In 2017, there were 17,306 domestic violence incident reports made in San Diego County. The court system takes those domestic violence allegations seriously. Unfortunately, some people are wrongly accused. Without a San Diego domestic violence lawyer, you could face the full penalty for a crime you didn’t commit.
To defend yourself, you need to mount a strong legal defense. This often means working with an aggressive attorney. The Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC can take on your case.
What is Domestic Violence in California?
Every state has its own laws regarding domestic violence. In California, the penal code defines domestic violence as an “abuse” against an “intimate partner.” Abuse occurs when one person intentionally or recklessly threatens or uses force against a partner.
That partner could be a current or former spouse, domestic partner, or fiancé. It could also be a current or former cohabitant, dating partner, or the other parent of a child.
All too often, domestic violence involves children. For that reason, it’s also considered a crime to abuse children or other relatives of the abuser. This includes step-brothers, grandparents, and nieces or nephews.
Domestic violence comes in many forms. All of these situations could be classified as domestic violence:
If you use corporal punishment on a child, you are guilty of child abuse. Spanking is excluded from this, but any other cruel punishment that harms a child qualifies as corporal punishment. This crime can be punished with as long as one year in jail or three years in prison.
Similar to child abuse, child endangerment is also a crime. This occurs when a parent allows their loved one to experience harm. A separate crime, child neglect is also illegal. If a parent does not provide their child with the care they need, they are committing neglect.
Another type of domestic violence is elder abuse. A relative is not allowed to inflict physical or emotional abuse on individuals 65 years of age or older. Additionally, neglect and fraud involving an elderly victim also qualify as elder abuse.
It’s against the law to threaten an intimate partner. In fact, it could be considered a felony crime. Whether or not it is a felony depends on the severity of the threat.
At times, domestic violence involves stalking. This usually accompanies harassing or threatening a former intimate partner. If the person worries about their safety, the action can be considered a crime
One of the most well-known types of domestic violence is battery. An intimate partner is not allowed to use force or violence on their partner. There does not need to be a visible injury for the act to be considered a crime. Instead, other evidence can be used to build a case against the defendant.
Posting Harmful Information Online
In today’s internet-focused world, there’s a new form of domestic violence. Some aggressors post harmful information online. It’s also called indirect electronic harassment and occurs when someone posts or emails harmful details about an intimate partner. It needs to be done with an intent to harass the victim.
Although this might seem like a minor charge, it comes with serious penalties. You could serve up to one year in jail and receive a fine of as much as $1,000.
What are the Consequences of Domestic Violence in San Diego?
If you threaten to hurt or actually harm an intimate partner, you could face criminal charges. Those charges come with serious consequences. You could receive any of the following penalties:
- Jail or prison time (with a mandatory minimum sentence)
- Participation in a domestic violence class
- Victim restitution
- Restraining order
- Removal of custody rights
- Loss of rights to gun ownership in California
- Criminal record
- Deportation (if the individual is not a U.S. citizen)
Is the Crime a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Your criminal charges could be a misdemeanor or a felony. If it’s a misdemeanor, the consequences will be less severe. But they can still change your life.
Most domestic violence incidents are known as wobbler offenses. This means that they can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Usually, this depends on the severity of the injuries, the defendant’s criminal history, and the circumstances of the incident.
In most domestic violence cases, the decision is left to the judge and jury. Because of this, your attorney plays a crucial role in your case. If they are able to make a strong defense, they could convince the court that you deserve lesser charges.
How Can You Defend Domestic Violence Charges?
Being charged with a crime does not mean you will face the full extent of the law. If you work with someone who has knowledge of criminal law in San Diego, you can fight the charges.
There are several ways in which an attorney can defend the charges. However, not all legal strategies will work for your case. It’s important to speak with your attorney to determine which method is right for you.
All of the following are potential defense strategies for domestic violence cases. You can prove the:
- Incident was not intentional
- Defendant was not the one who caused the injuries
- Victim made a false claim of abuse
- Defendant acted in self-defense
If the defense is successful, there could be a few outcomes. First, the prosecutor could decide to drop the charges. Secondly, a judge could choose to dismiss the case. Even if the evidence is stacked against you, there could be the potential for a plea bargain. Your lawyer could get you an agreement that charges you with a lesser crime.
Looking for an Aggressive San Diego Domestic Violence Lawyer?
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to forego legal representation. Some people don’t realize the full impact of the charges. As a result, they don’t see a need for an attorney.
Unfortunately, all domestic violence criminal charges are serious. Your conviction could keep you from getting a job or renting a house. For some, the financial impact of a conviction can cause long-term financial distress.
You need someone with experience in domestic violence law to fight for your freedom. Contact the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC today to get started.