Is There a Way For a Domestic Violence Case to be Reopened in California?

When most people hear the term “domestic violence,” they typically picture an abusive partner (usually an aggressive male) inflicting physical harm on a passive victim (usually a female). Although domestic violence does happen in relationships involving heterosexual spouses or romantic partners, it’s essential to recognize that anyone can become a survivor of domestic violence at any time. Incidents of domestic violence can occur in same-sex relationships, between current or former dating partners, or involve two people related by blood or marriage. Male partners can suffer domestic violence at the hands of a female partner as well. Although incidents of domestic violence can and do happen—recent statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)  indicate that nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States—this doesn’t mean that false allegations never happen. Unfortunately, accusations of domestic abuse can be weaponized by one party during the divorce process to secure a more favorable settlement or child custody agreement. Moreover, criminal charges involving domestic violence offenses can be challenging to investigate, as most incidents occur within a private residence with no witnesses. 

California residents should also recognize that a stricter bill went into effect in 2020 that extended the statute of limitations for domestic violence crimes. Even if someone accused you of a domestic violence crime a few years ago and the matter later resolved itself, California’s newly amended law makes it possible for the case to be reopened in the future. If you are facing domestic violence charges in Palmdale or Lancaster, you should contact a highly qualified Palmdale criminal defense attorney right away to discuss your case. With more than 35 years of experience, FORMER DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY and FORMER JUDGE PRO TEM David Wallin is prepared to fight hard to defend your legal rights at every turn. Let’s take a look at how domestic violence cases are typically handled in Southern California and what steps you should take if law enforcement arrests you for a domestic violence offense.

Understanding California’s Domestic Violence Laws

Before we explore what steps you can take when facing domestic violence charges in California, it’s helpful to understand how state laws define these types of criminal offenses. Although California criminal statutes do not include a specific crime called “domestic violence,” these types of crimes are generally charged as “domestic battery” or “inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner.” Let’s take a look at how these two charges differ and the types of penalties that they typically carry if the defendant is convicted of the offense.

Domestic Battery

Under California Penal Code 243(e)(1), domestic battery involves “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” When a battery offense is committed “against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabitating, a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, former spouse, fiancé, or fiancée, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship,” offense is usually considered a misdemeanor crime. If convicted of domestic battery, the defendant may face a fine of up to $2,000, imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year, or both. Those convicted of domestic battery may also face probation, mandatory counseling or anger management sessions, and other limitations to their freedom. It’s critical to contact a Palmdale domestic violence lawyer right away to ensure that your legal rights remain upheld and protected at every stage of the criminal justice process.

Inflicting Corporal Injury on an Intimate Partner

The crime known as inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner is defined under California Penal Code 273.5. The statute reads, “Any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim…is guilty of a felony.” These crimes often involve substantial injuries that require hospitalization, surgery, or other medical care. Most of these offenses are considered felony crimes, punishable by imprisonment in a state prison facility for two, three, or four years, as well as a fine of up to $6,000. Contact FORMER DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY and FORMER JUDGE PRO TEM David Wallin as soon as possible to get started with a highly qualified and experienced domestic violence attorney

How California SB 273 Impacted Domestic Violence Cases

When California Senate Bill 273 became law in 2020, it made several significant changes in the area of domestic violence. Before the bill was passed, prosecutors typically had one year in which to file misdemeanor domestic violence charges against someone and three years in which to file felony charges. However, once the bill became law, the window for filing domestic violence charges (called the statute of limitations) expanded to five years. This means that you can face a criminal charge for an alleged domestic violence incident at virtually any time. Moreover, a domestic violence case may be reopened by investigators or prosecutors should they have sufficient cause to do so. For example, the alleged victim may decide to move forward with their charges and testify against you, or new evidence may be introduced that furthers the state’s case against you. It’s completely understandable to feel overwhelmed by any accusation of criminal wrongdoing, but you do not have to go through this challenging time alone. With more than 35 years of experience, FORMER DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY and FORMER JUDGE PRO TEM David Wallin will work with you to identify the most strategic path forward to keep your future as bright as possible. Now is the time to contact your local domestic violence law firm to start protecting your legal rights and freedom.

If you are facing criminal charges or allegations concerning domestic violence in Palmdale or Lancaster, you need reliable and effective legal representation right away. With more than 35 years of experience, FORMER DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY and FORMER JUDGE PRO TEM David Wallin is prepared to fight hard to defend your legal rights at every turn. Call the Law Offices of David M. Wallin today at (661) 267-1313 to schedule a free consultation with a certified criminal law specialist. We offer payment plans, so we will work with you to ensure that you obtain the high-quality legal services you deserve.