San Diego Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Proudly Serving the Accused in San Diego County
When someone is charged with domestic violence, it is almost never a simple situation. But the laws want to treat every situation as if it is the same. San Diego criminal defense attorneys Timothy J. Richardson, can get the authorities to realize the complexities of your incident, while demonstrating why you don’t deserve serious punishment.
Call The Law Offices of Timothy J. Richardson at (619) 473-5662 to schedule your free consultation today.
The Truth about Domestic Violence Charges
Politicians and pressure groups act as if every incident of alleged domestic violence is a brutal beating. This is simply not true. Sometimes the actual contact is little more than a slap to the face, no different than what you have seen in countless old movies.
In 20 years of experience, our San Diego domestic violence attorneys have successfully handled hundreds of charges. In that time, we have found that a majority of cases involve mutual combat, in which a couple will get into an argument and start pushing, shoving, and possibly hitting. Then one person calls the police. And when the police show up on a domestic violence call, someone will likely be arrested.
Domestic violence occurs when there is a battery against a person who is your current or former spouse or cohabitant, or the parent of your child. If there is an injury, the charge can be PC273.5, which requires the infliction of an injury on the body. The injury however, need not be severe. It can be very minor, such as a bruise. If there is no injury, then the offense is PC243(e)(1), which is defined as using some force against the person, without injury.
In California, domestic violence charges are classified as “wobblers,” which means they can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. Usually this is determined by the seriousness of the injuries. Severe cuts and broken bones will almost always result in a felony charge. Prior acts of physical abuse by the person charged may also factor into the prosecutor’s decision to file it as a felony. Cases involving no injury or slight injury will be charged as misdemeanors.
Upon a conviction of a domestic violence offense, the defendant will be required to attend a program that consisting of one hour per week, for 52 weeks. That program is known as DVRP: Domestic Violence Recovery Program.
In some cases, particularly the ones with a significant injury, a defendant may be ordered to a term in jail. However, in most DV cases, my clients do not get jail time.
The punishments for felony and misdemeanor charges are as follows:
- Felony: Defendants could serve at least 2 years or more in the state prison
- Misdemeanor: Punishment is not more than 1 year in the county jail
The law also requires that any domestic violence defendant complete a 52 week domestic violence program involving a series of classes. Most likely there will also be a stay away order, which prohibits the defendant from having any contact with the alleged victim.
Other categories of domestic violence include:
- Child endangerment if there is a child present, even if there was no force used against the child. PC273a is defined as allowing a child in your care to suffer harm or mental suffering.
- Felony domestic violence: PC273.5 is a wobbler. Generally, if the injury is of a serious nature, such as a laceration or severe bruise, or if there are prior convictions of domestic violence, the prosecutor will likely file the case as a felony. In other situations, it will be filed as a misdemeanor.
- Misdemeanor domestic violence: PC243(e)(1) is a straight misdemeanor. The maximum punishment is one year in the county jail.
What The Law Offices of Timothy J. Richardson Can Do
Our San Diego criminal defense lawyer has handled hundreds of cases for over 20 years with outstanding success. Many cases are dismissed even before charges are filed. If you have been charged Mr. Richardson is the wise choice for representation.
Our firm works to expose the flaws and weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Mr. Richardson has a team of investigators and legal professionals working for him and he has the knowledge and trial experience to prevail over the prosecutor. Don’t settle for one of those attorneys who wants only to plead you out. Our San Diego criminal defense attorney provides you with a vigorous defense.
Technically, domestic violence is not in itself the name of a crime — it is a general term that involves violence or threats of violence upon either a:
- Spouse (husband or wife); or
- A person with whom he/she is cohabitating; or
- A person who is the mother/father of his/her child.
- A other family members, such as children (see Child Abuse)
Typical criminal offenses that are charged in a domestic violence case are:
- PC 273.5—Spousal Abuse
- PC 242-243(e)(1)—Battery
- PC 240-241(a)—Assault
- PC 422—Criminal Threats
- PC 653m(a)—Threatening phone call
- PC 591—Damage phone/cable/ or TV line
- PC 136.1(B)(1)—Intimidating a witness or victim
The applicable penal codes are as follows:
- Penal Code 273.5 makes it illegal to inflict a “corporal injury” resulting in a “traumatic condition.” A person commits this crime by striking his/her intimate partner in some violent way and causing a visible injury, even a slight one such as swelling or a bruise. This California domestic violence law can be charged if the alleged victim is a current or former spouse or cohabitant or the parent of your child.
- Penal Code 243(e)(1) makes it a misdemeanor crime to inflict force or violence on an intimate partner including includes fiancés, cohabitant, the parent of your child, or your current or former spouse or dating partner. Unlike Penal Code 273.5, this California domestic violence law does not require a visible injury.
- Penal Code 273d makes it a crime to inflict “corporal punishment or injury” on a child if it was “cruel or inhuman” and caused an injury (even a slight injury). California child abuse laws allow a parent reasonable latitude to spank a child, but draw the line where the punishment is cruel or injures the child.
- Penal Code 273a makes it a crime willfully to allow a child (in your care or custody) to suffer harm or to have his/her safety or health endangered. An example would be a mother who permits her boyfriend to beat her 6-year-old; or a parent who operates a dangerous meth lab in the same home where his/her child lives.