Charged with a domestic offense? We are former law enforcement officers and former prosecutors with decades of experience. We can help you fight back.
It's illegal to commit an assault, battery or criminal threat against anyone. But if the alleged victim is your fiancé, spouse, cohabitant, dating partner or the parent of your child, California domestic violence laws make the allegation much more serious.
Almost every district attorneys office in California has a special unit dedicated to prosecuting domestic violence cases. They usually will proceed with the case even if the accuser "recants" or insists he/she doesn't want to press charges. And most counties impose jail time for domestic abuse convictions, even in first-offense misdemeanor cases. Such a charge will result in at least a 10 year gun restriction. This is very burdensome for those who have a tradition of hunting or have a concern of gun ownership for personal protection.
One of the bigger hardships in such a case is a "stay away order." This is typically an order the DDA asks for on behalf of the victim. The difficult part is the victim may not want a stay away order, and having the defendant move out will costs thousand of dollars of hardship for a family. The stay away order will order the accused out of the house for typically 3 months. It does not matter if there are children to be cared for, rent to be paid, or a family that wishes to do counseling and reunite.
We will go to court with you, hire an investigator to assist in the case and try to keep families together, thus reducing the stress and hardship to your family. A stay away order will also require you to sell or remove your guns from your access. This is typically a reasonable " cooling off period " , but you'd want your attorney to address these issues if this is a concern.
Once a stay way order is issued, you will not be allowed to possess a gun. This may be a hardship if your job, such as being a police officer, requires you to carry a gun. For many Northern Californians, the tradition of hunting is important. You will not be allowed to hunt with a gun during this period of time. You must turn in your guns to law enforcement or transfer ownership to a licensed gun dealer or family member. We can assist with the paperwork needed for this issue. We will fight to keep you employed and defend your case!
Innocent People Get Accused
Unfortunately, innocent people get wrongly accused of domestic violence all the time in California. Often times, an accuser will make a false allegation of domestic abuse out of anger or jealousy, or to gain the upper hand in divorce or child custody proceedings. Sometimes what appears to the police to be a domestic battery was really an accident, or the arrested person having acted in self-defense during a mutual struggle. (Please visit our page on the California laws of self-defense for further discussion).
Whatever the situation, our California domestic violence attorneys know how to investigate the facts and present your side of the story in court...to the prosecutor, to the judge and (if the case goes to trial) to the jury. If we get involved in the case early enough, we may be able to present our case to the prosecutors before criminal charges get filed...and convince them not pursue a criminal case at all.
California Domestic Violence Penalties & Sentencing
The penalty, punishment and sentencing for crimes under California domestic violence law varies depending on (1) the seriousness of the injuries, if any, and (2) the defendant's criminal record. But most counties impose jail, even for first-time misdemeanor convictions. And judges almost always require the defendant to attend a 52-week domestic batterers class.
Worst of all, a California domestic violence conviction goes on one's permanent criminal record, and will surface anytime someone does a routine background check. This can make it difficult to gain employment, state licensing and other benefits.
If you're a licensed professional in California - like a doctor or teacher or real estate broker - your livelihood may be in jeopardy for sustaining certain kinds of criminal convictions. The good news is that professionals have vested interests in their licenses. The board, department or commission that regulates you can't just take away your license without giving you a chance for a hearing.
Our Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers can help. We represent people accused of crimes and have experience helping professionals to avoid losing their licenses in disciplinary actions. We can help you understand what is going on and get the full benefit of your rights.
The following information is about hearings in criminal conviction-related professional discipline cases. If you have questions after reading it, we invite you to contact us for a consultation. 530-580-8529
Criminal convictions can impact licenses for the following particular professions:
California State Employees
Real Estate Brokers
How Can OUR Butte County DV Lawyers Help YOU?
A domestic violence conviction can have serious consequences that will impact you for the rest of your life. Some of these consequences could include:
Loss of your professional license (if applicable)
Loss of the right to own or possess a firearm or ammunition
Possible changes in your immigration status
Loss of present or future employment opportunities
Loss of child custody rights
In cases where a criminal protective order or restraining order is issued against you, you may face travel restrictions and lose the ability to see your children in the future in addition to the many consequences mentioned above.
Because of the severity of the consequences, it’s imperative that you work with a skilled domestic violence lawyer that can help you fight the charges. Our criminal attorneys will closely examine the police report and your statement to determine a defense. Although the circumstances of each case are unique, some of the main defenses against a domestic violence charge may include:
I didn’t do it
It was an accident
It was self defense
It can’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, so you can’t convict me
I was provoked by his/her actions
You can’t press charges against me because of a faulty investigation
A domestic violence charge is a serious matter with grave consequences, and you shouldn’t have to fight your charges alone. If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, contact a skilled Butte County criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Our firm serves Butte County, Glenn County and Tehama County. We can provide representation in other nearby counties on a case by case basis.:
Our trial litigator, Mr. Blake, a has successfully fought for clients rights and innocence in domestic abuse cases, obtaining favorable outcomes for his clients. He has successfully defended over hundreds of clients throughout his career. Mr. Blake has earned a reputation of being one of the most successful trial attorneys in the northern counties of California. He has a high success rates in motions to dismiss and suppression motions.
What are the Domestic Violence Laws?
Under California law, domestic violence is defined as abuse between two people who are married, domestic partners, dating or have previously dated, live or lived together, have a child together or are closely related by blood or marriage. Although many people assume domestic violence refers to physical abuse, however it be interpreted as:
Physically hurting someone or trying to do so, whether it is intentional or caused by reckless behavior
Threatening, intimidating or promising to do harm to someone in the future that constitutes verbal or emotional abuse
Harassing or stalking someone
Disturbing the peace or damaging someone else’s property
In the majority of cases, domestic violence is considered a misdemeanor, however, this can be upgraded to a felony if you have a prior record, there was serious bodily harm caused to the victim or this is a sexual assault. Charges can also be considered a felony if the victim was a minor. When charged with a misdemeanor, you may be charged a fine of up to $2,000 and could spend up to 1 year in county jail. In Northern California, this is typically 1 to three years of formal probation. If you’ve been charged with a felony, you may have to attend a lengthy domestic violence class and may spend up to 4 years in state prison. This sentence could be extended depending on your criminal record and the amount of harm done to the victim. Regardless of whether the charge was a misdemeanor or felony, you could also be prohibited from ever coming into contact with the victim again. If you are found guilty of the charges, it is possible that the victim could even file a civil lawsuit after the court case to recover compensation for their injuries.
It’s important to note that in California, even if a victim does not report the abuse or asks for the charges to be dropped, the case will continue against the accused.
Can I lose my professional license because of a conviction?
Yes! When it comes to professionals and criminal convictions in California this issue can continue to haunt you. Even if you've turned things around, fulfilled your probation terms, and gotten your case dismissed. So, don't be brash or cavalier about these charges.
If you were convicted of a crime that your regulatory board or department considers substantially related to your fitness to do your job, it may be able to revoke or suspend your professional license.
If you don't hold a professional license but have applied for one, you might receive a statement regarding issues.
The licensing board makes accusations and makes a statements of issues regarding your professional license:
Don't panic, all is not over and done with. You may have defenses that can make the case be dismisse or minimize the extent of discipline.
Seriously consider hiring an attorney. You have the right to an attorney (at your expense) in disciplinary proceedings. A lawyer might be able to negotiate a favorable settlement with the licensing authority or persuade an administrative law judge to see things in your favor. A lawyer can help you see the "big picture" and assess how different strategies might lead to different outcomes.
Keep on top of deadlines and be vigilant. Whether or not you opt for a lawyer, there are decisions you must make and deadlines you must comply with in order to fight your case. For example, you must notify the board within 15 days of receiving an accusation in order to preserve your right to a hearing. If you ignore the accusation and fail to respond, the licensing authority might go ahead and revoke your license in a default decision.