Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is often thought about as using violence or force against a spouse, partner, or cohabitant. In reality, the term encompasses a much larger breadth of offenses, such as violence against the elderly or children, threatening behavior, and online harassment.

Many crimes can get enhanced with a domestic violence designation. Regardless of whether a defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, domestic violence violations usually result in a minimum jail sentence. This could extend up to 25 years or more, depending on the defendant’s criminal history and the nature of the alleged abuse.

In this article, we will discuss some of the common charges and resulting domestic violence jail time penalties for each. We will also look at which circumstances aggravate more severe penalties, which ones may mitigate them, and how your lawyer can help you construct your defense.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyers Office

If you or a loved one have been accused of domestic violence, it’s important to act fast. Enlisting the help of a highly-trained criminal defense lawyer who is well versed in California domestic violence laws is the best way to protect your rights in court.

A proficient California  lawyer like Louis J. Goodman can provide the legal support you need to win your case or negotiate a favorable plea bargain to lessen the severity of the resulting penalties. Do not delay contacting Louis J. Goodman to help defend yourself against criminal charges.

Is Domestic Violence a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

Domestic violence allegations are serious in California. A domestic violence charge is a designation, meaning it can enhance the severity of consequences when it coexists with other crimes.

For this reason, domestic violence is known as a “wobbler” in California. The term “wobbler” refers to a crime where the defendant can be convicted of either a misdemeanor or a felony, according to:

  • The circumstances surrounding the offense
  • The defendant’s criminal record
  • The extent of injuries the alleged victim sustained

Felony Domestic Violence

A felony is the most weighty classification of a criminal offense in the United States. Those convicted may be sentenced to serve jail time in state prison. Under Penal Code 273.5, ‘Corporal Injury’ to a spouse or cohabitant is one classification of domestic abuse that often results in a felony arrest but misdemeanor charges in Alameda County,  California.

Domestic violence can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor.

Misdemeanor Domestic Violence

Misdemeanors are crimes penalized by up to one year in county jail. The abuse-related offenses below may be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the case: 

  • Child Abuse
  • Child Endangerment
  • Elder Abuse
  • Stalking
  • Criminal threats
  • Aggravated trespass
  • Damaging a phone line

Certain mitigating or aggravating factors associated with the case may increase or decrease the classification and seriousness of sentencing.

What May Increase the Severity of Penalties?

In short, the gravity of the crime or allegation will impact the severity of sentencing. Aggravating circumstances in a domestic violence case are specific facts relating to the alleged offense that can be used against you in court or increase the severity of the charge. For example, a misdemeanor may escalate to a felony in the presence of certain aggravating facts.

A few of these situations may include:

  • Whether you have previous criminal convictions.
  • The number of charges made against you.
  • Whether you have broken “no contact” rulings or restraining orders leading up to the case.
  • Situational circumstances, such as whether the victim was pregnant with your unborn child at the time of the alleged offense.

Defending Domestic Violence Charges

When you contact a criminal defense lawyer, they will look at the mitigating circumstances around your case. Mitigating circumstances can help in negotiating for a favorable plea bargain to reduce the severity of the sentence. They may even get you off a charge. Alternatively, in situations when the defendant needs help, they may receive treatment rather than jail time. Some mitigating circumstances might include:

  • The alleged offense was an accident.
  • The harm caused was not a result of the defendant’s actions.
  • The defendant acted in self-defense or defense of another party.
  • The alleged victim made false accusations because of:
    • Anger or jealousy,
    • Divorce or child custody proceedings.

Working with a domestic violence attorney is the best way to defend yourself in court.

If you or someone you care about was arrested for domestic violence, it’s imperative to enlist the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney as early as possible. Louis J. Goodman has been exclusively practicing criminal defense in California for over 20 years. As a highly trained legal expert, he can build a dependable defense for any felony or misdemeanor charges. Contact Louis J. Goodman today for a free consultation to learn more about your case.

While domestic assault itself is broadly defined, the State of California has constructed an intricate set of legislation outlining situations under which it arises. Now let’s look at specific cases where domestic violence charges may be prosecuted as crimes.

Common Crimes and Penalties for Domestic Violence

Domestic violence in California can include battery, threats, neglect, and other forms of emotional, psychological, or physical harm. A few common domestic violence crimes are discussed below, along with the typical sentencing they carry.

Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Inhabitant

The act of inflicting serious bodily injury to a spouse or cohabitant is criminal, as outlined in Penal Code 273.5. Even when actions result in only slight physical harm to an intimate partner, you can be charged.

Corporal injury is a felony, and first-time offenders may face penalties from one year in county jail to up to four years in California state prison.

Domestic Battery

According to Penal Code 243(e)(1), California’s domestic battery legislation rules it a misdemeanor to use force or violence against an intimate partner. The alleged victim is not required to show signs of bodily injury.

Penalties for domestic battery can include fines of up to $2000 and up to one year in county jail.

Child Abuse

Under Penal Code 273d, it is illegal to impose corporal punishment on, or injure, a child. Reasonable spanking and discipline are not included in this law. However, any action deemed cruel taken against a child or that cause bodily injury are regarded as child abuse.

A first-time offender may receive a sentence of up to one year in county jail or up to three years in state prison.

Child Endangerment

Penal Code 273a states that it is illegal to allow a child under your care to suffer harm or be wilfully put in a situation where his or her safety becomes endangered. An example may be a child’s father letting his partner beat the child or a parent operating a methamphetamine lab in the home where the child lives.

When the danger presented is extreme or bodily harm caused is significant, this may be classified as a felony. If risk or injury is less severe, the crime is a misdemeanor and punishable by up to six months in county jail.

Causing undue harm to a child is illegal, according to California domestic violence laws.

Elder Abuse

In California, elder abuse is a wobbler. Under Penal Code 368, it is illegal to inflict any of the following abuse forms onto an individual aged 65 years or over:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Endangerment
  • Neglect
  • Financial Fraud

As a misdemeanor, defendants may be sentenced to up to one year in county jail. As a felony, state prison sentences can be up to four years.

Stalking

According to Penal Code 646.9, California’s stalking legislation makes it illegal to harass or threaten another person to the extent that they feel concerned for their safety or the safety of their family members.

Depending on the defendant’s criminal history, stalking can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. For misdemeanor domestic violence, county jail sentences may be up to one year. Alternatively, you may face up to three years in state prison if charged with a felony.

Criminal Threats

In line with Penal Code 422, criminal threats include threatening someone with serious harm. Criminal threats are a wobbler, and one may be penalized by up to one year in county jail if they are charged with a misdemeanor.

On the other hand, felonies may face up to four years in state prison. Additionally, a criminal threat charged as a felony counts as one strike under California’s three-strike law.

Aggravated Trespass

As per Penal Code 601. aggravated trespass is charged when someone has made a criminal threat against another individual, and then enters that person’s home or workplace to act upon those threats in the next 30 days.

This crime is a wobbler. A felony conviction may result in up to three years in jail.

Damaging a Phone Line

Penal Code 591 outlaws cutting or damaging a phone line. Situations where this may arise include when an abuser tries to prevent the victim from making a call or seeking help.

Damaging a phone line is considered a wobbler offense. When the defendant is charged with a felony, they may face fines of up to $10,000 and face jail time of up to three years.

Online Harassment

Harassing somebody online by dispersing personal information or media that causes harm to an individual is also considered a form of domestic abuse in California. It is a relatively new addition to the California legislation on domestic violence. The following two examples are criminal acts of online harassment:

Revenge Porn

Under Penal Code 647(j)(4), this type of cyber harassment occurs when someone intentionally distributes sexual images of an individual (such as an ex-girlfriend or ex-husband) to cause emotional affliction.

Revenge porn convictions can be penalized with a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in county jail.

Distributing Harmful Information Online

Penal Code 653.2 criminalizes the act of sharing or emailing harmful information about a person to try to cause other people to harass the victim.

In domestic abuse situations, this may be used to get revenge on somebody during a dispute. Charges may result in fines of up to $1,000 and up to one year in county jail, depending on the severity.

California’s Three-Strike Law

Under the Three Strike Law, the repercussions for felony domestic violence can be significant for those who already have a prior conviction. California’s three-strike law was initially enacted in 1994 and underwent amendments in 2012. If the defendant has already been charged with two felonies and gets charged with a third serious or violent felony, the law mandates a state prison sentence of at least 25 years-to-life.

Penalties can be extremely severe, with California's Three Strike Law.

Many domestic violence charges are considered by California law to be serious or violent felonies. If you have an existing criminal record, it’s best to pursue the help of experienced and highly trained California domestic violence lawyers like Louis J. Goodman to prepare a reliable defense. If you need a lawyer that can appropriately handle confidential or sensitive information and that guarantees a discrete attorney-client relationship, get in touch with Louis J. Goodman today.

Can a Defendant Receive Probation Instead of Jail Time?

There are occasions when a judge may be willing to sentence a domestic violence defendant to probation rather than sentencing jail time. Usually, this is more common where:

  • The injuries inflicted are not significant,
  • Or it is the defendant’s first offense.

Felony domestic violence charges typically arise when injuries or harm caused are significant. For this reason, probation is a more likely outcome when a case is prosecuted as a misdemeanor domestic violence.

The defendant may still receive a mandatory minimum jail time, and many of the below consequences still apply if the defendant is found guilty of committing the domestic violence incident. Furthermore, should the defendant choose to violate probation, the judge may revoke probation and send the defendant to serve jail time.

Additional Consequences For a Domestic Violence Conviction

Domestic violence convictions do not necessarily stop at fines and incarcerations. They can impact the lives of the convicted in many ways. Here is a brief description of additional consequences associated with a domestic violence conviction. Depending on your case, some or all of these may apply.

Jail Time

It’s common for many counties in California to impose a minimum jail time sentence of 30 days for domestic violence convictions. This includes those who have committed a first-time offense and those who are charged with a misdemeanor.

Payment of Fines

In addition to any fines ruled in sentencing, you may be liable for paying victim restitution that covers expenses such as the victim’s medical bills, mental health support, loss of income, or property damage.

The defendant is also required to pay $500 to fund domestic violence programs locally.

Participation in Batterers’ Course

It’s common for judges to send convicted domestic abusers to attend a 52-week counseling and treatment program. This is usually the case even when batterers have been sentenced to a misdemeanor or felony probation, instead of part or all of the defendant’s sentence.

Permanent Criminal Record

If the defendant receives a domestic violence conviction, it will go on their permanent criminal record. This can negatively impact professional opportunities, housing, state licensing, and other civil opportunities.

A criminal record can impact your professional opportunities.

The California Fair Chance Act prohibits employers from conducting a criminal background check before making a job offer. However, many offers get drafted with contingency clauses based on the outcomes of a background check. This is particularly relevant if you work in education, healthcare, and other client-facing professions.

Loss of Child Custody Rights

It is common for a domestic violence convicted parent to lose custody rights over their children. To determine custody, a family law judge does not necessarily need a conviction to discern that there has been violence in the household. That said, with a domestic violence conviction of one parent against another in the past five years, they will understand there was domestic violence present.

Many parents who lose custody of their children can still obtain visitation rights under specified conditions.

Revocation of Gun Rights

According to Penal Code 29805, a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction will result in a 10-year firearms ban. If the misdemeanor is convicted as a crime in violation of federal law, it will result in a lifetime revocation of gun rights.

Similarly, if the defendant is convicted of a felony it will result in a lifetime loss of gun rights according to both California and federal law.

Immigration Consequences

In many cases, domestic violence convictions are counted as aggravated felonies. Any non-US citizen convicted may be subject to:

  • deportation from the United States, and/or
  • ineligibility to reenter the United States or apply for a green card.

These consequences, along with the potential for a hefty prison sentence from the judge, underpin the importance of contacting an experienced criminal defense lawyer with a strong track record of success as soon as possible. There are many legal defenses your lawyer can help you build, such as pre-trial diversion or negotiating a plea bargain for a more favorable outcome. In the case that a false domestic violence allegation was made against you, your attorney will help you prove that this is the case.

Final Thoughts

Domestic assault is a serious offense that results in broad consequences in California. Penalties, including domestic violence jail time will affect almost every aspect of your life, including your family, your career, and possibly even the place where you live for years to come.

Regardless of whether a defendant is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, they will usually receive a minimum jail sentence and criminal record. To protect your rights in California courts of law, it’s important to have a highly trained criminal defense attorney at your side.

If you have been accused of domestic battery, Louis J. Goodman will ensure that your side of the story is accurately and diligently represented in court to achieve justice. Contact Louis J. Goodman today to speak in confidentiality about your case.

Very few people plan for the expense of a domestic violence lawyer at any given point in their lives. Yet, the cost of not having a lawyer to defend you in court often costs more than the price of fair and accurate legal representation.

According to the United States Department of Justice, domestic violence is considered a pattern of abusive behavior used by one individual in a domestic relationship to gain or keep control over another. The term may relate to physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional actions or threats that negatively impact another person.

The implications of domestic violence charges are costly. Criminal consequences can be severe if you are found criminally liable, though the ramifications can seep into your personal life, relationships, professional prospects, and overall well being. A domestic violence lawyer, criminal defense attorney, or family law attorney can provide you and your family with legal agency.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the question of how much a domestic violence attorney costs, as well as the value your defense lawyer can provide you.

What’s The Cost of a Domestic Violence Charge?

A domestic violence accusation is serious, and the consequences of a charge can complicate life in many ways. The financial expense associated with seeking legal representation in a domestic violence case should not be considered equal to the cost of being charged. Depending on the severity of your case, you may pay the price in access to your children, loss of your career, injury to your public reputation, and restrictions to your professional prospects for years into the future.

The ultimate price of a DV allegation may be more than what you expect. 

The legal support your domestic violence attorney can provide may include seeking protective orders for victims, legal representation for divorce cases also related to domestic violence, and legal agency for those charged. Your attorney can also provide legal support to protect children involved in domestic violence cases.

Hiring a domestic violence defense attorney is the best way to ensure that your rights and interests are represented in court.

Find a Domestic Violence Defense Attorney As Soon As Possible

When you face domestic violence allegations, you need to solicit legal support at the earliest possible convenience. Your criminal defense lawyer will help you prepare for the case and provide the legal protection and representation necessary to mitigate the harm those allegations may do to you.

Criminal defense law firms will help plan your defense so that you are fairly and equitably represented before the courts. Louis J. Goodman is a California attorney exclusively practicing criminal defense law who can offer you full legal support with competitive attorney fees. Consult with Louis J. Goodman today to discuss your case and plan a reliable defense.

Charges Associated With Domestic Violence Enhancements

Domestic violence charges are considered a ‘wobbler offense’ in California, meaning that according to certain mitigating or aggravating factors, they can be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony offense.

Several criminal offenses can be enhanced by a domestic violence designation, each potentially resulting in jail time or other severe penalties. Here are some examples of charges that fall under the umbrella of domestic violence:

  • Assault
  • False imprisonment or kidnapping
  • Abuse of an elder
  • Unlawful sexual comportment
  • Child abuse
  • Criminal harassment
  • Stalking

While the above are a few examples, the prosecution can add a DV enhancement to any criminal offense with sufficient evidence. Furthermore, any aggravating circumstances may increase the severity of the penalties you face for a domestic violence-enhanced charge. For example, if the alleged victim was pregnant at the time of the alleged offense, a misdemeanor charge may escalate to a felony.

What are the Penalties for Domestic Violence?

Along with the possibility of punishment by jail time, various other repercussions can arise from a California domestic violence conviction. These could ultimately impact your life in significant ways and may include:

  • Mandatory participation in a batterer’s intervention program
  • Payment of fines or victim recompensation
  • A permanent criminal record
  • A restraining order
  • Loss of child custody
  • Revocation of California gun rights
  • Immigration ramifications for non-citizens (for example, deportation or inadmissibility to the USA)

The implications of a DV charge extend beyond criminal punishment.

In most cases, when your case is correctly handled by a competent lawyer, you will not end up serving jail time. You may be able to avoid a domestic violence designation altogether. It’s critical to consider your lawyer’s experience with domestic violence cases and criminal defense representation so you can trust that your case is in the most proficient hands.

What Factors Impact a Domestic Violence Lawyer’s Cost?

The average domestic violence attorney fees in California vary depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. I do not charge for an initial consultation and we can discuss all issues, including legal fees at an appropriate time.

  • Whether the case is held at the civil court, criminal court, or divorce and family court
  • Whether you have been charged or convicted with DV before
  • Whether you have prior criminal convictions
  • The type of experience your lawyer has
  • Lawyer’s track record of success with previous cases
  • Whether the case is likely to resolve in a plea or a trial
  • The number of charges made against you

 

The best way to achieve justice is to get an experienced lawyer.

It’s recommended that you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options and get an idea of the attorney fees for your case. You can call Louis J Goodman for a no-obligation, free consultation. Here, you can take the first steps to learn more about your case and get a written statement of fees for your consideration.

Cost Does Not Equal Price

The cost of legal representation by a highly-trained and experienced domestic violence attorney is often little when compared with the value of what you stand to lose without a lawyer. After all, it’s hard to put a price on justice.

By working with a proficient and competent attorney, you can regain your peace of mind. Not to mention the civil liberties, family connections, and professional opportunities that remain open to you in the future. These are usually significantly more valuable to alleged domestic violence offenders than the cost of fair representation. Rather than considering the price tag of a legal defense, it may help to think about the ideal outcomes you seek and whether your lawyer can achieve those results.

Protect Your Rights With a Domestic Violence Lawyer

When you’re facing a domestic violence charge, the aftermath can reverberate through your family relationships, professional prospects, public reputation, and overall wellbeing for years to come. Not to mention the potential criminal punishments such a charge carries.

Domestic violence is broadly defined and is taken seriously by the California justice system. The best way to mitigate the impacts of a domestic violence conviction is to seek a highly-skilled and disciplined criminal defense lawyer to represent you and defend your rights in court.

Louis J. Goodman is a California attorney exclusively practicing criminal defense for over 20 years. With a comprehensive understanding of the California justice system, enduring practice of domestic violence defense, and an impeccable reputation among judges and prosecutors. Please contact Louis J. Goodman today.

It’s common for employers in many sectors to see domestic violence charges as grounds for termination, suspension, or revocation of professional licenses.

The repercussions of a domestic violence conviction, including jeopardized future career opportunities or reduced access to housing options, can have long lasting consequences that affect your life. It’s crucial for those facing domestic violence charges – whether they’re false or severe – to onboard experienced legal representation to build a strong defense.

In this blog post, we’re going to explore how a domestic violence crime may show up in your background check and why you need to contact a criminal lawyer as soon as possible.

How is Domestic Violence Prosecuted?

California domestic abuse law is governed by Penal code 273.5. Domestic abuse in the eyes of the law is considered bodily injury inflicted on a current partner, previous partner, cohabitant, or the parent of your child.

In many cases, a domestic violence conviction gets charged as a misdemeanor. There are situations where this charge becomes escalated to a felony, such as when you have previous domestic violence charges, when a minor is involved, or when there is serious bodily injury or sexual assault caused to the victim.

If you have a domestic violence offense in California, you’ll most likely answer to one of the two following charges.

Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant

Corporal injury generally arises if the injuries inflicted result in a traumatic condition. Trauma, in this case, is classified as a wound or injury.

going to jail

Slight bruising or a red mark can be considered traumatic. Emotional trauma is exempt from this charge, and the prosecutor must provide evidence of intent to cause injury.

Penalties for Corporal Injury

Corporal injury typically gets charged as a felony. If you’re convicted, you may serve up to 4 years in state prison – but this could be longer depending on the injuries imposed. In addition, you may have to attend mandatory domestic violence classes for up to a year.

If you’ve committed domestic violence or other sexual, weaponry, or attempted assaults in the last seven years, you may receive a longer prison sentence with fines of up to $10,000. Severe bodily harm to the victim may result in consecutive jail sentences.

Spousal Battery

According to the California Penal code, battery encompasses the willful and unlawful application of violence on a spouse. The victim is not required to produce visible injury for you to be found guilty.

Penalties for Spousal Battery

Generally, the spousal battery is charged as a misdemeanor. When somebody is convicted of domestic battery, the individual is required to pay a fine of $2000 and may face county jail time of up to one year, depending on the severity of the offense.

If your conviction occurs alongside other domestic violence or assault charges from the past seven years, it may result in more severe penalties.

On the other hand, an attorney could get these charges reduced to lower or no prison time. In this case, the courts may instead rule a probationary sentence.

Build Your Defense

When an individual gets accused of domestic violence, the implications of a criminal conviction can be severe. If you are falsely accused, it’s critical to recruit the experience of a legal attorney to give you the best defense case in the court of law and minimize the long-term implications of your trial. 

Louis J. Goodman has practiced criminal law for over 30 years and has the experience and competency you need to build a strong defense case for your conviction.

If you’re facing severe or false domestic violence charges, speak with your domestic violence defense attorney at Louis J. Goodman today.

Are Domestic Violence Records Public in California?

Most domestic violence records are visible to the public. When someone files a court case in California, the courts keep an official record of the case. Information about you and the case may be made available in these documents. Unless the courts have made the case confidential, people can search and view public records.

Doll on the ground

In most instances, individuals can access these public records electronically at the courthouse or online from a device such as a tablet, smartphone, or computer.

Your case may be confidential, though generally speaking it will be available for public viewing on public record unless it involves a minor.

How Long do Charges Appear on your Criminal Record?

A misdemeanor offense is a wrongdoing or a crime. It will appear on your criminal record just as a felony conviction would. There is no “expiration date” for these convictions in California. That is to say, all misdemeanor offenses in California will stay on your record for life unless you have successfully petitioned to expunge the misdemeanor from your criminal record.

For felony or misdemeanor convictions, you may apply for expungement the day after your probation ends. If you have a charge with no probation, you are required to wait one year from the conviction to expunge the case.

Expungement is conditional on you not currently facing any criminal charges and not serving a sentence for a criminal offense at the time of application.

The California Seven Year Rule

Employers can access your criminal history once they’ve made a conditional offer of employment. However, according to the law in California, employers cannot access information about your criminal record that dates back more than seven years, with only a few exceptions.

This law means that convictions only in the last seven years will show up, and California employers cannot disqualify based on charges before that time.

Will a Domestic Violence Conviction Show Up Background Check?

If you are applying for employment, a place of residence, and in some cases, a state license, it’s common for administrators to run a background check. When you’re convicted of a domestic violence crime, it’s natural to wonder “does domestic violence show up on my  background check?”

Well yes, usually it does. The contents of background checks can vary significantly, depending on the information required by the person or company running the check.

Unless you have had your conviction expunged or you were convicted more than seven years ago, your charges will show up on a criminal background check.

Anybody running a criminal background check in California is required to do the following in advance of their inquest:

  • Provide written notice that a background check and report may be required
  • Obtain the applicant’s permission to conduct a background check via an authorization form
  • Provide notice if the company plans to use the applicant’s associates as character references
  • Notify the applicant if the information in the background check has influenced adverse hiring decisions.

Will Domestic Violence Charges Show up on a Pre-Employment Check?

If your domestic violence charge still shows up on your record, prospective employers will see it when they conduct a pre-employment criminal background check.

The person employing you may be able to see information such as:

  • The criminal charge or charges
  • The date it was filed
  • Disposition of the case
  • Offense level
  • Information about the sentence

When it comes to domestic violence, employers may be more cautious about onboarding a convicted applicant.

The circumstances surrounding this event will usually influence the employer’s decision-making. However, according to the Ban the Box Law in California, employers cannot access any criminal conviction history in advance of making a conditional offer of employment.

California’s Ban the Box Law

California’s ban-the-box law prohibits employers from inquiring into the applicant’s criminal convictions – expunged or not – before making an offer of conditional employment.

Employers are only able to view an applicant’s criminal history once a conditional offer of employment has been extended.

 concrete crack with band aid

Even after an employer has seen the criminal record, they cannot retract the proposal before making an individualized assessment. An individual assessment considers the nature and gravity of the offense, whether the crime has a direct and adverse impact on the specific job duties, and the time passed since the conviction.

Do Expunged or Sealed Records Show Up on a Criminal Background Check?

When the courts expunge the record of a conviction or trial, the case files become more limited from public access. It does not seal the record or prevent all disclosure.  A sophisticated researcher will see that there was an arrest, a conviction, a period of probation – successfully served, and then the case dismissed.

Generally, sealed records cannot be disclosed in most pre-employment background checks, although certain exceptions apply for employment applications to law enforcement agencies, some government agencies, and some educational institutions. These outcomes may depend on the nature of your case and the results of your conviction.

If a significant amount of time lapsed passed between your case’s resolution and your decision to expunge it, convictions may continue to show up in criminal record databases until the systems are updated to reflect the expungement.

It’s best to seek guidance from a criminal defense attorney when you want to expunge domestic violence convictions from your criminal records.

Do You Have False Domestic Violence Charges?

Domestic violence charges can seriously impact your current or future employment, applications for residences, and in some cases obtaining state licenses.

If you are facing severe or false domestic violence charges, the best way to fight it is to seek legal guidance from an experienced criminal attorney who can help you build a strong defense.

Louis J. Goodman is a California criminal lawyer who can help you fight any false domestic violence accusations or assist you in getting your records expunged. Don’t compromise your future as a result of these charges, contact the team at Louis J. Goodman today.

Every domestic dispute case is unique. Therefore, the consequences of a domestic violence offense depend upon a variety of factors. Many offenses could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, which would result in different penalties. Determination is based on the circumstances of the situation, whether any injuries occurred, the seriousness of incurred injuries and the defendant’s prior offenses.

When law enforcement is called for a domestic dispute, under California law, they must arrest someone if they find probable cause that an altercation has occurred. There are multiple forms of domestic violence offenses a defendant could be charged with, including domestic battery, stalking or harassment. Depending on the charge, a conviction could result in these penalties:

  • Fines
  • Time in jail
  • Completion of a domestic abuse treatment program
  • Community service
  • Payments to a domestic violence program
  • Restitution payments to the alleged victim

A domestic violence charge could also negatively affect your everyday way of life in other ways. Other implications include:

Your right to own a weapon. Current law requires a convicted defendant to surrender their weapons for up to 10 years. However, Governor Jerry Brown signed a law in 2019 that will keep certain defendants from ever possessing a firearm. According to the law, certain domestic violence misdemeanors could result in losing your right to own or possess a weapon forever.

Loss of child custody rights. California considers domestic violence charges when granting child custody. In most cases, a defendant convicted of domestic violence will lose sole or joint custody rights and receive visitation rights only. However, because the court takes into account the best interest of the child, if custody to the other party is a worse option, the court may allow the defendant to keep custody rights.

Sex offender registration. Some stalking charges could result in the defendant being required to register as a sex offender. Being registered as a sex offender would cause serious limitations on your life including limitations on where you work and live.

Employment. A domestic violence charge could seriously affect your employment. If you work in a public service industry such as teaching or nursing, you could lose your job. Military professionals could lose their right to possess a weapon too. California state law affects military personnel and law enforcement officers. If applying for jobs, your conviction could come up during an employment background check and make it more difficult for you to get a job.

Need an Alameda County Domestic Violence Defense Attorney?

The Law Office of Louis J. Goodman understands the serious consequences a domestic violence allegation can have on your life. If you have been arrested for domestic violence in Alameda County, I recommend that you remain silent and contact a domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible. California’s domestic violence laws are complicated. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights under the law as well as how the law could affect your case.

Having an experienced attorney on your side could help you negotiate a more favorable outcome. For example, if your domestic violence offense is being charged as a felony, a defense attorney could help reduce your charge to a misdemeanor. Call (510) 582-9090 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Defending yourself against domestic violence charges can be difficult. However, you do have certain rights and options that may help you throughout the process. First and foremost, you should get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney for assistance in building your case.

After that, it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with the following actions:

Understanding the Definition of Domestic Violence

Under state law, domestic violence is defined as harming, or threatening to harm, an intimate partner. Common charges include domestic battery and inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner.

For purposes of criminal law, an intimate partner may include a current or former spouse, a current or former domestic partner, a current or former fiance, a person with whom you have a child, or a current or former significant other.

Consequences of a conviction may include jail time, participation in an intervention program, payment of fines, loss of custody rights, a permanent criminal record, and loss of gun rights. You may also face a restraining order.

Building a Defense

Common defenses used against domestic violence charges include:

  • Claiming you did not commit the crime at all
  • Claiming your former spouse or partner fabricated the story
  • Claiming it was an accident, and therefore unintentional
  • Claiming you were defending yourself or your children
  • Claiming the incident cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt
  • Claiming the incident took place because of your partner’s violent behavior
  • Claiming the police made errors during their investigation and/or arrest

As soon as you hire an attorney, the police report of the incident will be carefully combed through for details. Is there a recorded call to emergency services that supports the victim’s story? Were there witnesses? What was your emotional state during the incident? Do you have a history of violence? Does your home show the signs of a physical struggle?

Your chosen defense will help your attorney determine where to look for possible evidence that backs up your claim.

Asking for a Continuance

Because a hearing in a domestic violence case typically takes place within ten days of the complaint, you may choose to ask the court to “continue” the hearing — giving you additional time to build your case.

Conducting Discovery

During any criminal case, you have the right to ask for certain documents to build your defense, including copies of medical records regarding the injuries the victim claims to have suffered, a list of witnesses the victim intends to bring to the stand during trial, and copies of all evidence the victim will use in court.

You can also find evidence for yourself, including details from the police report, information from third-party witnesses that are not being used by the victim, or additional photographs and tape recordings you have in your possession.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney for Representation

Have you found yourself in a situation where you are defending yourself against domestic violence charges? An experienced Alameda County criminal defense attorney can help you understand and fight for your rights. Contact our team at The Law Office of Louis J. Goodman by calling (510) 582-9090.

Additional Reading:

Under California law, you could be served with a restraining order for a multitude of reasons. A domestic violence restraining order is used when there has been alleged abuse from a spouse, former spouse or someone the plaintiff is dating or used to date. It can also be used when there has been alleged abuse against a close family member, cohabitant, co-parent or child.

Abuse does not necessarily mean physical abuse. Though abuse does include acts or attempted acts of physical or sexual harm, verbal harassment and intimidation are also considered forms of abuse.

If you have a restraining order against you, it could affect many of your rights:

Your right to contact. Generally, a restraining order protects the plaintiff from any contact with the defendant. This means you may not contact the plaintiff through text, phone call, e-mail, by mail or in person. In addition, you may not come near or contact anyone who lives with the plaintiff.

Your right to see your children. In addition to restricting contact with the plaintiff, a restraining order could affect your ability to see your children. The court could grant child custody rights to the plaintiff. However, depending on the court order, you could be granted child visitation rights.

Your right to live on your property. A restraining order could order you to leave your apartment or house if you are currently living with the plaintiff. It does not matter if the property is in your name.

Your right to go where you please. In addition to staying away from the plaintiff’s home and workplace, you may also be required to stay away from your child’s school and homes of the plaintiff’s family members. Also, if you come across the plaintiff in public, you should leave the area or you could be arrested.

Your right to possess or own a firearm. When a restraining order has been filed against you, you must turn in all of your firearms to local authorities or have them stored with a licensed firearm dealer. You must file proof of completion within 48 hours of receiving the court order.

How an Alameda County Restraining Order Attorney Could Help You

If you have been served a restraining order, you should contact an experienced, restraining order attorney before your court hearing. In California, a restraining order can last up to five years. If you fail to come to your court hearing, you forfeit your right to stand up for yourself.

At the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman, we could help you file a legal response to the restraining order against you, defend your rights in court and fight for a fair outcome. If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities under California law, we could answer your questions. Contact our office at (510) 582-9090 or fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation.

When one thinks of domestic violence, commonly, that violence occurs between either spouses, significant others or family members. But when an assault or battery occurs between two roommates, does this count as domestic violence?

The short answer – no, not typically. And here’s why.

Domestic Violence Laws in California

California’s domestic violence statutes are defined most by penal codes 273.5 and 243(e)(1), which only cover physical attacks against certain people, including:

  • Spouses, whether current or former
  • Fiancés or former fiancés
  • Co-parents of children
  • Current or past romantic partners
  • Cohabitants or former cohabitants

It may seem like roommates are covered under this law – roommates are cohabitants, after all. However, courts have consistently held that the California domestic violence codes only apply to cohabitants that have been involved in some type of romantic or sexual relationship.

To quote one California appellate court:

The term cohabitant “requires something more than a platonic, rooming-house arrangement.” It “has been interpreted ‘broadly’ to refer to those ‘ “living together in a substantial relationship — one manifested, minimally, by permanence and sexual or amorous intimacy.”  – People v. Holifield, 205 Cal.App.3d 993 (1998)

So, if you are accused of battery by a roommate, then you should make it clear to your attorney that you were never involved in any intimate relationship with your roommate. This won’t protect you from battery claims, but it can eliminate any doubt as to whether domestic violence has occurred.

What Do I Do If I Have Been Accused of Battery by a Roommate in California?

Battery accusations can lead to serious penalties, including jail time and expensive fines. You need to speak to a criminal defense attorney to preserve your rights if you have been accused of battery, whether domestic or otherwise. Call us for a free consultation at (510) 582-9090, or contact us online and tell us about your case.