Facing Domestic Assault Charges? We Can Help.

The California Penal Code adds additional penalties to a typical assault and battery case when the incident involves your spouse, partner, girlfriend, boyfriend or child. San Diego Domestic Violence charges are vigorously prosecuted. Typically, domestic violence cases are reported to the police after the incident already occurred. More often than not, tempers are raging and inaccurate statements are given in the heat of the moment. When tempers cool and calmer minds prevail, people often change their statements. In fact, sometimes the statements about the incident given to the police are exaggerated or even fabricated due to jealously, alcohol or a plethora of other factors. As a former domestic violence prosecutor I saw this often.

However, the police and the District Attorney's office are not receptive to new statements that weaken their case. Many people believe that if the alleged victim calls the prosecutor or Police to "drop the charges" that the case will be dismissed. It is extremely rare for the prosecution to dismiss a case at the request of an alleged victim of domestic violence. They have likely labeled the relationship as having a "cycle of violence" with just the knowledge contained in the police report without investigating the relationship further. But that doesn't mean that the case can't be reduced or dismissed. You need an experienced lawyer who understands the process to present evidence on your behalf and exploit weaknesses in the prosecution's case. You can show that couples will fight in the course of their relationship and both can cross the line of simple verbal arguing. It often takes "two to tango".

CODE SECTIONS AND PENALTIES

A conviction for a San Diego domestic violence charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony. The misdemeanor domestic violence law is codified in Penal Code section 243(e)(1), which in pertinent part states, "When a battery is committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, 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, the battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment."

Domestic violence can also be charged as a felony if there is evidence of a "corporal injury" resulting in a "traumatic condition" as codified in Penal Code section 273.5. An injury to the body is a traumatic condition. A felony conviction for domestic violence can result in a four-year prison sentence.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO NEXT?

San Diego domestic violence cases have many unintended consequences. Domestic Violence programs last up to a year. You need an experienced attorney to start working on your defense by obtaining statements and preserving any physical evidence. Mark Deniz can do this. The right evidence, presented to the prosecutor in the correct way, can turn your case around. I have successfully handled hundreds of domestic violence cases.

Call the Law Offices of Mark Deniz for a free case evaluation at 858-429-9982.

273.5. (a) Any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim described in subdivision (b) is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of up to six thousand dollars ($6,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment. (b) Subdivision (a) shall apply if the victim is or was one or more of the following: (1) The offender's spouse or former spouse. (2) The offender's cohabitant or former cohabitant. (3) The offender's fiancé or fiancée, or someone with whom the offender has, or previously had, an engagement or dating relationship, as defined in paragraph (10) of subdivision (f) of Section 243. (4) The mother or father of the offender's child. (c) Holding oneself out to be the husband or wife of the person with whom one is cohabiting is not necessary to constitute cohabitation as the term is used in this section. (d) As used in this section, "traumatic condition" means a condition of the body, such as a wound, or external or internal injury, including, but not limited to, injury as a result of strangulation or suffocation, whether of a minor or serious nature, caused by a physical force. For purposes of this section, "strangulation" and "suffocation" include impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a person by applying pressure on the throat or neck. (e) For the purpose of this section, a person shall be considered the father or mother of another person's child if the alleged male parent is presumed the natural father under Sections 7611 and 7612 of the Family Code. (f) (1) Any person convicted of violating this section for acts occurring within seven years of a previous conviction under subdivision (a), or subdivision (d) of Section 243, or Section 243.4, 244, 244.5, or 245, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four, or five years, or by both imprisonment and a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000). (2) Any person convicted of a violation of this section for acts occurring within seven years of a previous conviction under subdivision (e) of Section 243 shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. (g) If probation is granted to any person convicted under subdivision (a), the court shall impose probation consistent with the provisions of Section 1203.097. (h) If probation is granted, or the execution or imposition of a sentence is suspended, for any defendant convicted under subdivision (a) who has been convicted of any prior offense specified in subdivision (f), the court shall impose one of the following conditions of probation: (1) If the defendant has suffered one prior conviction within the previous seven years for a violation of any offense specified in subdivision (f), it shall be a condition of probation, in addition to the provisions contained in Section 1203.097, that he or she be imprisoned in a county jail for not less than 15 days. (2) If the defendant has suffered two or more prior convictions within the previous seven years for a violation of any offense specified in subdivision (f), it shall be a condition of probation, in addition to the provisions contained in Section 1203.097, that he or she be imprisoned in a county jail for not less than 60 days. (3) The court, upon a showing of good cause, may find that the mandatory imprisonment required by this subdivision shall not be imposed and shall state on the record its reasons for finding good cause. (i) If probation is granted upon conviction of a violation of subdivision (a), the conditions of probation may include, consistent with the terms of probation imposed pursuant to Section 1203.097, in lieu of a fine, one or both of the following requirements: (1) That the defendant make payments to a battered women's shelter, up to a maximum of five thousand dollars ($5,000), pursuant to Section 1203.097. (2) (A) That the defendant reimburse the victim for reasonable costs of counseling and other reasonable expenses that the court finds are the direct result of the defendant's offense. (B) For any order to pay a fine, make payments to a battered women' s shelter, or pay restitution as a condition of probation under this subdivision, the court shall make a determination of the defendant's ability to pay. An order to make payments to a battered women's shelter shall not be made if it would impair the ability of the defendant to pay direct restitution to the victim or court-ordered child support. If the injury to a married person is caused in whole or in part by the criminal acts of his or her spouse in violation of this section, the community property may not be used to discharge the liability of the offending spouse for restitution to the injured spouse, required by Section 1203.04, as operative on or before August 2, 1995, or Section 1202.4, or to a shelter for costs with regard to the injured spouse and dependents, required by this section, until all separate property of the offending spouse is exhausted. (j) Upon conviction under subdivision (a), the sentencing court shall also consider issuing an order restraining the defendant from any contact with the victim, which may be valid for up to 10 years, as determined by the court. It is the intent of the Legislature that the length of any restraining order be based upon the seriousness of the facts before the court, the probability of future violations, and the safety of the victim and his or her immediate family. This protective order may be issued by the court whether the defendant is sentenced to state prison or county jail, or if imposition of sentence is suspended and the defendant is placed on probation. (k) If a peace officer makes an arrest for a violation of this section, the peace officer is not required to inform the victim of his or her right to make a citizen's arrest pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 836.