Domestic violence in Moreno Valley, CA can occur within various family and social relationships. It is defined by California law as any form of abuse that includes physical, verbal, and/or psychological harm against someone you live with. It occurs between current or former spouses, current or former domestic partners, current or former intimate partners, children of the accused or abuser, two parents who share a child, or close family members.
Domestic violence encompasses violent acts or behaviors as California law defines under Family Code Section 6203. This classification of domestic violence includes the following crimes described below.
- Physical Abuse – Physical domestic abuse can include both attempted and actual physical harm inflicted on the domestic abuse victim.
- Threat of Physical Abuse – This includes any explicit or implicit threats of causing physical harm to or inflicting fear on the victim.
- Sexual Assault – This involves any nonconsensual sexual act or behavior performed against the domestic violence victim.
- Stalking and Harassment – California law defines stalking and harassment as continual incidents of unwanted contact or following that causes fear, stress, and/or emotional harm against the domestic violence victim.
Penalties for Domestic Violence
Even though you may be innocent, knowing the penalties that you are facing from the charges you’ve received is important. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could be facing either misdemeanor charges or felony charges. That is why, in many cases, domestic violence charges are referred to as “wobblers” because they can be charged in different ways, depending on the prosecutor and the details of the case.
If this is your first conviction, you could be facing misdemeanor charges that carry a sentence of up to one year in county jail or fines of up to $2,000. Almost all sentences include the completion of batterer counseling or an anger management program. Some sentences include community service. At the judge’s discretion, depending on the circumstances of the case, defendants may be sentenced to probation in lieu of prison or jail time and/or fines.
Sentencing may also order the abuser to pay for the treatment expenses associated with the harm to the victim’s mental health. Some judges require convicted domestic abusers to donate time or money to a charity that focuses on helping victims of domestic violence.
When the charge is filed as a felony, the penalties are steeper. A conviction for a felony domestic violence charge could result in one year in jail or up to four years in state prison, along with fines of up to $6,000. For instance, if you are found guilty of spousal assault, you will be charged with a felony and likely serve four years in state prison.
There is the possibility of a probation sentence instead of jail time if the court obliges. The terms of probation may require the guilty party to:
- Pay the court costs of the domestic abuse victim.
- Submit to random drug tests.
- Pay restitution to the victim.
- Carry out community service.
- Go through anger management counseling.
Other Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction
After you complete your sentence, even though you will have served your time, you will still have a domestic violence charge on your record. This can affect current and future relationships and potentially alienate you from friends, family, and even your children.
Furthermore, the consequences incurred from domestic abuse violence convictions can last much longer than the legal penalties you receive in sentencing. In addition to all the penalties that are enforced by the state, the repercussions of a domestic violence conviction can affect every aspect of your life.
A domestic violence conviction is likely to follow you, making it hard for you to get a job, buy or rent a house, or enter into school or trade programs. Any one of these possibilities is enough to scare any offender who is facing domestic violence charges. This is why it is imperative that you contact a Moreno Valley domestic violence lawyer to discuss your case. An attorney’s guidance and advocacy can help you achieve a more favorable outcome and avoid these potential negative results.
A protective order is a court-issued order with the purpose of protecting victims of domestic violence. Most protective orders specify the physical distance that the court orders the abuser to keep from the victim. It also includes terms stating that the abuser may not communicate with the victim in any way. Additionally, the suspect must surrender any firearms in their position.
If someone has filed a protective order against you, and it was granted by California courts, you should take these orders very seriously. Furthermore, it is important to understand the impact that a protective order can have on you, your family, or anyone else involved in the case if you violate the terms of the protective order against you.
In some cases, a protective order requires the abuser to:
- Return items belonging to the victim.
- Fulfill financial obligations, such as child support payments or spousal support payments.
- Move out of your shared residence.
- Meet other conditional acts unique to the case.
Do not take these instructions as a mere suggestion. Follow them diligently and uphold the conditions of the protective order against you.
The Importance of Following a Protective Order
Failure to abide by the terms of a protective order can be detrimental to other legal facets of your case. It can only cause more problems later and will result in additional legal consequences. If you’ve already violated a protective order, the time to contact an attorney is now.
In adhering to the terms of a protective order or any other court order, you will have a better chance of exonerating your name if false accusations were made against you that originally led to the protective order. If you continue to accumulate charges for violating a protective order, it will be more difficult to convince the court that prior charges or allegations were false.
Handling a domestic violence case that has added complications is ideally handled in a calculated and thoughtful way. Acting on emotions or acting without thinking first can be detrimental in a domestic violence case, whether there is a protective order involved or not.
Defense Strategies for Domestic Violence
Like all cases, yours is unique and has circumstances unlike any other case. For this reason, it is important that you speak with a domestic abuse lawyer. They can represent you and provide invaluable and crucial legal advice regarding the approach to your defense strategy. Below are some common defense strategies for domestic violence cases.
- Lack of Intent – This defense strategy poses an argument that the alleged actions were carried out either unintentionally or accidentally, and the accused did not purposely impose harm on the victim.
- Self-Defense – The self-defense approach to a domestic violence defense is that the alleged actions were carried out in an act of self-defense, as the accused abuser was merely defending themselves against what they believed to be a threat or impending harm toward them. Therefore, they only took reasonable actions that were necessary to protect themselves from being harmed.
- False Accusations – The false accusation defense strategy approach is most effective when:
- There is tangible evidence available to present to the court.
- A character witness can testify against the prosecution and pose a challenge to the credibility of the accuser.
This approach can only be successful if the defense can convince the court that the accusations are based on false pretenses or on the ulterior motives of the accuser, thus establishing that the claims may, in fact, be invalid.
- Alibi – The alibi defense is simple to use in the right circumstances. Your attorney can get the charges dropped by providing evidence from someone or somewhere that establishes, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant was somewhere else at the time of the alleged incident.
- Violation of Constitutional Rights – If the defendant feels that their constitutional rights were violated, either at the time of arrest, amid the investigation, or thereafter, this can lead to grounds for dismissal of the charges. Even if it does not, it can at least exclude certain evidence that may otherwise be necessary to secure a guilty verdict.
Hiring a Moreno Valley Domestic Violence Lawyer
My SoCal Lawyers is deeply familiar with the California legal system, and we know how to navigate the California Superior Court and California Family Court. When family matters cross into criminal law, the prosecution often portrays events in a way that is much different than reality.
We know that there’s another side to every story, and we’d like to hear yours. Contact My SoCal Lawyers to discuss your case with a knowledgeable Moreno Valley domestic violence attorney. After speaking with us, you can feel confident in our ability to defend you.