Domestic violence charges are incredibly serious charges that typically come with very stiff penalties. In many states, including California, domestic violence convictions may be subjected to enhanced penalties. This means convicted defendants may face penalties beyond the ordinary terms of their sentence. There may also be civil consequences for domestic violence convictions too. Situations involving domestic violence tend to be very complicated because there are often concerns over family relationships and children’s protection. Read on to learn more about the potential penalties from Los Angeles domestic violence defense lawyer Eric D. Davis, Attorney at Law, including information about jail time that you may face if convicted of domestic violence charges in Los Angeles.
Definition of Domestic Violence in Los Angeles
Domestic violence is defined as abuse committed against someone with whom you have an intimate personal relationship. Often, this person is a cohabitant, someone you have lived with. Abuse usually results in some sort of serious bodily harm to the victim. It may also be behavior or actions that put someone in imminent fear of harm.
More specifically, to be charged with domestic violence, the alleged victim must be either an adult or minor who was a spouse or former spouse that is a cohabitant or was a cohabitant in the past. The victim could also be someone with whom you have a child or who is pregnant with your child. If the victim is not a spouse nor has a child with you, they could be someone with whom you had a dating relationship or are currently dating.
Cohabitants are more than just roommates. Cohabitants are two unrelated people who have lived together for an extended period and have a more permanent or long-term relationship. Factors that may be used to determine if someone is a cohabitant include sexual relationships, sharing expenses, sharing money or income, using or owning property together, the length of the relationship, and whether the couple holds themselves out being in a relationship. These factors can be confusing for the accused when it comes to domestic violence charges; Working with a seasoned Los Angeles criminal defense attorney may make or break your case. If your domestic violence charge involved sexual abuse accusations, you can rely on our San Bernardino sexual assault defense lawyers to help.
Potential Jail Time for Domestic Violence Charges in Los Angeles
Prison terms in Los Angeles for domestic violence charges may be difficult to assess without knowing what you have been charged with specifically. In other jurisdictions, criminal offenses are divided into classifications, such as felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions. Those classifications are assigned possible penalty ranges. In California, these classifications do exist; however, each individual offense is given a unique penalty range. Rather than an indefinite range, such as a term of 5 to 10 years, California uses three tiers of penalties for each offense. For example, kidnapping charges come with a sentence of either 3, 5, or 8 years.
Whatever your charge is, your potential penalties may be enhanced if you face felony charges that involve domestic violence. A domestic violence-related felony that results in serious bodily injury will result in an additional sentence of 3, 4, or 5 years in prison. This prison time will be added to the existing penalties for the underlying charges. For example, if you are charged with kidnapping, you face 3, 5, or 8 years in prison. If the kidnapping occurs under domestic violence-related conditions, such as kidnapping a spouse or romantic partner, you face an additional penalty of 3, 4, or 5 years in prison. Under this sentencing scheme, you could face a minimum of 6 years and a maximum of 13 years if you are convicted of kidnapping and subjected to domestic violence sentence enhancements. If you are arrested on any of these domestic violence charges, our Los Angeles assault and battery defense lawyer can help.
Other Penalties for Domestic Violence in Los Angeles
The penalties for a domestic violence-related offense in Los Angeles may exceed prison time alone but may be lowered with the help of a San Bernardino criminal defense lawyer. Certain civil penalties may also be imposed. Protective orders, sometimes called restraining orders, may be imposed by a court before a defendant has even been convicted. These orders are often granted at the alleged victim’s request and are designed to keep the defendant away from them. Many protective orders require defendants to maintain a certain distance away from the alleged victim and have zero contact with them. This means no meeting in person, no text messages, no emails, and no phone calls.
A defendant may also be ordered to keep away from other people close to the alleged victim. This can include friends and family of the alleged victim and any children the defendant and victim share together. Once convicted, a judge may impose a protective order on a more long-term basis. This can be especially difficult for defendants as they are prevented from seeing friends and loved ones, including their own children. Violations of protective orders can result in being arrested and serving jail time. With the experience of a Diamond Bar criminal defense lawyer, you may be able to avoid these penalties.
Someone convicted of domestic violence-related charges may also be prohibited from owning a firearm. How long the prohibition lasts will depend on your specific charges and circumstances. You may even owe restitution to the victim and you could lose custody of any children you have.
Contact Our Los Angeles Domestic Violence Attorney If You Were Accused or Charged
The exact penalties for domestic violence-related offenses can be difficult to predict because each individual offense has its own unique range of penalties. In addition, domestic violence-related crimes may be punished with enhanced penalties, making for an even longer prison term. If you or someone you know has been charged with a domestic violence-related crime or gang-affiliated crime in Los Angeles, contact our Los Angeles domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. Call criminal defense attorneys in Long Beach and the Los Angeles area Eric D. Davis, Attorney at Law, at (909) 861-8075 to schedule a free legal consultation with our Glendale criminal defense lawyers regarding your domestic violence charges.