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Domestic Violence Sentencing in Los Angeles Courts

All domestic violence related incidents are considered a serious matter in  Los Angeles County criminal courts. Over the past few decades, there has been numerous high-profile California domestic violence cases that received a lot of negative publicity for the courts and prosecutors. There has been a renewed effort to aggressively prosecute and sentence any defendant convicted for serious spousal and child abuse cases that are directly connected to domestic violence.

In Los Angeles County, domestic violence cases are probably one of the most reported crimes to police. Under California law, there are many domestic violence statues and most are “wobblers,” meaning the prosecutor can file the case as either a misdemeanor or felony offense.

If convicted of domestic violence related crime, there are typically numerous different punishments a judge will impose, but the collateral consequences of a conviction can be life-altering.

There are a variety of penalties for different types of domestic violence charges. Some DV cases are a misdemeanor crime that can result in up to one year in county jail and fines. However, a felony domestic violence conviction will result for more severe penalties that could include a “strike” on your criminal record pursuant to California's Three Strikes law.

There are a variety of different types of domestic violence related charges, including domestic battery, corporal injury to a spouse, criminal threats, child abuse, child endangerment, violating a restraining order, witness intimidation, elder abuse, stalking, and more.

To give more useful information about domestic violence sentencing in Los Angeles, our California criminal defense attorneys are providing an outline below.

Terms of Probation for Domestic Violence Conviction

If you are convicted of a domestic violence related incident in a Los Angeles criminal court, you will have specific terms and conditions of probation you must follow. It should be noted you could be required to serve some jail time as a condition of your probation.

Typically, the court will order you to participate in counseling or attend anger management classes. If you don't successfully complete the imposed terms in a timely manner, you might face a violation of probation charges.

If you court places you on domestic violence probation, you will normally be ordered to complete a 52-week domestic violence class that is called the Batterers' Intervention Program (BIP). California Penal Code 1203.097 describes the terms and condition of probation for a domestic violence conviction.

This one-year domestic violence program requires that you attend a 2-hour class one time each week and it has to be successfully completed within 18 months. Your regular attendance in the classes is very important because you can't miss more than 3 classes and each absence must be for a good cause.

Additionally, you will have to pay the program fees yourself, but the fees could be modified if you don't have the ability to pay them. The purpose of these classes are to give you a clear understanding on the issues that are causing your domestic violence incidents and to prevent more domestic abuse incidents down the road.

The judge also has the discretion to order you to complete a certain amount of community service hours that will be a condition of probation.  You might also be ordered to pay court fines and victim restitution for any damages incurred due to your behavior.

Domestic Violence Protective Order

The court will also issue a protective order prohibiting you from making contact with the victim. However, it should be noted the judge has the authority to modify the protective order allowing peaceful contact if the victim makes such as request.

If the judge makes the modification, it would mean you can communicate with the victim, but you will be ordered that you can't annoy, strike, or harass them.

You should be aware there are some judges who will still order a full protective order even when the victim is asking for a peaceful contact order. Clearly, protective orders are issued by the judge in an effort to protect domestic violence victims.

When full protective orders are issued, it can have devastating consequences on a couple who might have a desire to reconcile their relationship and work out their disagreements privately.

The specific terms of domestic violence protective orders can often vary greatly because the judge has discretion over the conditions imposed and who is protected by the order.

If you violate the terms of the protective order, you could face a probation violation and new criminal charges described under Penal Code 273.5 PC. 

Probation and Jail Time for Domestic Violence Conviction

If convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime, such as PC 243(e)(1) , domestic battery, you will typically be placed on probation for a specific amount of time.

Your probation can be unsupervised or supervised through the probation department, and you must successfully complete all the terms and conditions set by the court.  If you don't, you could be sentenced to up to one year in county jail and fined up to $6,000.

If convicted of a felony domestic violence, like Penal Code 273.5 corporal injury to a spouse or Penal Code 422 criminal threats, you could be sentenced to up to six years in a California state prison.

There are also other types of California domestic violence that can result in probation or jail time. These include child abuse under Penal Code 273d, child endangerment under Penal Code 273a, and elder abuse described under Penal Code 368.

If you are charged with domestic violence within 7 years of a prior conviction, you could be facing increased penalties. Also, a felony domestic violence conviction might be considered a “strike” under California's Three Strikes Law.

Domestic Violence Conviction and Collateral Consequences

It should be noted that in addition to the court penalties listed above, you could be facing numerous collateral consequences that are directly related to being convicted of a domestic violence offense.

For instance, it's possible you might lose custodial rights with your children.  You might also lose your right to possess or own a firearm. Domestic violence is also considered a crime of moral turpitude. This means if you are an undocumented immigrant, the consequences might include deportation, denial of naturalization, or being excluded from admission into the United States.

If you possess a professional license for your employment, then a domestic violence conviction might result in the loss of your license.

If you have been accused of any type of domestic violence offense, call our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers to review the case and immediate options. We have a track record of success and extensive experience in all local courthouses.

We know the most effective strategies that will give you the best chance at a positive outcome on the case. We might be able to negotiate with the prosecutor on reduced charges or even get the case dropped through prefiling intervention.

Cron, Israels & Stark is a criminal defense law firm 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 us for a free case consultation at (424) 372-3112.

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