Blog

What are the chances of a defendant winning a domestic violence case?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jul 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

domestic violence lawsuit

A defendant's exact chances of winning a domestic violence case depend on the facts of his case and the strength of his legal defense.

Know that there are several legal defenses that an accused can raise to beat, or reduce, a charge of domestic violence. Some of these include:

  • the alleged victim's injury was the result of an accident,
  • the alleged victim's injuries did not result from the defendant's actions,
  • the defendant was acting in self-defense or in defense of someone else, and/or
  • the defendant was falsely accused.

Note that, in some domestic violence cases, an experienced defense attorney can sometimes negotiate a plea bargain to a lesser offense. Pleading guilty to a lesser offense can help a defendant avoid the stigma and negative consequences of a domestic violence conviction.

Another legal strategy often pursued by a California domestic violence attorney is to try to get a pre-trial diversion program or deferred entry of judgment ("DEJ") for the accused batterer. With pretrial diversion, if the defendant successfully completes a batterers' program, the charges will be dismissed and cease to exist for most purposes.

California domestic violence laws make it a crime to harm, or threaten to harm, an intimate partner. Common crimes of domestic violence in California include Penal Code 243(e)(1) “domestic battery” and Penal Code 273.5, “inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner.”

What are legal defenses to California domestic violence charges?

There are numerous legal defenses that a California domestic violence attorney can assert for an accused. Some of the most common include taking the position that:

  • the alleged victim's injury was the result of an accident,
  • the alleged victim's injuries did not result from the defendant's actions,
  • the defendant was acting in self-defense or defense of someone else, and/or
  • the defendant was falsely accused.

With the last defense, note that some persons get falsely accused of domestic violence due to:

  • anger or jealousy,
  • an attempt to gain the upper hand in divorce or child custody proceedings, or
  • some other reason often raised by the alleged victim.

Can a defendant plea bargain to lesser charges in domestic violence cases?

An experienced California domestic violence attorney can sometimes negotiate a plea bargain to a lesser offense. Pleading guilty to a lesser offense can help a defendant avoid the stigma and negative consequences of a domestic violence conviction.

Two of the most common lesser offenses a domestic violence defendant may be able to plead to are:

  • Penal Code 602, criminal trespass, or
  • Penal Code 415, disturbing the peace.

Advantages of pleading to one of these crimes can include:

  • retention of the right to own a firearm,
  • no automatic loss of custody rights, and
  • no deportation or inadmissibility for non-citizens.

Are pre-trial diversion programs available in domestic violence cases?

Another legal strategy often pursued by a California domestic violence attorney is to try to get a pre-trial diversion program or deferred entry of judgment ("DEJ") for the accused batterer.

With pretrial diversion, if the defendant successfully completes a batterers' program, the charges will be dismissed and cease to exist for most purposes.

Eligibility for pretrial diversion depends on:

  • the specific charges,
  • where the accused batterer resides, and
  • the accused's criminal history (if any).

What is the legal definition of “domestic violence” in California?

California Penal Code 13700 defines “domestic violence” as abuse committed against an intimate partner. A person commits “abuse” when he or she intentionally or recklessly uses, or threatens the use of, physical force against an intimate partner.

California domestic violence laws define an “intimate partner” as:

  • a current or former spouse,
  • a current or former registered domestic partner,
  • a current or former fiancé(e),
  • a current or former live-in romantic partner (a “cohabitant”),
  • a person with whom the accused has, or has had, a child, or
  • someone the accused is seriously dating or has seriously dated in the past.

In addition to intimate partners, victims of domestic violence can include the defendant's child.

They may also include any other person related to the defendant by consanguinity (blood) or affinity (marriage) within the second degree, including:

  • brothers and sisters,
  • half-brothers and half-sisters,
  • step-brothers and step-sisters,
  • grandparents,
  • grandchildren,
  • aunts and uncles, and
  • nephews and nieces.

What are some domestic violence crimes and how are they charged?

Common crimes of “domestic violence” in California include:

  • battery,
  • abuse,
  • threats, and
  • neglect.

While some of these offenses are misdemeanors, others are felonies.

But most crimes of domestic violence are California “wobbler” offenses. A “wobbler” is a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on:

  • the circumstances of the offense,
  • the seriousness of the alleged victim's injuries (if any), and
  • the defendant's criminal record (if any).

What are some consequences of a California domestic violence conviction?

Consequences of a California domestic violence conviction can include some or all of the following:

  • mandatory minimum jail time,
  • payment of victim restitution,
  • participation in a “batterers' program,
  • a permanent criminal record,
  • loss of custody rights,
  • loss of gun rights, and/or
  • the filing of a restraining order.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Comments have been disabled.

Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370