how a conviction can affect your life.
Common California Domestic Violence Charges
- Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC – domestic battery,
- Penal Code 273.5 PC – corporal injury to spouse,
- Penal Code 422 PC – criminal threats,
- Penal Code 368 PC – elder abuse,
- Penal Code 646.9 PC – stalking,
- Penal Code 273a PC – child endangerment,
- Penal Code 240 PC – assault,
- Penal Code 242 PC – battery,
What Happens When You Are Convicted of a Domestic Violence in California?
All criminal convictions for domestic violence in California will carry a chance of:
- some jail time, and
- community service, and
- other terms and conditions.
If convicted of a domestic violence related offense, some sentences are specifically related to the crime, such as the court imposing a domestic violence counselling course and a specific fine.
One of the most immediate impacts on a defendant who was convicted of domestic violence is related to the potential financial hardship.
California Protective Orders and Domestic Violence
If convicted of domestic violence, the judge will issue a protective order.
A domestic violence conviction will normally come with a criminal protective order, which is similar to a restraining order. A protective order will prohibit making contact with the victim. They can last as long as 10 years from the date of the conviction.
In situations where the couple have already separated, this form of a stay-away order won't normally cause a hardship on their life.
However, most defendants and their partner plan to remain together in a relationship, especially if they have children together.
modify terms of the protective order
This means when a judge orders a criminal protective order against the defendant, it's typically very challenging to maintain a normal family life.
In this type of situation, it's highly advised that the defendant work with an experienced criminal lawyer to petition the court to modify the terms of the protective order.
violating a protective order
If you violate the terms and conditions of the protective order that were set by the court, then you could be facing new charges under California Penal Code 273.6 PC.
Loss of Gun Rights and California Domestic Violence Conviction
If you are convicted of certain types of domestic violence crimes, it will also result in the loss of your right to own or possess a firearm both under California state law and United States federal law.
Typically, any felony conviction including a domestic violence will result in a lifetime firearms ban, including ammunition, feeding devices, and other related items.
It should be noted that even a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction can result in a 10-year firearm ban.
This makes domestic violence misdemeanors cases different from a typical misdemeanor on other cases that have no impact on a defendant's ability to own or possess a firearm
Some immigrants could face deportation if convicted of domestic violence.
Additionally, a domestic violence conviction in California could result in adverse immigration consequences. Many people were denied citizenship or entry into the United States.
Some immigrants have been subjected to deportation and removal proceedings from the United States due to being convicted for domestic violence because it's considered a crime of moral turpitude.
The most common domestic violence convictions that can have a negative impact on immigration include:
- domestic battery,
- corporal injury on spouse,
- child abuse,
- false imprisonment,
- child endangerment,
- stalking, and
- violations of a restraining order.
Getting Domestic Violence Charges Expunged or Reduced
As you can see, the effects on a defendant who has been convicted of a California domestic violence offense can be serious. However, in many cases there is an opportunity to:
- improve defendant's criminal record through the expungement process, or
- reduce a felony offense down to a misdemeanor pursuant to California Penal Code 17b PC.
For most first-time domestic violence offenders who perform well on the terms of probation, it's possible to reverse some of the negative consequences commonly associated with a conviction. Exactly what type of relief, if any, is available post-conviction will depend on:
- the specific terms and conditions of the negotiated plea agreement, and
- primarily on the defendant's performance while on probation.
If the terms of probation are not followed, the defendant is again arrested for domestic violence or another offense while on probation, their chances of getting the charges expunged or reduce drops significantly.
Criminal Defense Lawyer for California Domestic Violence Charges
Developing a best defense strategy against any type of California domestic violence charges will always depend on the details of the case.
Contact Cron, Israels & Stark to learn how we can defend you.
If you or a family member was arrested, or under investigation for a domestic violence related offense, contact our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers for initial consultation to discuss your needs.
Through a process known as prefiling intervention, we might be able to persuade the prosecutor to drop the case before formal charges are actually filed.
Just because you were arrested for domestic violence doesn't mean charges will be formally filed, much less getting convicted.
Cron, Israels & Stark is a top-rated criminal defense law firm representing clients throughout Southern California, including LA County, Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, and the San Fernando Valley
Our law firm is located at 11755 Wilshire Blvd, 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025.
We also have an office at 401 Wilshire Blvd #1200, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Contact our office for a free case evaluation at (424) 372-3112.