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Well-Versed in Domestic Violence Laws

Don’t Let a Simple Mistake Derail Your Life

Most people that we’ve spoken with who are facing domestic violence charges admit that a misunderstanding between them and their intimate partner spiraled out of control, leading to law enforcement being called. While the events that led to the criminal charges may seem insignificant, the penalties that accompany a conviction are not, impacting some of your most basic rights. If you’re facing domestic violence charges in Oakland or nearby areas, you should consult with an Oakland domestic violence attorney as soon as

Work with a Domestic Violence Attorney in Oakland

Like many states, California addresses allegations of domestic violence in criminal courts. The California Penal Code contains a specific statute intended to punish people guilty of domestic violence. This statute covers violence against intimate partners, which includes spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, or anyone the individual has had a current or prior “intimate” relationship with.

An Oakland domestic violence lawyer could help you build an effective defense strategy to challenge the domestic violence charges against you. An experienced defense attorney will work with you to find an effective strategy based on your unique situation to fight your charges.

En Español – Nuestros abogados no solo tienen experiencia en el manejo de casos de violencia doméstica, sino que también hablan español, entendemos las consecuencias migratorias de los delitos de violencia doméstica y pueden ayudar a aliviar los factores estresantes que generalmente surgen cuando hay una barrera del idioma.

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Defining Domestic Violence Based on California Law

Domestic violence is defined in California as any violent criminal act committed against an intimate partner. It is important to note that an “intimate partner” includes essentially any person you ever had a romantic relationship with. Specifically, California law defines this group of people as including:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • A cohabitant or former cohabitant
  • Anyone with whom the defendant has ever had a dating relationship with
  • The mother or father of an offender’s child

It is important to note that this statute does not deal with allegations of violence against children. Domestic violence charges under Penal Code section 273.5 account for acts taken against other adults while violence against children is addressed in Penal Code 273d.

Helping You Show the Judge Your Experience

At The Nieves Law Firm, we understand the unfortunate circumstances that can lead to criminal charges for domestic violence, and we understand just how important it is to help show the judge the whole story. We have ample experience helping individuals contest domestic violence charges, and we’ve been able to secure some favorable results for our clients in these cases. But, don’t just take our word for it. Check out some reviews below that showcase what our clients thought of our legal representation.

Audrey S.

“Don’t go anywhere else! We retained Nieves Law Firm for a challenging DV case. Every person we interacted with were/are top notch rock stars. Please listen when I say, you’re in good hands here!! Do not bother going anywhere else!!!! They Rock!!”

- Audrey S. Google
Ching-Li W.

“I found Jo-Anna when I was looking for a lawyer to help me with a case that should never have been filed in the first place. She wrote a motion that got 6 of 10 charges dismissed before trial and then at trial Jo-Anna won the rest of the case. I was found NOT GUILTY of everything.”

- Ching-Li W. Google
Eugene S.

“I had an ex trying to catch me up with a frivolous DVRO. The Nieves Law Firm was absolutely there for me in every way. But most of all they were accommodating to all my needs and helped me resolve
my case favorably. I can’t recommend them enough.”

- Eugene S. Google

The Most Common Domestic Violence Charges in California
Penal Code 273.5 & Penal Code 243(e)(1)

The most common forms of domestic violence charges we see are “Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Partner” (Penal Code 273.5) and “Domestic Battery” (Penal Code 243(e)1). Corporal Injury to a Spouse must result in a traumatic condition being inflicted upon the alleged victim. According to California Penal Code §273.5, this traumatic condition can be mental, physical, or emotional. However, this condition must be brought on by a physical act.

The main difference between the Penal Code 273.5 (corporal injury) and Penal Code 243(e)(1) (domestic battery) is the requirement of an injury. For the crime to be corporal injury, the alleged victim must suffer some form of physical injury while only the use of force or violence is required for it to be considered domestic battery. In essence, there does not be a showing that the victim was injured in some way for you to be charged with domestic battery. Domestic battery is typically considered a less severe offense than corporal injury.

Penalties for Domestic Violence in Oakland

Domestic violence can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the exact charge and the specific circumstances of the case. Domestic battery is a misdemeanor under California law while corporal injury is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. So, if the alleged crime led to an actual traumatic injury, it may be charged as a felony depending on the severity of the injury or the prior record of the perpetrator of the crime.

The maximum punishment for the crime of domestic battery under Penal Code §243(e)(1) is up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000. In addition, the person who was found guilty of committing the battery may be required to participate in a batterer’s treatment

Domestic Violence - Kevin Carney

 program, make payments to a battered women’s shelter, and abide other terms and conditions of probation including anger management, counseling, stay away orders, weapon relinquishment, and stay away orders.

If a battery results in bodily injury, the offense will be treated as corporal injury. This means under Penal Code §273.5 the alleged crime may be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony with significantly more severe penalties. If charged as a misdemeanor, the maximum punishment includes one year in county jail and a $6,000 fine. Felony corporal injury charges are punishable by up to four years of imprisonment, as well as receive a fine of up to $6,000. If an individual has previously been convicted of a domestic violence offense or another serious violent offense, like an assault with a deadly weapon within seven years of the incident, then the penalty increases to five years in state prison and a $10,000 fine. A domestic violence attorney in Oakland could look at the exact circumstances of your case to determine the specific penalties you are facing. Contact our team today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your specific charges.

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Can the Alleged Victim of Domestic Violence Drop Charges?

A common question we get regarding domestic violence is whether or not the victim can drop the charges. Clients often ask us, “If a victim calls his or her attorney and tells them to drop the case, or if my partner/ex partner tells me they aren’t going to press charges after reporting me for domestic violence or another assault, will the case get dropped?” Unfortunately, that cannot happen because once a complaint has been filed, it’s not the victim’s case anymore. It’s the county’s case now and it will proceed as the prosecutors see fit. So, only the prosecutor can control whether or not criminal Charges will be filed in a domestic violence case.

Potential Defenses to Domestic Violence Allegations

Like most alleged crimes, there are many different defense strategies your attorney may employ to help fight your domestic violence charges. First and foremost, it is important that you understand for all criminal allegations that you are presumed innocent. This means the prosecutor must show “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you committed the crime. With that in mind, some of the most common defenses to these allegations include:

  • General Denial: The premise that you did not commit the crime and the state must prove that you did.
  • Ulterior Motivations by the Victim: Maybe the alleged victim is making up false allegations due to other reasons related to your relationship with them.
  • Self Defense: Was the battery a result of you acting in self-defense to protect yourself?
  • Accident: The injury to your spouse could have been the result of an accident and you did not mean to hurt them.

There are many different defense strategies an attorney could utilize when challenging domestic violence charges. Contact a domestic violence lawyer in Oakland on our team today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we could help you fight your charges.

Real Cases. Real Results.

10 Counts of Domestic Violence
Not Guilty on All Counts
10 Counts of Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Domestic Battery, Simple Battery & Assault Client was accused of pushing the mother of his child into a bathroom shower door, pushing her down the stairs, taking their children and hitting her in front of the children causing emotional distress to the kids. Client was found NOT GUILTY on ALL 10 counts at trial.
Misdemeanor Corporal Injury to a Spouse
Client Not Found Guilty
Client was facing misdemeanor domestic violence charges for corporal injury to a spouse under Penal Code 273.5(a) due to an altercation he had with his partner. The case went to trial and resulted in a hung jury, meaning the client was not found guilty and he was not required to go to jail, pay fines, or be put on probation.
Domestic Violence & DVRO
Client Not Found Guilty
Client was accused of choking his wife while at home. The wife’s parents later claimed to have witnessed hitting and choking perpetrated by the client the same evening. The wife also filed a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. The client was found NOT GUILTY after a trial and the restraining order against him was resolved by way of a stipulated agreement. The client’s arrest was sealed and ordered to be destroyed due to a finding of factual innocence.
2 Separate Cases of Domestic Battery
Both Cases Dismissed
Client was facing 2 separate cases of misdemeanor domestic violence charges due to multiple alleged altercations with his partner. The client was very concerned about a potential conviction negatively impacting his life goals. During the trial setting less than a week before trial, we were able to convince the District Attorney (DA) that there was insufficient evidence to proceed and the case should be dropped. The DA agreed, resulting in both cases being dismissed before trial.
Corporal Injury to a Spouse, Assault with a Deadly Weapon, and Resisting Arrest
Deferred Judgment
Client charged with corporal injury to a spouse, assault with a deadly weapon, and resisting arrest due to an incident with her partner. The client’s main goal was to stay out of jail so she could focus on her reputation and her career. Our attorneys were able to secure a deferred entry of judgment, meaning she did not have to go to jail and all the charges were dismissed after 12 months once the client completed anger management and community service.
Corporal Injury to a Spouse
Charges Not Filed after Conferring with DA
Client was accused of domestic violence under Penal Code 273.5(A) due to an alleged incident with and ex dating partner that led to a neighbor calling police. Police came and arrested our client due to the other party having teeth marks on their arm. Our in-house investigator took statements from the involved parties and our attorney spoke with the District Attorney (DA) to explain why no charges should be filed in the case emphasizing the weaknesses in the evidence. The DA agreed and rejected charges against our client.

Another common question we receive from individuals who contact our firm is, “If I am served with a domestic violence restraining order, does that mean I am being charged with domestic violence?” Simply put, the answer is no. A domestic violence restraining order is different and separate from domestic violence criminal charges. However, we have found that many times that a restraining order is put into effect in these cases that there are subsequent criminal charges.

First and foremost, there is a big difference who can initiate domestic violence charges compared to who can file a domestic violence restraining order. In a criminal proceeding, only the prosecutor can file the charges. However, the person who is suffering from harassment or abuse can file a restraining order. So, the first and most important difference between the two is who initiates the action.

Another difference is how the two are treated. Domestic violence charges are criminal in nature, while a domestic violence restraining order is civil in nature. This means that they have different burdens of proof. For a person to be convicted of domestic violence, the prosecutor must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that domestic violence took place. On the other hand, for a domestic violence restraining order to be granted, the individual must show the judge that their is a “preponderance of evidence” that warrants a restraining order. Basically, this means that the burden of proof is much lower in a restraining order case.

No matter the situation you’re in, whether facing criminal charges or whether you have been served with a domestic violence restraining order, the Oakland domestic violence attorneys at The Nieves Law Firm can help. Click here to learn more about domestic violence restraining orders

Did you know that a criminal conviction can impact your immigration status? Specific crimes, like domestic violence, can have severe consequences related to your immigration status. For this reason, it can be very important to work with an attorney that not only understands the criminal aspects of your conviction, but how it could impact your immigration status as well.

Often in instances when a domestic violence charge is related to minor injuries that were caused, prosecutors may offer a plea deal with seemingly insignificant consequences with no jail time. While these plea deals can be extremely tempting, many individuals don’t realize that these charges are considered a deportable crime and could destroy any hope of gaining legal status in the United States. Your attorney should be aware of the consequences associated with a plea deal and should work to find an agreement that does not jeopardize your immigration status. Typically, when we have a client with immigration issues, we immediately let the prosecution know about it and encourage them to offer an immigration-safe plea.

Another issue that comes up in domestic violence cases is gun ownership. According to the Lautenberg Amendment, also sometimes referred to as the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, it is illegal for any person who was convicted of an offense that was domestic violence in nature to possess a firearm.

It does not matter if the offense is charged as a felony or a misdemeanor as both will lead to a loss of your Second Amendment rights. We understand that these consequences are severe and can work with you towards a solution that protects your best interest. Give us a call today to see how we can protect your firearm rights throughout a domestic violence proceeding.

We often hear from individuals who contact our office before criminal charges are filed, wondering whether or not they should hire us for our legal services. Simply put, the best way to protect your rights throughout the criminal process is to talk with an attorney as soon as you believe you may be under investigation for a crime. Even if no charges have been filed, an attorney can work with you throughout the investigation stage of the process to ensure you do not incriminate yourself any further. In fact, we have represented hundreds of clients before criminal charges were even filed by the District Attorney, working with them throughout the investigative stage of the process.

If charges are officially filed, your attorney will be familiar with the case and can work with you to fight the charges in court or by finding a favorable plea deal with the prosecutor. In essence, the earlier you hire an attorney the better. This will allow your legal representative to get out ahead of your case and work with you to ensure that your conduct moving forward does not further incriminate you.

How a Domestic Violence Lawyer in Oakland Can Help

Criminal courts in Oakland and around California always take allegations of violence against intimate partners seriously. When this violence results in a physical harm that creates a traumatic condition upon another, the prosecutor may levy charges of domestic violence and seek penalties that include domestic violence counseling, restitution to the victim, and even time in custody.

In addition to jail time and heavy fines, the alleged victims in these cases may apply for restraining orders that limit contact with the defendant and may even affect where the defendant can live. Because of the potentially life-altering changes that can occur after an accusation of domestic violence, it is often critical for defendants to take every step to protect themselves and defend against the accusations.

An Oakland domestic violence lawyer could provide this protection by working with you to identify your goals, interpret the law as it applies to your case, and develop strategies to protect your rights in court. Contact a local attorney at our office today to learn more about your options.

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