Anaheim Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

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Anaheim Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

Anaheim Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

Like many states, California classifies acts of violence against intimate partners as a separate crime from assault. Domestic violence can lead to a misdemeanor or a felony charge. A conviction could have serious repercussions for your personal and professional life. If you were recently charged with this crime, you can rely on an Anaheim domestic violence defense lawyer to get your side of the story across in court. A law firm that has experience defending clients against accusations of intimate partner abuse can lower the potential penalties you are facing.

Anaheim Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a form of abuse that involves an intimate partner. Someone can be charged with this crime for committing an act of violence or attempting to cause bodily harm to a partner. The intimate partner could include:

  • A spouse
  • Fiancée or fiancé
  • Significant others
  • Partners
  • Co-parents
  • Cohabitant

California’s statute on domestic violence defines the crime as an act against an adult or a minor. The couple may have a child together, or they may cohabitate. The continuity and length of the relationship are factors that can establish whether the cohabitants are intimate partners or not.

Depending on the specifics of the incident, an act of violence could be physical, verbal, sexual, emotional, psychological, or related to stalking.

Common Examples of Incidents That Lead to Domestic Violence Charges

Some examples of domestic violence share much in common with other forms of physical assault that could occur between strangers or non-intimate friends. Other examples are more unique to intimate partner situations.

Physical Abuse

Striking, hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, and other forms of physical force and violence can lead to an arrest and a domestic violence charge. Even if these acts occur during a heated argument, the responsible party can face serious criminal charges. The consequences can include fines, imprisonment, and mandatory counseling, reflecting the seriousness with which these offenses are treated by law enforcement and the judicial system.

Sexual Abuse

Even among married or committed couples, the line between consensual and non-consensual sexual acts and behaviors can be crossed. Forcing a partner to engage in sexual acts or using sex as a means of punishment, coercion, or control can lead to allegations of domestic violence. Even when it is one person’s word against another’s, the partner who is accused of committing abuse may have to defend against their alleged actions in court.

Emotional Abuse

Although many people associate domestic violence with acts of physical violence, patterns of emotional abuse can lead to criminal charges. Emotional abuse results when one party continually demeans another person’s self-worth. Constant criticism, humiliation, or belittling can cause emotional harm.

Economic Abuse

Increasingly, law enforcement and prosecutors are understanding the harm that can be done when one person uses money to coerce or control another. Financial abuse, as it is often called, can make the victim financially dependent on the person who controls the purse strings. This type of abuse can limit the victim’s ability to leave an unhealthy or dangerous relationship. Authorities are now more vigilant in addressing and prosecuting such cases, ensuring that victims receive the protection and support they need.

Technological Abuse

Technological abuse can be used as the basis for criminal domestic violence charges. Technology can be used to stalk, manipulate, and control victims. GPS tracking and software monitoring programs allow partners to follow and send threatening messages to their significant others.

Penalties for Domestic Violence If Convicted

Domestic violence carries a particular stigma in our country. Even the mere accusation of domestic violence is enough to ruin reputations and careers. Unlike many crimes, intimate partner violence affects the alleged victim and perpetrator in unique ways because the two parties involved are typically connected, either because they continue to have a romantic relationship or because they share children together and have to co-parent.

One partner may ultimately regret calling the police. However, once law enforcement is involved, the direction of the case shifts toward the prosecution. Prosecutors may not fully understand the dynamics that led to the criminal charges in the first place. Often, prosecutors are more focused on attaining a conviction or guilty plea. Even though defendants are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, a criminal charge for domestic violence can place a defendant’s reputation and career in jeopardy.

A conviction for domestic violence can lead to a misdemeanor or a felony on your criminal record. Prosecutors consider the severity of the abuse, the history of those acts, and other factors when deciding whether to charge a defendant with a misdemeanor or a felony. Like other crimes, aggravating circumstances can lead to steep penalties. Any violence that was committed with the use of a weapon could be considered an aggravated attack.

A domestic violence attorney can negotiate with the prosecution and present mitigating facts that support reducing the charges or the potential penalties. Besides jail time and fines, a domestic violence conviction can also result in the following penalties:

  • Restraining order
  • Probation
  • Community service
  • Order to pay restitution to the victim
  • Loss of gun rights
  • Order to undergo counseling or participate in a batterers’ program
  • Fines

Domestic Violence Defense Strategies to Avoid a Conviction

If you were charged with domestic violence in Anaheim, California, you may feel betrayed by your partner or frustrated with the criminal justice system. With the right legal counsel, there’s always hope for a favorable outcome to your criminal charge.

Each case offers opportunities for developing a robust legal strategy. Your domestic violence attorney can thoroughly investigate the facts, identify the strengths of your case, and build your defense by highlighting the weaknesses in the prosecution’s arguments.

Self-Defense

Even in domestic violence cases, the police can and do make mistakes. Sometimes, it’s the first person who calls law enforcement who gets the benefit of the doubt. If the alleged victim physically attacked you or threatened your safety, you have the right to use reasonable force to protect yourself.

For instance, if you and your partner were drinking before getting into an argument about finances, the situation can escalate into a shouting match. If your partner threatens you and grabs a weapon, you may use reasonable force to remove the weapon. Even then, the police may arrive and wrongfully arrest you, thinking that you were the one who was brandishing a weapon or firearm.

Your attorney could argue that the alleged victim posed a danger and that you only used necessary force to disarm and neutralize the threat. In such circumstances, the prosecutor might even drop the charges. Self-defense is not against the law as long as you use reasonable and proportional force to protect your safety.

False Allegations

Emotions often have a large role in domestic violence charges. Partners can make false reports out of jealousy or anger. Maybe your spouse lied or exaggerated the truth. Either way, it takes much more than stating the facts to convince the court that you’re innocent. You need an effective legal strategy and an attorney who is willing to tell your side of the story.

There are times when, after emotions settle down, your partner is willing to drop charges. Your attorney can take their sworn statement and present it to prosecutors. Without a victim, prosecutors may no longer have a case.

This can lead to a case dismissal. If the prosecutor refuses to drop charges, even after being presented with exculpatory evidence, your attorney may need to take the case to trial, where a judge or a jury will ultimately decide whether a crime occurred.

Accidental Contact

Sometimes, accidents occur. For instance, if you intervene in a fight and someone gets injured, your attorney can argue that any injuries were not the result of criminal intent. They can demonstrate that your actions were intended to prevent further harm rather than cause it. This lack of intent can be a crucial point in your defense, emphasizing that the injuries were accidental.

Another strong legal argument could be that you were not at the scene of the crime when the incident occurred, which is known as an alibi defense. Your attorney can gather statements from witnesses who can confirm your whereabouts at the time of the incident.

Additionally, other forms of evidence, such as camera footage, credit card receipts, or phone records, can be used to establish your alibi. By presenting this evidence, your attorney can create reasonable doubt about your involvement in the incident. This comprehensive approach can significantly strengthen your defense and potentially lead to the dismissal of your charges.

FAQs

Q: How Much Does a Defense Attorney Cost in California?

A: A criminal defense attorney in California will charge a flat rate or bill by the hour. If your attorney charges a flat rate, that fee will depend on how much time and resources are needed to prepare your defense. Misdemeanors generally require fewer hours of preparation and investigation than felony charges.

Attorneys who charge by the hour typically charge an upfront payment, known as a retainer. Once the retainer has been depleted, your lawyer may require another payment. Lawyers who have more experience helping clients generally charge higher rates than less experienced lawyers.

Q: Can a Domestic Violence Case Be Dismissed in California?

A: Prosecutors have an ethical obligation to seek justice. If there is not enough evidence to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, your case should theoretically be dismissed. Even when prosecutors have a weak case, though, they sometimes choose to push forward with it.

If the facts of the case do not support your guilt, your attorney can use evidence to persuade a judge or prosecutor that your case should be dismissed. Working with an experienced lawyer who has a working relationship with prosecutors can improve the chances that your case is dismissed.

Q: How Do Domestic Violence Cases Work in California?

A: To be charged with domestic violence in California, prosecutors must show that you have an intimate partnership with the alleged victim of abuse. Domestic violence could be the result of physical, emotional, financial, or another qualifying form of abuse. Once charged, defendants are required to attend hearings while prosecutors and your attorney work to determine a suitable plea bargain settlement or another means of disposing of the case.

Q: What Is the Most Common Argument of a Defense Attorney?

A: An attorney who is defending someone accused of committing domestic violence may argue that the alleged victim was also a perpetrator of physical or emotional abuse. Another common argument could be that the defendants were simply defending themselves from abuse. If an alibi witness testifies that the defendant was not at the scene of the crime, the defendant’s attorney can urge the court to drop the charges altogether.

Q: Will My Case Go to Trial?

A: Your attorney’s job is to prove your innocence or minimize any penalties tied to your criminal charges. Often, criminal court cases are settled through a process known as plea bargaining. During that negotiation process, prosecutors and your lawyer work to reach a deal that satisfies both the state’s interests and the defendant’s interests.

If the prosecution does not offer a deal that is acceptable to the defendant, the case will go to trial, where a jury or judge decides whether a crime was committed and what the punishment should be. If the evidence supports your innocence, a trial exonerates you of any wrongdoing.

Schedule Your Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Consultation Today

Domestic violence charges carry the potential of serious punishments, like jail or prison time, upon conviction. Unlike other violent crimes, victims of domestic violence may have ulterior motives for alleging assault or other forms of abuse. Relationships are complicated and fraught with emotion. If you were charged with abusing your significant other, there may be mitigating circumstances that can lead to reduced penalties.

Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney can greatly improve your chances of a favorable settlement to your ordeal. In some cases, a favorable settlement may allow you to move on from the incident. A close examination of your case may reveal that no crime was committed. To schedule your domestic violence consultation, contact the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, today.

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