Domestic Violence Probation in California
Most defendants that are convicted for a domestic violence crime in a Los Angeles are placed on probation by the judge for a specific amount of time. The criminal court judge, however, could deny a defendant probation and sentence them to serve their time in jail.
If convicted of a California domestic violence, probation is only one of many potential consequences. It's important to make note that probation could be granted instead of, or in addition to, jail time in a wide range of domestic violence offenses.
The Los Angeles criminal court may grant probation to ensure you are penalized for the crime without sending you to an overcrowded county jail. The probation period is typically 36 months under California Penal Code 1203.097 PC.
It should be noted that any sentence for a domestic violence offense always depends on whether the underlying crime was filed as a misdemeanor or felony.
For instance, the common charge of domestic battery defined under Penal Code 243(e)(1), is always a misdemeanor and will usually include probation.
In more serious domestic violence cases, such as corporal injury to a spouse defined under Penal Code 273.5, which as “wobbler,” the prosecutor could file either misdemeanor of felony charges.
In cases where the courts grants grant probation, you are expected to adhere to all the terms and conditions of probation. This include issuing a domestic violence protective order against you.
To provide readers with more useful information about probation in domestic violence cases, our criminal defense lawyers are outlining the details below.
Summary or Supervised Probation
In California, there are two different types of probation – summary and supervised probation. Summary probation, which is commonly called “informal probation,” is usually ordered in a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. Supervised probation, commonly called “formal probation,” is usually order in a felony conviction.
If placed on probation, the period will be three to five years and it's a conditional release program.
This means rather than serving jail time, you are permitted to serve your sentence in the community. During this time, you must follow all the terms and condition that were set by the court.
If the court orders summary probation, you will not be closely monitored by anyone, but will be provided with some due dates to complete community service, counseling, fines and any other conditions that were set by the court.
If you were convicted of a felony domestic violence crime and the court places you on supervised probation, you will be monitored by the Los Angeles County Probation Department, which will include monthly meeting with a probation officer.
They are given the tasks of monitoring your progress and they will report any violations to the court and will usually conduct random drug testing. There are certain situations when the prosecutor could be open to a reduced charge for domestic violence through plea negotiations.
Probation Terms and Conditions
If you are placed on probation, then you will be required to follow many requirements, and some of these are specific for the type of conviction.
For instance, a first domestic violence conviction will usually require you to complete a 52-week batterers' intervention program, which is a condition of probation. These classes generally meet once every week for two hours and will include education material, counseling, and some group work.
The court might also order that you participate in substance abuse counseling, anger management, and to complete some community service hours, or you could be ordered to serve some jail time.
While on domestic violence probation, you will also have to pay fines, victim restitution, or even make some payments to a battered women's shelter. It should be noted that you are expected to have regular attendance in all the classes, keep all the counseling appointments, and successfully complete all of them on time.
There are some restrictions for domestic violence probation. For instance, you can't own, possess, or have any type of custody or control of a firearm.
You will also have a temporary or permanent domestic violence restraining order, or a stay away order, issued against you. This will prohibit any type of contact with the victim. In a situation where you violate any of the terms of the restraining order, you will probably be charged with a probation violation.
There are situations where the victim will seek to reconcile their relationship with the defendant. In such a case, a victim can ask the court to lift the protective order. The court has the discretion to either terminate the protective order or reduce it to a Level One, which allows for peaceful contact.
In some situations, a domestic violence conviction can impact child custody. The court might prohibit you from have visitation with your child, but it's much more common that the court would order supervised child visitation.
Domestic Violence Probation Violation
If you don't successfully complete all the terms and condition of domestic violence probation in the specified time frame, the court could order a probation violation and bench warrant for your arrest.
If you violate probation, the court could then impose your original sentence. In other words, if the court granted you probation rather than jail time, then you will be ordered to serve the jail time that was ordered on the original sentence.
The court might also impose the maximum jail sentence for your offense, which could be up to one year for a misdemeanor conviction. If the court decides not to impose jail time, then they could modify the terms and conditions of probation, and even make the probation period longer.
The court also has the discretion to revoke your probation entirely and send you to county jail because of the violation. The court might also decide to reinstate probation and add some additional terms, such as extra more community service hours or time in custody.
If there is an allegation that you violated probation, you are entitled to a hearing to challenge the accusation. During the probation violation hearing, you defense attorney court present evidence and testimony in an attempt to show the court there was no violation. It should be noted that probation violation hearings are entirely decided by the judge, not a jury.
Contact our Criminal Lawyers for Help
As you can see from the information above, the penalties for a domestic violence conviction are harsh. If you are facing allegations that you violated domestic violence probation in Los Angeles, call our criminal defense attorneys to review the details and options.
We have a record of success and know how to defend your rights at the probation violation hearing. Our attorneys can increase your chances of receiving the minimum penalties for a probation violation, and it might be possible to avoid jail time.
Early intervention into your domestic violence case could be critical to the resolution of the case and we may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced charges, or even get the case dropped.
Cron, Israels & Stark is a criminal law firm located at 11755 Wilshire Blvd, 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025. We have another office located at 401 Wilshire Blvd #1200, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Contact our office for a free case evaluation at 424-372-3112.