Oakland Domestic Violence Lawyer
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 form “romantic” relationship with.
An Oakland domestic violence lawyer could help you raise a powerful defense in Oakland’s criminal courts against domestic violence charges. If you choose to retain one, your seasoned criminal defense attorney could work to preserve both your freedom and your home life. En Español.
Domestic Violence in Oakland Under California Penal Law
Domestic violence is defined in California as any violent criminal act committed against an intimate partner. 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
- 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 concerns acts taken against other adults and violence against children is addressed in Penal Code 273d – Child Abuse.
What is Corporal Injury to a Spouse?
Corporal Injury to a Spouse (Partner) under Penal Code 273.5 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.
Penal Code 273.5 Corporal Injury vs. Penal Code 243(e)(1) Domestic Battery
The main difference between the Penal Code 273.5 corporal injury statute and Penal Code 243(e)(1) domestic battery is the requirement of an injury. Under 273.5 the alleged victim must suffer some form of physical injury while under 243(e)(1) only the use of force or violence is required – there need not be a showing that the victim was injured in some way. Penal Code 243(e)(1) is typically considered a lesser offense than Penal Code 273.5.
Cal. Pen. Code 243(e)(1) is a misdemeanor under California law while Cal. Pen. Code 273.5 is a wobbler and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.
While the maximum punishment for the basic crime of battery is usually six months of imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,000 when a battery occurs between domestic partners and is treated as domestic violence, the term of imprisonment doubles. In addition, the party committing the battery may be required to participate in a batterer’s treatment program, make payments to a battered women’s shelter, or fulfill other conditions. If a battery results in serious bodily injury, the offense may be treated as a felony with a prison sentence of up to four years.
What are the Potential Penalties for a Domestic Violence Charge in Oakland?
Cal. Pen. Code §273.5 states that an act of domestic violence is a felony for which a person found guilty may be sent to prison for up to four years, as well as receive a fine of up to $6,000. If charged as a misdemeanor, the maximum punishment includes one year in county jail and a $6,000 fine. 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 then the exposure increases to five years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
Can the Alleged Victim 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 be proceed as the prosecutors see fit.
Let an Oakland Domestic Violence Attorney 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 today to see if they could help you.