If you have been charged with domestic violence it is vitally important to contact a Domestic Violence Attorney as soon as possible. Domestic Violence penalties could negatively affect your rights and reputation for the remainder of your life.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony Domestic Violence Charges
Here in Los Angeles, domestic violence is considered a “wobbler” offense. There are many crimes that fall in the “wobbler” bucket. This means that the prosecutor can choose whether to file misdemeanor domestic violence charges or felony domestic violence charges. Typically, there are certain extenuating factors that the prosecutor will take into consideration when filing domestic violence charges such as:
- Did the victim sustained serious, debilitating or fatal injuries?
- Was a weapon was used during the commission of the crime?
- Was the crime was committed against a child?
- Was the crime committed against a “senior citizen” (a dependent adult?)
- Was the defendant high on drugs or drunk during the crime?
- Did the defendant violate a restraining order by coming into contact with the victim?
- Did the defendant violate his or her probation or parole by committing the domestic violence crime?
- Did the defendant have a prior criminal history of violence or abuse?
Penalties for a Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Conviction:
- Up to 3- years probation.
- Up to 1-year in county jail.
- Up to $6,000 in fines.
- Up to $10,000 in fines if the conviction occurred within 7-years of a previous domestic violence related offense.
- Up to $5,000 to be donated to a battered women’s shelter, or restitution to the victim for counseling and other services needed following the incident.
- A Restraining Order that prohibits you from making any type of contact with the victim.
- A Criminal Protective (“No Contact” order) that protects the victim from further acts of violence, abuse, threats, stalking, harassment, etc.
- Community service.
- Mandatory counseling, typically twice per week for one year.
Penalties for a Felony Domestic Violence Conviction:
The penalties for a felony domestic violence conviction are typically the same as the penalties for misdemeanor domestic violence, except that they are enhanced. For example, a misdemeanor which has jail time UP TO 1-year in COUNTY jail, is increased. A person convicted of felony domestic violence will instead face 2, 3, 4, and sometime 5-years in STATE prison.
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