Spousal Abuse and Criminal Defense
Domestic violence can involve spouses, parents, domestic partners and others in a domestic relationship. It is against the law to inflict injury or threaten injury physically, emotionally or sexually against a child, spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, or other individual included in the domestic environment. The spousal abuse and other domestic violence laws in California are to protect victims and restrain the possibility of further acts of domestic violence. The Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers, Cron, Israels & Stark are experienced in all aspect of criminal law and domestic violence including defense against serious charges. We have over 80 years of combined legal experience helping clients facing misdemeanor and felony criminal charges, undergoing criminal investigations, and protecting their constitutional rights at each step of the legal process.
Spousal Abuse Laws
In California there are domestic violence units that work with the District Attorney’s Office to work aggressively in investigating and prosecuting spousal abuse and other domestic violence matters. The Penal Codes that apply to spousal abuse include:
- Penal Code 422 – Criminal Threats. The offender makes meaningful threats to cause serious harm to a family member or individual in a domestic relationship and the victim believes he/she is in imminent danger. These threats can be written, verbal, or by electronic means. A misdemeanor or felony charge would depend on the circumstances of the act and the defendant’s history.
- Penal Code 243(e)(1) – Domestic Battery. The offender uses unwanted force against a current or former spouse, cohabitant, the parent of the offender’s child, a current or former person the offender dated, or a fiancée. The charges are a misdemeanor or felony depending on the degree of injury or lack of injury.
- Penal Code 243(d) – Aggravated Battery. Different from domestic battery, aggravated battery involves infliction of serious bodily injury against a spouse or other person in a domestic relationship. The criminal history of the offender and the extent of injuries would determine whether it is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony case.
- Penal Code 273.5 – Inflicting Bodily Injury on a Spouse/Former Spouse/Cohabitant/Fellow Parent. If the offender wounds his/her current or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, or parent of the offender’s child it is serious crime. Severe injuries inflicted or a history of domestic violence can result in felony charges against the offender. If the wounds were slight then the offender may face misdemeanor allegations.
Spousal Abuse Convictions and Penalties
The domestic violence cases are treated differently than other crimes in the California judicial system. The cases are aggressively prosecuted and handled within the District Attorney’s Office. A victim cannot change his/her mind and drop the charges against the alleged offender. Instead, the victim becomes a witness as part of the prosecution’s case against the offender. The penalties are significant if found guilty.
- Criminal Threats: Misdemeanor – Maximum $1,000 fines; maximum 1 year county jail
- Criminal threats: Felony – Maximum $10,000 fines; 16 mos. -3 years state prison
- Bodily Injury: Misdemeanor – Maximum $6,000 fines and $5,000 home for battered women; maximum 1 year in county jail
- Bodily Injury: Felony – Maximum $6,000 fines and $5,000 home for battered women; maximum 2-4 years in state prison
- Domestic Battery: Maximum $2,000 fines; maximum 1 year county jail
- Aggravated Battery: Misdemeanor – Maximum $1,000 fines; maximum 1 year county jail
- Aggravated Battery: Felony – Maximum $10,000 fines; maximum 2-4 years state prison
- Attempted Murder: 1st degree – Maximum $10,000 fines; life in state prison with possible parole
- Attempted Murder: 2nd degree – Maximum $10,00 fines; 5-9 years state prison
If you are facing serious spousal abuse charges, you should have representation from an experienced domestic violence defense attorney who can protect your rights and present your side of the case to the prosecution. A conviction can result in serious penalties making it vital that you have proper legal advice and support. Call our law office to review your case.
The experienced attorneys with Cron, Israels & Stark can help with your spousal abuse defense.