Reduced Charges for Los Angeles Domestic Violence Cases
Los Angeles County prosecutors consider any allegations of domestic abuse a serious issue. In fact, they will typically aggressively pursue a conviction for certain types of domestic violence related charges that can result in severe penalties if convicted.
The most common California domestic violence related offenses are domestic battery, corporal injury to a spouse, elder abuse, criminal threats, and child endangerment. Many of the cases are “wobblers” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense.
If convicted of domestic violence, the penalties will always depend on various factors, such as severity of injuries on the victim, your criminal record, if children were present during the incident, and more.
During the court process, you need an experienced defense lawyer who can effectively negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced charges, or even a case dismissal through prefiling intervention, especially for a first domestic violence.
In Los Angeles, the most commonly charged domestic violence case is domestic battery, which is defined under Penal Code 243(e)(1), which is a misdemeanor crime. Another common domestic violence case is corporal injury to a spouse defined under PC 273.5, which is a “wobbler” that can be filed as a felony crime.
As the domestic violence case proceeds through the Los Angeles criminal court, there are certain situations when the prosecutor could be open to a reduced charge through plea negotiations.
If you lawyer is able to persuade the prosecutor to plead to a lesser charge, it can potentially help you avoid a conviction for domestic violence, which could will also help you avoid the severe collateral consequences that normally occur.
To give readers some useful information about reduced charges in domestic violence cases, our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys are providing an outline below.
Why Would a Prosecutor Consider a Reduced Charge?
There are situations where a when a domestic violence defendant will seek to reach a plea bargain due to the fact there is strong evidence against them. For example, pictures of the victim's severe injuries, multiple witnesses, or they already made an admission to police.
This means there is so much evidence against, they simple can't deny the charges. In this type of situation, you need to closely review other options to come up with a plan to seek reduced charges in an effort to obtain the best possible outcome.
There are also situations where the details of the case are not so clear. This means there are reasons why a prosecutor might consider reducing the domestic violence charges, or even dismiss the case.
One situation could be a domestic violence case that would be difficult to prove at a trial. Perhaps the victim and defendant decided to reconcile and now they are back together and the victim is requesting the charges to be dropped.
While the victim can't drop the criminal charges themselves, it could be a factor on whether the case will proceed. The prosecutor has the final decision on whether or not to pursue charges and will often proceed with a domestic violence case even in situations where the victim is asking them to drop it.
However, when prosecutors have an uncooperative victim who won't testify at trail, they could have difficulty proving (CALCRIM 852b ) the domestic violence case. It's important to make note, however, the prosecutor can issue a subpoena that will force the victim to appear in court for testimony. So, in a situation of an uncooperative victim, the prosecution might decide their best option is to consider reduced charges.
Yet another scenario where the prosecutor might be willing to consider lesser charges is a situation where the evidence in the case is weak, or where the defendant could have a reasonable self-defense argument.
What Reduced Domestic Violence Charges Could Be Offered?
There are several reduced charges the prosecutor might be willing to offer during plea negotiation with the defendant's criminal lawyer.
For instance, they could agree to accept a guilty plea to disturbing the peace defined under California Penal Code 415. They might also be willing to agree to a plea of trespassing which is defined under California Penal Code 602. Both of the charges are less serious than any type of domestic violence related charges and carry less penalties.
There type of charges are much easier to explain to an employer conducting a background check. Penal Code 415 disturbing the peace is generally connected to loud noises and a Penal Code 602 trespassing is usually connected to entering someone's property without their consent. This means if a defendant accepts a plea for either of these charges, there are no direct connections to a domestic violence related case.
It should be noted, however, these type or reduced charges are not always easy to obtain. There will need to be some positive mitigating factors on your side, which could include a first-offense domestic violence offender, or a situation where the victim was no injured.
Another lesser included domestic violence charge is simply battery defined under California Penal Code 242 PC. Battery is described as harmful or offensive touching, which means you could simple just push someone or grab anything out of their hand. Obviously, a Penal Code 242 is a lot better than having a domestic violence conviction on your record.
Yet another less serious charge is domestic battery defined under California Penal Code 243(e)(1). While this is a domestic violence charge, it's a misdemeanor case that doesn't involve visible injuries. PC 243(e)(1) is the less serious charge than corporal injury to a spouse defined California Penal Code 273.5, which is a “wobbler” and it typically involves visible injuries on the victim.
Collateral Consequences for a Domestic Violence Conviction
If convicted of a domestic-violence related conviction, such as corporal injury to a spouse under Penal Code 273.5, there are several collateral consequences.
For example, if you possess a professional license, or will need to apply for one, a domestic violence conviction could result in a suspension or loss of your license, resulting serious consequences with your employment.
Also, a domestic violence conviction is a crime involving “moral turpitude,” which means an undocumented immigrant could be deported, excluded from entering the country, or a denial of naturalization.
It's important to note that even in a situation where your domestic violence charge is reduced to a lesser offense, you might still be subjected to mandatory sentencing provisions described under Penal Code 1203.097.
If your conviction involved a victim who is a former or current spouse, cohabitant, a co-parent, child, for example, there are specific requirements for sentencing.
Contact Our Defense Attorneys for Help
It's important to make note that while there are several reduced charges related to domestic violence, the main issue is always whether the prosecutor would even be open to lesser included crime.
You will need to retain a criminal defense lawyer who knows how to effectively negotiate with the prosecutor, identify mitigating factors, and problems in proving the domestic violence charges you are facing.
Your defense attorney will need to prepare a mitigation package with character letters and information about history. Clearly, the goal is to persuade the prosecutor to offer you something less than a domestic violence charge.
However, you should know that even if we are able to obtain a lesser charge, you will most likely still have to complete the 52-week domestic violence course and placed on probation. If you have been accused of domestic violence in Los Angeles, call our criminal defense attorneys to examine the details and options for a reduced charge.
Cron, Israels & Stark is a criminal defense law firm located at 11755 Wilshire Blvd, 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025. We have another office at 401 Wilshire Blvd #1200, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Contact us for a free case evaluation at 424-372-3112.