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Sacramento Domestic Violence Lawyer

An experienced Sacramento domestic violence lawyer can be an invaluable asset if you have been charged with crimes of domestic violence. Domestic violence cases can be extremely complicated and emotionally involved, especially if there are children involved. Parties usually have very different recollections and interpretations about exactly what happened during an incident. Moreover, it is sometimes difficult for those accused of domestic violence crimes to get a fair trial.

This is because the public tends to assume that people charged with such a crime are automatically guilty, before considering the witnesses and other evidence presented at trial. If you have been charged with a crime of domestic violence, you need a Sacramento criminal defense lawyer on your side every step of the way. At our firm, we will review all of the facts and circumstances of your case and help you develop a solid defense strategy. A skilled attorney may be able to help you obtain a charge reduction, dismissal, or a favorable plea deal.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence in California?

Crimes of domestic violence are treated more harshly than other assault and battery crimes. In California, domestic violence crimes are governed by Section 273.5 of the California Penal Code.

The California Penal Code defines domestic violence as an altercation between spouses, former spouses, cohabiting couples, or former cohabiting couples, that results in a traumatic bodily injury. The Code defines “traumatic bodily injury” as “internal or external wound caused by physical force.

In other words, almost any identifiable injury including a cut or bruise will constitute a “traumatic bodily injury”. Broken bones or black eyes are not required. As with all California criminal allegations, the state has the burden of proof. This means the state must prove all of the elements of the domestic violence crime in order to obtain a conviction.

What Are the Penalties for Conviction?

California treats domestic violence convictions harshly. Pursuant to the California Penal Code, a crime of domestic violence may be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending upon the seriousness of the offense and the circumstances. The state may also consider your criminal history in deciding whether or not to charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony. For example, if you are a repeat offender or have committed more than one act of domestic violence against the same victim, it is more likely that you will be charged with a felony.

Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Penalties

A conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence could result in some or all of the following penalties:

  • Incarceration in the county jail of up to 1 year
  • A fine of up to $6,000 (subject to increase, depending upon the number of prior offenses and convictions)
  • Reimbursement to the domestic violence victim for reasonable costs of counseling and other expenses the court finds are a direct result of defendant’s offense
  • A restraining order
  • Payment of up to $5,000 to a battered women’s shelter
  • Mandatory 52 weeks’ domestic violence counseling class
  • Up to three years of probation

Felony Domestic Violence Penalties

A felony domestic violence conviction could result in some or all of the following penalties:

  • Incarceration in the state prison for up to 4 years. This is depending upon the defendant’s criminal history and nature of the underlying offense. Time increases to 5 years if there is a prior conviction within 7 years.
  • Formal probation
  • Possible strike on the defendant’s criminal record
  • Restraining order
  • Restitution
  • Mandatory 52 weeks’ domestic violence counseling class
  • Reimbursement to the domestic violence victim for reasonable costs of counseling and other expenses the court finds are a direct result of defendant’s offense

Defenses for Domestic Violence Charges

As with all criminal charges, possible defenses for domestic violence cases include self-defense, defense of others, alibi, and lack of criminal intent. An experienced domestic violence lawyer can review your case and subsequently develop legal defenses and options. If you are facing domestic violence charges, you need an experienced Sacramento criminal lawyer. At our firm, we can protect your legal rights as well as help you develop a sound legal strategy that increases your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.

Call The Chastaine Law Office today at (916) 943-4487 for your initial consultation!

Contact The Chastaine Law Office

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