Felony Domestic Violence: Is Domestic Violence a Felony?

Law Offices of Frances Prizzia
Felony domestic violence_ Is domestic violence a felony-1

Domestic violence is a topic that attracts intense legal scrutiny. If you have been accused of domestic violence, you might be wondering what to do next. We are here to help you. In the legal world, not all domestic violence incidents are treated the same. Some can be classified as felonies, while others might be considered misdemeanors.

Domestic violence offenses are always serious, and domestic violence crimes are prosecuted vigorously. You need the most robust defense when accused of domestic violence. Both felony and misdemeanor domestic violence convictions can be life-changing, and we can provide you with the strong defense you deserve. At The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we always put the needs of our clients first. Learn more about domestic violence felony changes below, and give us a call to schedule a case consultation.

Why You Need a Lawyer When Facing Felony Domestic Violence Charges

Why you need a lawyer when facing felony domestic violence charges

When accused of felony domestic violence, the stakes are extraordinarily high. A domestic violence conviction can lead to prison time, substantial fines, and a permanent mark on your record. This blemish can further lead to societal stigmas, severely affecting relationships and employment prospects. The implications on your overall quality of life can be drastic.

Having a skilled Orange County domestic violence lawyer by your side becomes indispensable in such situations. They can adeptly navigate the legal system, understand its intricacies, and work diligently toward your defense. Their aim is either to reduce the charges or demonstrate your innocence, thus shielding you from extreme consequences.

Without the guidance and advocacy of a dedicated lawyer, you risk facing the overwhelming force of the legal system. This can mean enduring harsh penalties and potentially losing fundamental rights and freedoms. 

Legal Classifications of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence covers various acts of abuse, whether physical, emotional, or psychological. Different states have specific definitions, but generally, it pertains to harm inflicted upon someone in a close relationship. In California, domestic violence laws are found under the California Penal Code sections 242-248.

Domestic violence can constitute either a felony or a misdemeanor. Not all domestic violence incidents lead to felony charges. The classification largely depends on the severity of the act, previous convictions, and other circumstances surrounding the incident.

Is Domestic Violence Always a Felony?

Is domestic violence always a felony

No, domestic violence isn't always categorized as a felony. Its classification hinges on several factors, such as the exact accusations and the criminal history of the accused. Keep in mind that either a misdemeanor or a felony domestic violence conviction can lead to severe consequences.

Factors Determining the Classification

Each domestic violence case is unique, and multiple elements come into play when classifying the act. The extent of physical harm, use of a deadly weapon, and prior convictions can turn a misdemeanor into a felony. Keep in mind that there are different levels of felonies as well. Some domestic violence charges could be a third-degree felony. Other charges could be elevated even further.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony: Key Differences

Misdemeanors are lesser crimes compared to felonies. They usually lead to shorter jail sentences and smaller fines. On the other hand, felonies can result in long prison sentences and more significant financial penalties. While both can appear on your criminal record, a felony tends to have a more lasting negative impact on a person's life.

Changing Nature of Domestic Violence Charges

Over the years, society's perspective on domestic violence has evolved, leading to changes in legal views. Lawmakers now recognize the intricacies of domestic abuse, pushing for stricter laws and penalties. With changing laws and growing awareness, what might have been a misdemeanor a few years ago could today be classified as a felony. For this reason, you must always have a strong defense attorney in your corner.

Defending Against Felony Domestic Violence Charges

Defending against felony domestic violence charges

A felony charge of domestic violence is always serious. But you are entitled to the strongest possible defense. With a skilled criminal defense attorney in your corner, you can defend against accusations of domestic violence.

Common Defense Strategies

Every case of domestic violence has its unique nuances, and a dedicated lawyer tailors a defense strategy to these specific details. Understanding the core of these defenses can provide clarity on what to expect from your lawyer.

  • False Accusations: It's not uncommon for individuals to face baseless accusations. A robust defense would work to prove these claims false.
  • Lack of Evidence: In numerous cases, there isn't enough evidence to support the charge. The defense's role is to highlight this insufficient evidence.
  • Self-Inflicted or Accidental Injuries: Sometimes, the injuries in question weren't caused by the accused. The defense can argue that they were either self-inflicted or simply accidental.
  • Act of Self-defense: In certain situations, the accused might have acted out of self-defense. Demonstrating this can drastically change the course of the case.
  • Consent: There might be instances where the parties involved had given mutual consent. This can be used as a defense if it's applicable to the case's circumstances.

Understanding and effectively leveraging these defenses is paramount. With the assistance of a proficient lawyer, you can work towards the best possible outcome.

The Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Engaging with a criminal defense lawyer offers more than just legal representation; it provides a shield during one of the most challenging times of your life. With their knowledge and expertise, they explore all case details, bringing to light factors that might tilt the verdict in your favor. Beyond the courtroom, they offer guidance on the intricate legal maze, ensuring you're informed every step of the way. With a lawyer at your side, you're hiring legal expertise and gaining an advocate who puts your rights above all else.

Legal battles, especially involving domestic battery charges, can be emotionally taxing and complicated. The lawyer acts as a beacon, helping you navigate these rough waters by constantly updating you on case developments and potential outcomes. They'll be your voice when you can't speak, ensuring that your side of the story is heard loud and clear. The difference between facing the system alone and having a seasoned attorney can be monumental, influencing not just the case outcome but your future.

Case Dismissals and Reductions

The possibility of case dismissals or charge reductions isn't just a beacon of hope; it's a viable outcome with the right defense. Factors like inconsistencies in witness testimonies, lack of concrete evidence, or procedural errors can pave the way for such results. However, you need a keen legal eye and a comprehensive understanding of the law. Only then can you spot these opportunities and capitalize on them, working towards a more favorable case resolution. That makes your criminal defense attorney a cornerstone of your legal team.

It's essential to note that reductions or dismissals don't necessarily mean complete exoneration. They might translate to lesser penalties, mandatory counseling sessions, or therapy. Yet, these alternative resolutions can be far more palatable than a full conviction, especially in terms of long-term implications. By leveraging the skills of a competent lawyer, you can significantly increase the chances of a positive outcome.

Impact on Child Custody and Visitation Rights

Impact on child custody and visitation rights

A felony domestic violence conviction can adversely affect child custody and visitation rights. Courts prioritize the child's well-being, and a violent history might be deemed harmful to the child. As a result, you might face supervised visits. You could even lose custody rights entirely.

Restraining Orders and Their Implications

If accused of domestic violence, you might face a restraining or protective order. This order could limit your interactions with the accuser, barring you from approaching or contacting them. Violating such an order can lead to additional legal troubles and penalties. It can make it hard for you to maintain housing, go to the grocery store, and interact with your loved ones.


We will always take the time to answer your questions before we move forward. A few of the most common questions we get asked include:

What is the difference between a protective order and a restraining order?

Both orders aim to protect accusers, but a protective order is typically broader, covering more potential threats. A restraining order, on the other hand, is often specific to domestic violence cases.

Can charges be dropped if the alleged victim refuses to testify?

While that testimony can be crucial, the decision to proceed with charges lies with the prosecutor. They can continue with the case using other evidence.

What are the potential penalties for a first-time offender?

For a first-time offender in California, penalties can range from probation and fines to a year in county jail. The exact consequences depend on the crime's nature and severity.

Contact The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia Today If You Are Facing Felony Domestic Violence Charges

Contact the Law Office of France Prizzia today

If you or a loved one are facing felony domestic violence charges, immediate legal representation is vital. The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia is focused on defending your rights and fighting for the best possible outcome in your case. Don't let a single incident define your life.

Reach out to our experienced team today, and let us guide you through this challenging time. Your future and freedom are too important to leave to chance. Contact us today to schedule a case consultation.

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