Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction in California

By: Frances Prizzia | Domestic Violence
Consequences of a domestic violence conviction in California

Domestic violence charges in California are serious matters. A conviction can lead to severe legal and personal consequences. Beyond the immediate legal penalties, it may also impact your job, housing, and personal relationships. It's vital to understand the implications of domestic battery and domestic violence. Make sure you secure strong legal representation.

At The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we understand the gravity of domestic abuse, domestic battery, and domestic violence offenses. Both misdemeanor and felony domestic violence charges can have a profound impact on your life. Just because you are accused doesn't mean you are guilty of a domestic violence offense.

Learn more about domestic violence crimes below, and give us a call to schedule a consultation to discuss your domestic violence case. We may be able to help you avoid a California domestic violence conviction.

Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in California

Domestic violence in California encompasses various offenses. It can involve physical abuse, threats, stalking, or even destroying personal property. The victims can be spouses, former spouses, cohabitants, or those in a dating relationship. It's not limited to physical harm; emotional abuse can also qualify.

While many think of domestic violence as only corporal injury, it goes beyond that. It can include verbal, emotional, or psychological harm. The state of California takes all these forms seriously. So, even if you believe the incident was minor, the courts might not see it that way. We will fight for the best outcome for your case. In some cases, that might mean getting it dismissed.

Penalties for Misdemeanor Convictions

Penalties for misdemeanor convictions
  1. Jail Time - A misdemeanor domestic violence conviction may lead to jail time. The jail time can vary depending on the nature of the charge. For example, inflicting an injury on a spouse could lead to a year in jail. Repeated offenses may result in longer sentences. The judge considers the severity of the abuse and any prior convictions. Every case is different, but jail time is a real possibility.
  2. Fines - Besides jail, you may face hefty fines. The court could impose thousands of dollars in fines plus penalty assessments. On top of court fines, you may also pay restitution to the victim. This covers any medical bills or damages from the incident.
  3. Probation - Instead of jail, you might get probation. Probation can last for multiple years. During this time, any mistakes can result in immediate jail time. Probation often comes with mandatory counseling and other conditions.
  4. Mandatory Counseling - Counseling sessions are a common penalty. You might have to attend for a year or more. The goal is to address and correct violent behavior. Missing these sessions can lead to additional legal consequences.

Penalties for Felony Convictions

  1. Prison Time - A felony conviction is more severe than a misdemeanor. You could face up to four years in state prison under Penal Code 273.5. If there were severe injuries or a weapon involved, this time could increase. Prior convictions also play a role in the sentencing.
  2. Stricter Fines - Felony fines are heftier than misdemeanor fines. The exact fine will vary depending on the case, but it could be as high as $6,000 under 273.5. Plus, there might be added costs for victim restitution.
  3. Longer Probation - Felony probation can last much longer than a misdemeanor case, and violations can land you in prison. You'll still likely face mandatory counseling and other conditions.
  4. Parole Requirements - After serving prison time, parole follows. Parole is a period where you're monitored and must follow strict rules. Violating these rules can send you back to prison.

Restraining Orders

Restraining orders

A restraining order aims to protect victims from further harm. In California, courts issue them quickly after reported incidents. They can limit your movements, contact with the victim, and even your living situation. Violating a restraining order has severe penalties, adding to your legal troubles.

Many misunderstand the gravity of restraining orders. It's not just a piece of paper; it's a legally binding order. You might be forced to move out of your home or avoid certain places. If you have children, a past domestic violence crime complicates custody arrangements.

Issuance of Restraining Orders

Once a victim requests a restraining order, the court acts fast. They aim to protect the victim from any potential harm. An initial hearing might happen without your knowledge. However, you'll have a chance to present your side at a later date.

It's essential to respect the order, even if you disagree. You'll get a chance to challenge it in court. But until then, any violations can lead to jail time. Being aware of the order's specifics is crucial to avoid unintended breaches.

Types of Restraining Orders

  1. Emergency Protective Orders - These are immediate but short-term. They last only a few days. Their purpose is to give the victim time to seek a longer-lasting order. They are usually issued by a judge at the request of law enforcement.
  2. Temporary Restraining Orders - These can last up to 25 days. The victim requests it, and the court usually grants it. It's a stop-gap until a full court hearing can take place.
  3. Permanent Restraining Orders - After a hearing, the court can issue a permanent order. Despite the name, they can last up to five years. But they can be renewed if the threat persists.

Consequences of Violating a Restraining Order

Breaching a restraining order is a misdemeanor in California. This means potential jail time and fines. Every violation is a separate offense, adding to your penalties. Ignorance of the order isn't a valid defense; you're expected to know and follow it.

Furthermore, violating the order can impact any ongoing cases. It might sway the court against you in domestic violence or custody hearings. Always consult a lawyer if you're unsure about the order's specifics. It's better to be cautious than to face additional legal trouble.

Impact on Employment

Imapct on employment

A domestic violence conviction can disrupt your career. Many employers are wary of cautious someone with such a record. It suggests potential behavioral issues, putting your job prospects in jeopardy. Your employer might reconsider your position even if you currently have a job.

Beyond just getting hired, it might affect promotions or job responsibilities. Employers often conduct background checks for higher positions. A domestic violence charge can hinder your career growth. It's not just the legal world that views these charges gravely; the professional world does, too.

Job Loss Due to a Domestic Violence Conviction

Losing your job over a conviction is a real possibility. Many employers have policies against employing those with criminal records. This is especially true for jobs involving trust or safety concerns. Even if your job isn't directly affected, your employer might deem it bad for the company's image.

Job loss can have cascading effects on your life. Beyond the immediate financial strain, it might affect your housing and family. It can also make finding a new job challenging. The label of a domestic violence offender can linger for years.

Professional Licenses and Certifications

Many professions in California require licenses or certifications. Doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, and many more fall into this category. A domestic violence conviction can jeopardize these credentials. Some boards might suspend or revoke them, severely impacting your career.

Even if you're not in a licensed profession, other certifications might be at risk. Anything that requires trust or character evaluations can be affected. It's crucial to consult a lawyer to navigate these professional waters. They can advise on potential career implications and defense strategies.

Background Checks

Most employers now run background checks on potential hires. A domestic violence charge can pop up in these checks. Even if you're qualified, this can deter employers from hiring you. The stigma of domestic violence is strong, casting doubt on your character.

Background checks aren't just for new hires. They might be run for promotions or specific job responsibilities. Being aware of what's on your record and preparing to address it is crucial. It's not just about the past; it's about how you've grown since then.

Gun Ownership Restrictions

A. Prohibition on Firearm Ownership - In California, a domestic violence conviction means you can't own a gun. This ban isn't temporary; it's for life. The state views domestic violence offenders as potential threats. Denying firearm access is a precautionary measure.

B. Surrendering Firearms - If you already own guns, a conviction means you'll have to surrender them. This isn't a choice; it's a legal obligation. Failure to do so can result in additional legal penalties. It's vital to follow this rule promptly and thoroughly.

C. Penalties for Possessing Firearms Illegally - Keeping a firearm after a domestic violence conviction is illegal. Getting caught can lead to more jail time or fines. Each firearm in your possession can be a separate charge. This isn't a light rule; the consequences are severe.

Child Custody and Visitation

Child custody and visitation

A. Impact on Child Custody Decisions - A conviction can complicate child custody battles. The court's priority is the child's safety. A domestic violence record can sway the court against granting custody. Even if the violence wasn't towards the child, it's a significant concern.

B. Supervised Visitation Orders - The court might limit your interaction with your child. Supervised visitation means an approved third party must be present. This ensures the child's safety during visits. It's a heavy restriction, impacting your relationship with your child.

C. Termination of Parental Rights - In extreme cases, you might lose parental rights altogether. This is the court's last resort. But, repeated offenses or severe violence can lead to this decision. Once terminated, regaining these rights is extremely challenging.

Immigration Consequences

A. Deportation and Inadmissibility - Non-U.S. citizens face additional risks with a domestic violence conviction. Deportation is a real possibility. In addition, you might be deemed inadmissible if you're trying to re-enter the U.S..

B. Visa and Green Card Implications - Holding or seeking a visa or green card can be jeopardized. U.S. immigration authorities take domestic violence seriously. It can be grounds for denying applications. Always consult an immigration attorney if you're in this situation.

Civil Lawsuits

A. Potential Civil Lawsuits by Victims - Beyond criminal charges, victims might sue you. They can seek compensation for medical bills, emotional distress, or other damages. This is separate from the criminal case and can add to your financial burdens.

B. Damages and Compensation - If the court rules in the victim's favor, you'll pay damages. This can be for physical harm, emotional trauma, or property damage. The amounts can be significant, depending on the case's severity.

How Our Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Help You Fight Back

Facing a domestic violence charge in California is overwhelming. But you don't have to fight spousal abuse or domestic battery charges alone. The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia is here to help.

  • Expert Defense Strategies: Our firm has years of experience in domestic violence cases. We know the ins and outs of the law and can craft a robust defense.
  • Personalized Attention: Every case is unique. We listen to your side and tailor our approach accordingly.
  • Protecting Your Rights: It's easy to feel cornered in these situations. We ensure your rights are upheld throughout the process.
  • Guidance Through the Legal Maze: The legal system is complex. We guide you step by step, ensuring you're informed and prepared.

You don't have to face this challenge alone. You can navigate this ordeal and work towards a brighter future with the right legal support.

Schedule a Case Evaluation With Our Domestic Violence Lawyer at The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia Today

Schedule a case evaluation with our domestic violence lawyer at The Law Office of Frances Prizzia today

Domestic violence charges can redefine the course of your life. But remember, a domestic battery charge doesn't mean a conviction. Acting promptly, understanding your rights, and getting the best legal defense are crucial.

At The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we're committed to providing top-tier legal services. Whether you're facing charges or dealing with the aftermath, we're here for you. Don't wait. Contact us today, and let us help you regain control of your future.

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