Domestic violence is a serious issue in California. When police officers respond to a domestic violence call, chances are very good that the police will arrest at least one person. Police officers often arrest a person in connection to a domestic violence offense, even when it is unclear that a crime has occurred.
Fortunately, in many cases, a Long Beach Domestic Violence Attorney can help people facing allegations of a crime. To learn more, call Chudnovsky Law today to speak with our domestic violence lawyers.
Table of contents
- Why You Should Choose Chudnovsky Law?
- What Is Domestic Violence in California?
- How Do Domestic Violence Arrests Happen?
- Penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions in Long Beach
- Criminal Protective Orders Against Domestic Violence Defendants
- Why You Need a Domestic Violence Defense Attorney?
- Possible defenses to domestic violence allegations
- Our Long Beach Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys are Ready to Help
Why You Should Choose Chudnovsky Law?
Chudnovsky Law is an award-winning team of former district attorneys, prosecutors, and experienced lawyers for criminal defense who have over 75 years of combined experience. Our firm has handled more than 8,000 cases and trials.
Our team of attorneys has combined decades of experience representing defendants in criminal court, each with a unique set of skills and experience.
Tsion Chudnovsky was named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by The National Trial Lawyers, and she can help clients in multiple languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, and Amharic.
Robert K. Weinberg is a former prosecutor with over 30 years of experience under his belt, having handled more than 5,000 cases and over 100 jury trials. He is fluent in several languages, including Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, and Portuguese.
David A. Stein handles criminal defense for non-citizens and professional license criminal defense for healthcare professionals and anyone who holds a professional license in California.
Suzanne M. Crouts brings over 20 years of experience to the table, with an impressive record of successful acquittals and charge reductions in criminal court.
Our firm provides affordable fees and flexible payment plans, so we encourage you to speak with us about your case. We can often find a way to represent people at a cost they are comfortable with. Chudnovsky Law has an extensive understanding of the criminal justice system in California and knows how to help resolve criminal cases as favorably as possible.
What Is Domestic Violence in California?
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports that 34.9 percent of women in California and 31.1 percent of men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes. Additionally, there were 166,890 domestic violence-related calls to law enforcement in a recent year. Domestic violence homicides comprised 10.7 percent of all California homicides in a recent year.
These acts can encompass several criminal acts against current or former family members or intimate partners.
It can include acts involving:
- Physical violence
- Causing someone to fear for their safety
- Destroying a person’s property
Some of the specific criminal charges that may relate to domestic violence include:
California Penal Code § 243(e)(1) relates to battery offenses. The law states that battery against a spouse, a person with whom an alleged offender is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of an alleged offender’s child, a former spouse, a fiancé or fiancée, or a person with whom the alleged offender currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship, constitutes domestic battery.
California Penal Code § 273.5 makes it a crime for a person to willfully inflict corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon their spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, fiancé or fiancée, or someone with whom the alleged offender has, or previously had, an engagement or dating relationship, or the mother or father of the alleged offender’s child. A corporal injury is a physical wound inflicted by force.
California Penal Code § 273d is the state law relating to an alleged offender willfully inflicting upon a child any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or an injury resulting in a traumatic condition. People do not face child abuse charges for spankings, but any other punishment deemed cruel or causing injury can result in these charges.
California Penal Code § 273a is about child abandonment and neglect. Someone who puts a child in danger can face charges under this law.
The law criminalizes:
- Causing or allowing a child to suffer, which can result in serious harm or death
- Hurting a child physically or mentally for no good reason
- Being responsible for a child and causing or allowing them to be hurt or injured
- Putting a child in a situation where they can suffer injuries
Usually, this is a misdemeanor offense. However, if the alleged perperator placed a child at risk of serious injury, prosecutors can treat it as a wobbler offense (meaning that prosecutors can charge it as a misdemeanor or a felony).
California Penal Code § 270 relates to abandonment and neglect of children. When the parent of a minor child willfully omits, without lawful excuse, to furnish necessary clothing, food, shelter or medical attendance, or other remedial care for their child, they commit a misdemeanor.
California Penal Code § 368 California Penal Code § 368 refers to crimes against elders, dependent adults, and persons with disabilities. Suppose someone knows or should know that an individual is an older or dependent adult and willfully causes or permits them to suffer or inflicts unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering. In that case, they commit an offense under this law.
Additionally, if someone has custody or care of an older or dependent adult and willfully causes or permits harm to their person or health or places them in a situation where their person or health is at risk, they are also committing an offense.
California Penal Code § 422 is the state law for criminal threats, making it illegal for a person to threaten to commit a crime that will result in death or great bodily injury to another person.
The state stalking law is California Penal Code § 646.9. It makes it a crime for a person to willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follow or willfully and maliciously harass another person and make a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for their safety or the safety of their immediate family.
California’s revenge porn crime is California Penal Code § 647(j)(4). It criminalizes the intentional distribution of sexual photos of another person to cause emotional distress.
California Penal Code § 653.2 is the state law relating to posting harmful information on the internet or indirect electronic harassment and involves a person posting or emailing harmful information about someone with the intent of causing other people to harass that person.
How Do Domestic Violence Arrests Happen?
In the past, domestic violence offenses were not often a major priority for law enforcement, as many police departments declared such matters private family issues. Developments in recent years have certainly changed that, and law enforcement agencies all over California now respond with much greater urgency to these kinds of phone calls.
Most domestic violence situations begin with one party contacting the police. When police officers arrive at the scene of an alleged offense, they will usually separate the involved parties and then take statements from each of them.
Many police departments have a policy of placing at least one person under arrest when responding to any domestic violence call. Police officers usually try to determine the aggressor in a given situation and arrest that person.
In deciding who to arrest, authorities may consider:
- Which party called the police
- Which party is more cooperative
- Which party has the more serious injuries
However, these factors do not always indicate which party was the aggressor or whether anyone committed a crime. As a result, in some cases, the police may arrest innocent people, and a prosecutor may charge them with a crime.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions in Long Beach
A misdemeanor domestic battery conviction is punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or a $2,000 fine. When a person receives a conviction under California Penal Code § 273.5 for willfully inflicting corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition, the offense is punishable by up to four years in state prison, up to one year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $6,000.
When an alleged offender has a prior conviction for battery or sexual battery or certain types of assault within seven years of the acts resulting in a conviction under California Penal Code § 273.5, the offense is punishable by up to five years in state prison, up to one year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If an alleged offender has a prior domestic violence conviction within the past seven years, the offense is punishable by up to four years in state prison, up to one year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Misdemeanor child endangerment crimes are punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Felony child endangerment crimes are punishable by up to six years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Felony elder abuse crimes are punishable by up to four years in state prison, one year in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $6,000. Misdemeanor child abuse charges can result in one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $6,000, while felony charges can result in six years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $6,000.
Violations of California Penal Code § 273d can result in six years in state prison, one year in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $6,000. Child abandonment and neglect crimes under California Penal Code § 270 can result in one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
Beyond the possible imprisonment and fines, you may face many other collateral consequences to domestic violence convictions. For example, if a court convicts you of domestic violence, you can lose your job, have trouble finding a new one, and even have difficulty finding a place to live.
Criminal Protective Orders Against Domestic Violence Defendants
A criminal protective order (CPO) is a judge’s order to protect a witness to or the victim of a crime.
Courts commonly issue two kinds of CPOs in domestic violence cases:
- A no contact order requires an alleged offender to stay away from and have no contact with a protected person.
- A peaceful contact order allows contact between an alleged offender and a protected person, but only when the contact is peaceful in every way.
A deputy will provide a copy of a CPO to a protected person when they are in court. If the protected person is not in court, they can request a copy from the district attorney’s office.
CPOs are not the same as civil restraining orders. A CPO is requested by a district attorney, granted by a criminal court, lasts up to 10 years, and can lead to alleged offenders spending one year when violations occur. On the other hand, civil restraining orders are requested by protected persons, granted by family, juvenile, or other civil courts, and last up to three years. They can also lead to alleged offenders being jailed for one year and fined when there are violations.
Why You Need a Domestic Violence Defense Attorney?
Domestic violence charges often stem from messy situations that can entangle a person’s various connections in their life. It is important to remember that a domestic violence case is an adversarial proceeding initiated by the state, not the alleged victim. As such, the alleged victim has no power to stop them or reduce the allegations.
If you are dealing with allegations of domestic violence, it’s in your best interest to retain an attorney immediately. They will know how to review all of the evidence that a prosecutor has in your case and learn what the weaknesses in their case might be. An experienced attorney can identify errors within police reports, listen to the original emergency phone call to the police, get statements from witnesses, and evaluate other evidence that may be helpful to you.
You also want legal representation when you talk to the police. People who talk to the police themselves often say highly self-incriminating things without even realizing it.
Possible defenses to domestic violence allegations
People involved in domestic violence cases are not usually aware of how many defenses they might have.
When you work with an experienced attorney, you can use such defenses as:
- Innocence. There is always the possibility that an alleged offender did not commit the crime or that their actions did not fit all of the elements of the crime as defined by law.
- False allegations. There is also the possibility of domestic violence allegations being exaggerated or completely fabricated by a spurned lover. In these situations, a skilled lawyer can often uncover inconsistencies in an alleged victim’s statements.
- Accidental. An alleged offender may not have intentionally caused an injury, and accidental injuries can be grounds for reduced or dismissed charges.
- Self-defense. People have the right to defend themselves when they feel that someone else is threatening their physical safety.
Our Long Beach Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys are Ready to Help
If the police have arrested you for domestic violence anywhere in the greater Long Beach area of California, you should retain competent legal help to get the best possible outcome for your case. Chudnovsky Law takes domestic violence cases seriously and aggressively represents our clients.
Our firm will be certain to fully investigate your case and secure all of the evidence that can help you overcome your criminal charges. Call (562) 800-4080 or consult with our Long Beach Criminal Defense Lawyers online to arrange your free consultation.