Oakland Spousal Abuse Lawyer
Facing accusations of spousal abuse could be personally and socially traumatic. Having a skilled attorney on your side who is familiar with spousal abuse and domestic violence will give you a peace of mind, an outline for what to expect, and strategies for how to work towards the best resolution for your specific circumstances. Reach out to an Oakland spousal abuse lawyer for legal representation right away.
What is the Relationship Between Spousal Abuse and Domestic Violence?
Spousal abuse in Oakland is very similar to domestic violence, but it is specifically related to the spouse. If a person is accused of a violent act against someone they are married to, that makes it spousal abuse. Penal Code 273.5 addresses corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant while Penal Code 243(e)(1) covers harmful or offensive touching. A 273.5 charge requires that an actual injury to the intimate partner occurred while a 243(e)(1) violation does not require an injury but rather the use of force or violence against the intimate partner.
Spousal abuse is a term for a subcategory of domestic violence. Domestic violence is broader in scope than just violence between married individuals, as it pertains to intimate relationships which can include individuals who are dating, family members, cohabitants in a romantic relationship, ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends, etc. Spousal abuse is a narrower category of domestic violence applicable to people who are married to each other. Still, the charges relating to a crime of “spousal abuse” would fall under the same sections of the penal code as those relating to other intimate relationships.
What to Expect When Charged with Spousal Abuse
If a person is accused of spousal abuse, there will likely be a police investigation into the conduct. This investigation can consist of photographs of the victim or complaining witness, interviews of witnesses, review of any recordings, attempted questioning of the accused, and a report written after the initial investigation. That report will be forwarded to the District Attorney for review and a charging decision will be made. If the District Attorney determines that there is sufficient evidence to proceed they will issue a complaint (or information) outlining the charges against the accused.
However, it does not take extensive investigation or evidence for the police to make an arrest. Police make arrests based on probable cause.
Once an arrest is made the arrestee will be arraigned, a bail amount will be set (in most cases) and a determination will be made as to whether the defendant must post bail or be released on their own recognizance based on a lack of criminal history, a low risk of flight or failing to appear, and the potential harm to the public safety.
There may also be concurrent hearings in other courts such as the alleged victim filing for a restraining order, a request for a divorce in family court, or immigration proceedings for those who may face deportation because of the crime.
Domestic violence crimes can either be charged as a misdemeanor or felony – typically the decision rests on the severity of the injuries inflicted on the victim of the crime. After a charging document has been filed by the DA, then the case moves into a litigation phase that involves pretrial hearings, a preliminary hearing (if filed as a felony), discovery and investigation collection.
Hiring an Oakland Spousal Abuse Attorney
Being arrested for a crime can be a traumatic experience. Consulting with an Oakland spousal abuse lawyer who has experience with domestic violence cases could help shine light on the immediate actions that need to be taken at the outset of the case. Oftentimes, people accused of spousal abuse do not realize that an emergency protective order has been issued and that they are not allowed to return home, nor do they know how long they will spend in custody or what will happen at their first appearance. Immediately contacting an Oakland spousal abuse lawyer could give the accused the opportunity to ask questions, get answers, and prepare a plan for the upcoming journey.