Have you been charged with domestic violence in San Diego, CA? A domestic violence conviction can have serious consequences, including jail time and financial penalties. You could even lose time with your children and be forced to leave your home. Contact an experienced San Diego domestic violence attorney at (619) 357-4977 for immediate assistance from the attorneys at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers.
Our founding attorney has years of experience handling complex domestic violence cases. We’ve helped countless clients move forward with their lives after an arrest or allegations of domestic abuse.
It’s important to take action quickly. To learn more about how we can help, call our law firm in San Diego, California to schedule a free consultation today.
How Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers Can Help if You Were Arrested for Domestic Violence in San Diego
A domestic violence conviction can significantly change your life. Even if the charges are false, you could face immediate consequences. Our experienced criminal defense lawyers in San Diego, CA at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers are ready to start protecting your rights immediately.
Our lawyer will start waging your defense from the moment that you’re accused of a crime. We won’t stop until we’ve secured the best possible outcome in your case–whether that’s winning an acquittal or having the charges dropped or reduced.
Our founding attorney knows the criminal laws in San Diego inside and out and is ready to fight for you.
Hiring our domestic violence attorneys means you’ll have a team of professionals to:
- Launch an independent investigation into your case
- Interview witnesses and gather evidence to help prove your innocence
- Fight back if you’re threatened with restraining order
- Negotiate with prosecuting attorneys to have your charges reduced or the case dismissed
- Providing a vigorous legal defense before a judge and jury if necessary
We know that every domestic violence charge is unique. That’s why we put in the hard work necessary to build a custom-tailored defense for every client. To learn more information about how we can help, reach out for a no-charge initial consultation today. Peter Blair is considered highly among his peers, with many years of experience.
What is Domestic Violence in California? Penal Codes Section 13700-13702
Domestic violence is a criminal offense based on the close relationship between the defendant and the alleged victim. Is a practice area that covers many different types of criminal offenses. It is the relationship between the parties that characterizes the underlying offense as domestic violence. These offenses often carry enhanced penalties that would not apply.
Do Domestic Violence Cases Get Dismissed?
Of course. Domestic violence cases get dismissed all the time. Why? False allegations of domestic violence are common. Roughly 8% of Americans report being the victims of false domestic abuse allegations. Cases based on false accusations often get dismissed when the prosecution evaluates the case and sees deficiencies in the evidence.
Other cases get dismissed when the alleged victim retracts their allegations and/or decides not to testify. Deprived of their key witnesses, the prosecution will typically decide to drop the case, although they don’t have to.
In essence, cases get dismissed when the prosecution doesn’t have enough evidence to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Blair Defense can hold the prosecution to this high standard in your case. Contact us to get started.
Is Domestic Violence Considered a Felony?
Not always. Domestic violence charges are considered what are known as “wobbler” offenses in the State of California. This means there is no set determination for how they are charged; they could be as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
The facts and circumstances of the case will dictate how the offense is charged. The prosecution also has discretion on when and how to charge the cases it handles and there are orders of magnitude. For example, the prosecution may elect to pursue a case as a felony when it thinks it has more than enough evidence to prove the case. However, the prosecution does not always act coherently and so this is not a hard and fast rule.
Regardless of how your case is charged, you have options when you hire us to represent you. In some cases, we can have a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor (if not outright dismissed). Members of our legal team are highly experienced with domestic violence cases, and we know how to fight back against the prosecution.
Contact a domestic violence attorney with our firm. Your interests, protection, and property matter to us.
Types of Domestic Violence
Most people think of domestic violence as physical abuse, but it can take many forms, including manipulation, intimidation, and isolation.
Below we explain the different types of domestic violence that can occur and give examples of each.
- Physical Abuse – Hitting, choking, biting, or otherwise physically assaulting; preventing someone from seeking medical attention or calling 911; forcing someone to take drugs
- Sexual Abuse – Forcing someone to engage in sexual intercourse or continuing to pressure them after they refuse; hurting someone during sex; manipulating someone into performing sexual acts
- Isolation – Preventing someone from interacting with other people or leaving the house
- Control – Dictating someone’s every move, including how they can dress, who they can talk to, and what they can do
- Verbal Abuse: Coercion, Threats, & Blame – Making verbal threats to frighten someone or get them to do something; blaming someone for things they didn’t do; coercing someone to do things they don’t want to do
- Emotional Abuse & Intimidation – Continuously insulting someone; being overly possessive; threatening to hurt someone’s children or pets; humiliating or criticizing someone to make them feel insecure
- Financial Abuse – Closely monitoring someone’s spending and giving them an “allowance;” stealing money from someone’s account; preventing someone from working, earning their own money, or opening a bank account
- Digital Abuse – Sending unsolicited, explicit photos to someone; sending threatening messages to someone on social media; using someone’s password without their permission to log in to their accounts and monitor their interactions
As you can see, domestic violence can be physical, psychological, financial, or digital. Any of these behaviors can result in criminal charges in San Diego.
Domestic Battery – Penal Code § 243(e)(1)
California law defines battery as the unlawful and willful use of force or violence against another person.
The criminal offense is classified as “domestic battery” if it is committed against someone with whom you shared a “domestic relationship.” criminal laws generally define the term:
- A spouse or former spouse
- Romantic intimate partners
- Former romantic partners
- Cohabitants and former cohabitants (roommates or a partner)
- The parent of the alleged abuser’s child
- A fiance
A conviction for domestic battery carries different penalties than a simple battery conviction. Judges have the authority to impose a much wider range of punishments, including probation and counseling.
What is Considered a Domestic Relationship in California?
California law does not technically define when a relationship is considered domestic. However, the California Penal Code provides that:
“Domestic violence” means abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a current spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.”’
This piece of the penal code is fairly informative, though it also leaves plenty of room for interpretation and nuance. You might consider yourself in a domestic relationship with your loved one, but the law might not. For instance, the code does not mention a sexual relationship or a long-term relationship (and does not define those terms). On the other hand, a meet-up between two social acquaintances probably does not constitute a domestic relationship based on the above quote.
Of course, statutory and regulatory law is only part of the picture; there is also judge-created “common law” that arises out of the cases they decide.
The primary takeaway is that there is no clearcut answer for when a relationship is considered domestic. There are cases where there is such a relationship and others where it is less clear. Our law firm is up to the task in either event. Contact us, and learn more about our services and great results.
What Is a Cohabitant?
The California Penal Code defines cohabitants as “two unrelated adult persons living together for a substantial period of time, resulting in some permanency of relationship.”
Note that there is some room for interpretation in this definition. For instance, what “substantial” and “permanency of relationship” means could decide whether two people are contemplated cohabitants and are not clearly articulated in the code.
As mentioned above, judge-created common law does often interpret laws like the penal code and so some of the room for interpretation may be irrelevant in some cases. Our San Diego domestic violence attorneys will be sure to determine whether an argument is warranted in your case.
Child Abuse: California Penal Code 273a(b)
PC 273a(b) is California’s statute prohibiting child abuse. Child abuse can take several different forms, each of which is unlawful:
- Willfully causing or permitting injury to the child
- Willfully causing or permitting the child to suffer
- Inflicting unjustifiable pain or mental suffering
The state can also charge you with child abuse for willfully causing or permitting a situation that endangers the child’s person or health.
Corporal Injury to a Spouse – California Penal Code § 273.5?
Under California Penal Code Section 273.5, more serious assault charges apply if prosecutors allege that you willfully inflicted a “corporal injury” on someone with whom you shared a domestic relationship. These charges happen when the victim accuses you of causing a traumatic injury.
“Traumatic injuries” are defined to include bodily conditions caused by the use of bodily force, such as:
- Violent physical abuse
- External or internal injuries
- Injuries caused by strangulation or suffocation
The victim doesn’t have to prove that these were serious. Further, “traumatic injury” can be interpreted broadly as a wide range of injuries. To convict, the prosecution must only prove:
- You shared a domestic relationship with the alleged victim
- You willfully inflicted the bodily injury
Our team of San Diego domestic violence attorneys can help you fight the charges. To get started, call our law firm for a case evaluation.
Stalking and Harassment – Penal Code § 646.9
The term “domestic violence” also encompasses situations where you aren’t accused of causing corporal harm.
You can face stalking or harassment charges if you:
- Repeatedly contact or follow the alleged victim
- Make some type of credible threat or making the other person feel threatened
State prosecutors must prove that the victim reasonably feared for their safety, or the safety of their family, to convict on domestic stalking charges.
Criminal Threats – Penal Code § 422
To convict on criminal threats charges under California law, the prosecution must prove the following:
- You threatened to commit a crime
- The crime, if committed, would likely cause great bodily injury or death
- You specifically intended that the statement would be taken as a threat
- The threat was made in a manner that was unequivocal and immediate
- The alleged victim reasonably feared for their safety, or the safety of their immediate family members
Prosecutors don’t have to prove that you intended to carry out the threat. Criminal threats can form the basis for a domestic violence charge if you shared a relationship with the person threatened.
Harassing Phone Calls – California Penal Code 653m
California law makes it unlawful for any person to use a telephone or electronic media to communicate obscene or threatening messages.
It is a misdemeanor offense to convey a message electronically or via telephone when the message states an intention to inflict harm to another person or property. It is also a misdemeanor to make continual, harassing, and/or badgering phone calls or send malicious texts or email messages to another person.
To violate PC 653m, a person must:
- Ignore a temporary restraining order, protective order, or court order that prohibits such contact; or
- Repeat the harassing calls or messages ten or more times in a 24 hour period.
The following devices are covered under PC 653m:
- Cell phone
- Fax machine
- Video recorder
- Digital receivers or radios
If you’ve been charged with a violation of PC 653m, you need to act fast. An experienced San Diego domestic violence attorney can help you defend your rights. Contact Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.
Statute of Limitations for Domestic Violence in California
Prosecutors have up to five years to file a charge of domestic violence against you. The clock starts running on the date the abuse was alleged to have occurred. If they fail to file charges by this statute of limitations deadline, they will likely not be able to prosecute you for the alleged crime, except under extraordinary circumstances.
Contact us today for more information about the statute of limitations in your case.
Federal Law for Domestic Violence
It is a felony to commit an act of domestic violence under the Gun Control Act.
As is the case with other areas of law in the same realm as domestic violence, such as divorce, spousal support, child visitation, child custody, and meditation, federal law and state law often speak on the same subject. A skilled domestic violence lawyer in San Diego is more crucial than ever in those instances.
What are the Penalties for Domestic Violence in San Diego?
Domestic violence charges often carry enhanced penalties when compared to “ordinary” criminal charges.
If convicted, you can still be sentenced to prison or jail and ordered to pay financial sanctions. California law also imposes mandatory minimum jail sentences for certain offenses. California’s “three strikes law” also carries the potential for life in prison if you have prior felony convictions.
In addition to prison and economical penalties, your punishment may also include:
- Participation in a counseling program
- Other types of counseling
- Payments to a battered women’s shelter
- Imposition of a protective order
- Temporary or permanent restraining order.
Restraining Orders In Domestic Violence Cases
Often, a victim of domestic abuse will first seek a restraining order before you even have a chance to defend yourself against the allegations. If convicted on domestic violence charges, it’s much more likely that the court could make a temporary restraining order permanent.
The restraining order can restrict your ability to contact or come within a certain distance of the alleged victim.
Of course, the restraining order will make it a criminal offense to call, email, text, or contact the alleged victim. It can also restrict your freedom of movement. If you live with the alleged victim, the court may order you to move out of your home and continue to cover expenses.
Collateral Consequences Of A Domestic Violence Conviction In San Diego
The collateral consequences of even a misdemeanor conviction can also be harsh.
If convicted, you could also have to deal with:
- Possible family court issues when they’re children involved; including child custody & child support issues
- Housing problems
- Loss of your right to own a firearm
- Damage to your personal and professional reputation
- Immigration problems
- A lasting criminal record, which can create problems finding employment or housing
Most domestic violence offenses are “wobblers.” These crimes can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the exact severity of the circumstances. That makes the skill and experience of your attorney particularly important.
At Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers, we’ve been handling complex cases for years. We know how the prosecution thinks–and we know how to work to have the charges dropped or reduced. To learn more information about how an experienced attorney can help, visit our contact us page for a no-cost case evaluation today.
What Happens To First-Time Offenders for Domestic Violence in San Diego?
The outcome will heavily depend on the facts of the case. While the offender’s criminal record will be a vital factor to be considered, other things – such as the severity of the victim’s injuries – will also play a significant role in the case.
For example, if it’s someone’s first offense but they inflicted severe bodily harm on the victim, they will likely face felony charges and imprisonment. However, in another scenario involving no injuries, a first-time offender may be eligible for probation and avoid jail time altogether.
That’s why it’s essential to have an experienced attorney advocating for you. A lawyer will protect your legal rights and minimize the penalties you’ll face.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Accused of Domestic Violence?
You don’t have to accept an arrest and criminal charge at face value. The fact is, not all allegations of domestic abuse are justified. Law enforcement officials often make arrests based on accusations made when emotions are running high.
Unfortunately, it can be particularly difficult to demonstrate that you’ve been falsely accused without legal help. You deserve a strong legal expert that judges and prosecutors will take seriously.
Our law firm in San Diego will help you build the effective defense you need. Every case is unique, so the exact details of your defense will vary depending on the situation.
Examples of potential defense may include:
- The claim against you is false
- Lack of intent to commit the underlying offense
- You were acting in self-defense
- Innocence, whether established through albi or other evidence
- Challenges to the prosecution’s evidence
There are many different types of evidence that can be useful in building your case. Our San Diego domestic violence attorneys will be working on the interview of witnesses who can support you based on false accusations. We may even be able to use technological proof, such as cell phone data, to demonstrate your innocence.
Regardless of the facts, you shouldn’t take the situation lightly if you’re facing these charges. Contact our legal team to start building the aggressive defense you deserve.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a San Diego Domestic Violence Lawyer
Have you been arrested or accused of domestic violence in San Diego? Prosecutors and judges take domestic violence cases extremely seriously. You need an attorney who knows how to protect you. Contact Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers to schedule your free initial consultation with a skilled San Diego domestic violence lawyer and secured the best possible outcome.
Domestic Violence Resources & Blogs
- How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help If You’re Accused of Domestic Violence
- Domestic Violence – Common Tactics of Control
- Prosecution Tactics in Domestic Violence Cases
- How Much Time Am I Looking At for a Domestic Violence Charge?
- What Happens When A Domestic Violence Victim Doesn’t Want To Press Charges
- Will I Go to Jail if Convicted of Domestic Violence?
- Domestic Violence Statistics in California
- Process of a Domestic Violence Case
Read more clients’ testimonials here.
San Diego, CA Courts
- San Diego County Family Resource – 7947 Mission Center Ct, San Diego, CA 92108
- San Diego DWC District Office – 7575 Metropolitan Dr #202, San Diego, CA 92108
- Juvenile Court – 2851 Meadow Lark Dr, San Diego, CA 92123
- San Diego Superior Court’s Traffic and Minor Offense Division – 8950 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92123
- San Diego Central Courthouse – 1100 Union St, San Diego, CA 92101
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Areas We Serve In San Diego, CA
Carmel Valley, Del Mar Heights, Del Mar Mesa, Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, La Jolla, Pacific Highlands Ranch, Torrey Hills, Torrey Pines, University City, Bay Ho, Bay Park, Harbor Island, Liberty Station, Midway District, Mission Bay Park, Mission Beach, Morena, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, Point Loma, La Playa, Loma Portal, Point Loma Heights, Roseville-Fleet Ridge, Wooded Area, Shelter Island, Sunset Cliffs, Balboa Park, Bankers Hill, Downtown, Golden Hill, Hillcrest, Middletown, Mission Hills, Normal Heights, North Park, Old Town, South Park, University Heights, Alta Vista, Bay Terraces, Broadway Heights, Chollas View, Emerald Hills, Encanto, Jamacha, Lincoln Park, Lomita, Oak Park, Paradise Hills, Redwood Village, Rolando Park, Valencia Park, Webster, Black Mountain Ranch, Carmel Mountain, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Encantada, Rancho Peñasquitos, Sabre Springs, San Pasqual Valley, Scripps Ranch, Torrey Highlands, Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa, Miramar, Sorrento Valley, Allied Gardens, Birdland, Del Cerro, Grantville, Lake Murray, Linda Vista, Mission Valley, San Carlos, Serra Mesa, Tierrasanta, Barrio Logan, Grant Hill, Logan Heights, Shelltown, Sherman Heights, Stockton, Egger Highlands, Nestor, Ocean View Hills, Otay Mesa, Otay Mesa West, Palm City, San Ysidro, Tijuana River Valley, City Heights, College Area, El Cerrito, Kensington, Mount Hope, Mountain View, Rolando Village, Southcrest, Talmadge.