Although our country’s criminal justice system recognizes that the accused must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, the reality is that mere allegations of abuse or misconduct can damage your reputation beyond repair. If someone has accused you of domestic violence, your friends and family members may start to view you differently (and, in some cases, they may begin distancing themselves from you). Even if the allegations are baseless, exaggerated, or false, you may suffer disastrous consequences—both personally and professionally. However, before you assume the worst, reach out to a skilled and experienced Palmdale criminal defense attorney to discuss your options. Former Deputy District Attorney and Former Judge Pro Tem David Wallin has a thorough understanding of every aspect of the criminal justice process. He’s committed to helping those facing domestic violence charges defend their rights and obtain the best possible outcome given the case’s specifics. Let’s take a look at how California defines domestic violence crimes, the potential penalties these offenses carry, and how your criminal defense lawyer can help you prepare the strongest defensive strategy to keep your future bright.
Domestic Violence Offenses in California
Most people are familiar with the term “domestic violence,” and they tend to picture an abuser (usually a male) physically harming or verbally assaulting a victim (who may be a spouse, ex, or intimate partner). However, it’s essential to understand that domestic violence takes many forms, and anyone can become a perpetrator or survivor of domestic assault. What’s more, California law does not have an exact criminal offense that addresses domestic violence. Instead, California Penal Code Section 243 defines battery as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” When battery is committed against a current or former spouse, cohabitant, intimate partner, or co-parent, the alleged perpetrator will likely face criminal charges. Essentially, acts of violence or verbal threats made to intimidate or control a dating partner, spouse, or ex can trigger criminal charges that fall under the more extensive umbrella term of domestic violence. It’s important to recognize that these offenses may not involve actual physical harm; trespassing, electronic harassment, or stalking can lead to criminal charges for attempting to control, monitor, or deprive the victim of their independence and autonomy.
Potential Penalties For Domestic Violence Convictions
Those facing domestic violence charges naturally want to know how a conviction could impact their life. Several factors influence the nature and severity of the charges you could face, such as the types of injuries the victim suffered, whether you used a firearm to intimidate the other person, and whether you have previous convictions for similar offenses. Prosecutors will likely pursue felony charges if the alleged victim sustained visible and significant injuries, like noticeable bruises or broken bones. Instances involving more minor injuries typically lead to misdemeanor charges. Misdemeanor convictions are punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine (normally $2,000), while felony convictions carry a prison sentence lasting between three to six years, as well as up to $10,000 in fines. Those with previous violence-related convictions on their record can expect to face more serious and lasting consequences if convicted of the most recent offense. In addition to these penalties, a domestic violence conviction can restrict your life in several ways. Even after you serve the terms of your sentence, you may face limited housing and employment options because of your criminal record.
Defending Yourself Against Domestic Violence Charges
If law enforcement officers have arrested you for a domestic violence-related offense, you need to take several steps to protect yourself and defend your rights as much as possible. First, contact a seasoned and trusted criminal defense attorney, like Former Deputy District Attorney and Former Judge Pro Tem David Wallin. Your lawyer will assess the details of your case and help you identify the most strategic path forward to obtain the most favorable outcome possible. Below are just a few of the defensive tactics you and your attorney can use to defend your freedom and your future.
Prepare Digital Evidence to Support Your Case
Domestic violence is usually a private matter, as it involves a dating or intimate relationship. Many cases of domestic violence come down to one party’s word against the other’s. Sometimes, witness testimony can be used to further one side’s position. As you and your attorney work to gather evidence to support your position, consider using digital evidence (i.e., text messages, GPS data, social media posts, etc.) to contradict or undermine the other party’s claims. For example, if your accuser claims that you assaulted them on a specific date and time, you can use geographical location data from your phone to show that you were nowhere near the place where the alleged crime occurred. Or, if you know that your accuser has a history of lying or spreading falsehoods, you can use their texts and social media posts to support this assertion. Certified criminal law specialist David M. Wallin knows how to locate and present digital evidence in the clearest and most compelling way to defend your rights and reputation.
Establishing How Law Enforcement Violated Your Constitutional Rights
Whenever law enforcement arrests someone for allegedly committing a criminal offense, they must follow a specific set of rules and procedures that preserve the Constitutional rights of the accused. For example, the arresting officer must inform the accused of their right to remain silent and their right to contact an attorney. If the arresting officer failed to notify you of your rights, or if they coerced you into a false confession or threatened you in any way, your attorney can alert the judge and seek to have the charges dropped or dismissed.
If you are facing domestic violence charges in Palmdale or Lancaster, you need reliable and effective legal representation to ensure your rights remain protected at every step of the California criminal justice process. Call the Law Offices of David M. Wallin today at (661) 267-1313 to schedule a free consultation with former Deputy District Attorney and former Judge Pro Tem David Wallin. Payment plans are available, so contact our office today to get started.