Bay Area Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic Violence charges can be detrimental to your career, even if you are never convicted. The negative consequences a domestic violence charge or arrest can have on a person’s reputation is devastating, and individuals who are facing domestic violence charges are likely concerned about their future and what a conviction could mean.
At The Nieves Law Firm, our team of dedicated Bay Area domestic violence lawyers can work with you to fight your charges. Depending on the individual charges you face, the potential penalties, and your future goals, our skilled defense attorneys could tailor a defense strategy that is customized to not only your case, but also your life. We take your life goals into account when building a defense strategy for your case to ensure we pursue an outcome that allows you to build a better future. Contact The Nieves Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team. En Español
How is Domestic Violence Defined in California?
In California, including the Bay Area, domestic violence is defined as a violent criminal act committed against an intimate partner. Some common examples of what constitutes an intimate partner include:
- A former or current spouse
- A former or current cohabitant or domestic partner
- A person with whom the individual facing criminal charges has had a dating relationship with
- The mother or father of the defendant’s child
An act of abuse, with regards to domestic violence, does not have to result in bodily injury to be considered a domestic violence case. Touching of an intimate partner, no matter how slight, without injury or direct physical harm could also lead to domestic violence charges.
Common Domestic Violence Charges in the Bay Area
While domestic violence is a general term that covers an array of criminal offenses against an intimate partner, the two most common forms of domestic violence our Bay Area domestic violence lawyers see are:
Defined by Penal Code 243(e)(1), domestic battery is usually considered a misdemeanor in California and occurs when a person willfully touches an intimate partner in a harmful or offensive manner. For an individual to be convicted of domestic battery, prosecutors must prove that the act was done by an intimate partner, the act was willful or on purpose and that there was a touching. The touching can be indirect by using an object or someone else to touch the other person and the touching does not have to cause injury; it simply needs to be harmful or offensive.
Corporal Injury to Spouse
Defined by Penal Code 273.5(a), corporal injury to a spouse occurs when the accused willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon the alleged victim. For an individual to be convicted of corporal injury to a spouse, prosecutors must prove that the defendant willfully caused an injury to an intimate partner. It is important to note that a “traumatic condition” means a wound or other bodily injury caused by the application of force – no matter how minor or serious. Traumatic tends to sounds like a more severe injury but minor injuries are also encompassed in the definition of a traumatic injury.
Is Domestic Violence a Felony or Misdemeanor?
Depending on the circumstances of the case, domestic violence can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense. This is because domestic violence is known as a “Wobbler” offense. Certain offenses are defined as wobblers because they can either wobble up to a felony or wobble down to a misdemeanor. With regards to domestic violence cases, a person is often charged with a misdemeanor if there were no injuries or only relatively minor injuries. However, if the alleged victim has broken bones or severe injuries, law enforcement will typically charge the offense as a felony.
A Bay Area domestic violence attorney can help you determine whether or not you are facing felony or misdemeanor and can work with you to have the charges reduced or fight for an acquittal or dismissal altogether.
Can I Drop Domestic Violence Charges Against My Partner?
Unfortunately, you cannot drop the charges against your spouse or significant other. Why? Because you are not the one who presses charges in the first place. In every criminal case brought forth by the State, the District Attorney determines whether or not charges will be filed. While you may feel like the whole situation was overblown because you only had a small altercation with an intimate partner that led to law enforcement showing up, you do not have the power to “drop the charges.” Dropping the charges is a decision that the District Attorney makes based on the strength of the evidence and potential legal insufficiencies or weaknesses in their case.
Contact The Nieves Law Firm
If you are facing domestic violence charges in the Bay Area, you should understand the severity of the charges and the negative consequences associated with a conviction. Failing to hire a Bay Area domestic violence lawyer could be detrimental to your case, leading to harsher penalties with unintended consequences.
At The Nieves Law Firm, we have experience working with individuals accused of domestic violence in the Bay Area. Our Bay Area domestic violence attorneys understand the gravity of a domestic violence charge and will work with you to find the best possible outcome. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.