The California Penal Code adds additional penalties to a typical assault and battery case when the incident involves your spouse, partner, girlfriend, boyfriend or child. Typically, domestic violence cases are reported to the police after the incident already occurred. More often than not, tempers are raging and inaccurate statements are given in the heat of the moment. When tempers cool and calmer minds prevail, people often change their statements. In fact, sometimes the statements about the incident given to the police are exaggerated or even fabricated due to jealously, alcohol or a plethora of other reasons. However, the police and the District Attorney’s office are not receptive to new statements that weaken their case.
Many people mistakenly believe that if the alleged victim calls the District Attorney or Police to “drop the charges” that the case will be dismissed. It is extremely rare for the District Attorney’s office to dismiss a case at the request of an alleged victim of domestic violence. But that doesn't mean that the case can't be reduced or dismissed. You need a good lawyer who understands the process to present evidence on your behalf and exploit weaknesses in the prosecution's case.
Code Sections and Penalties
A conviction for domestic violence can be a misdemeanor or a felony. The misdemeanor domestic violence law is codified in Penal Code section 243(e)(1), which in pertinent part states, “When a battery is committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of the defendant's child, former spouse, fiancé, or fiancée, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship, the battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.”
Domestic violence can also be charged as a felony if there is evidence of a “corporal injury” resulting in a “traumatic condition” as codified in Penal Code section 273.5. An injury to the body is a traumatic condition. A felony conviction for domestic violence can result in a four year prison sentence.
What You Should Do Next
You guessed it. Call a lawyer! You need an experienced attorney to start working on your defense by obtaining statements and preserving any physical evidence. The right evidence, presented to the prosecutor in the correct way, can turn your case around. I have successfully handled hundreds of domestic violence cases. Call me for a free consultation at (855) 4-BEN-LAW or (855) 423-6529.