Domestic Violence

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Bay Area Domestic Violence Attorney

The Penal Code defines domestic violence broadly as: “abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a 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.”
Arrests for domestic violence can have numerous collateral consequences.

First is a criminal case. Two common domestic violence charges in criminal court are “corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant” (California Penal Code section 273.5) and “domestic battery” (California Penal Code section 243(e)).

  • In a “corporal injury” case, any physical injury perpetrated on a spouse or cohabitating intimate is a crime. Those convicted can be fined up to $6,000, put on probation, required to participate in diversion programs, and imprisoned for one year in county jail or for four years in a state prison.
  • “Domestic Battery” refers to the willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon a domestic partner. Unlike corporal injury cases, no visible injuries are required to charge domestic battery. Those convicted may be subject to fines, participation in a treatment program, and one year in a county jail.

Often the criminal case is followed by a civil restraining order case. When the accused is married or has children, charges of domestic violence can also lead to family law proceedings and child custody proceedings. Sometimes the accuser in a domestic violence arrest later brings a civil case against the accused for additional monetary compensation.

When the accused is a licensed professional like a nurse or a teacher, a complaint of domestic violence can lead to investigation and disciplinary action by the agency that issued the professional license to the accused. A domestic violence conviction can impact those who use guns for their professions. Further, a domestic violence conviction can affect immigration status.

What Happens if You’re Arrested for Domestic Violence?

Often a domestic violence arrest occurs when a couple is fighting. One of the people fighting or a neighbor may call 911 for a variety of reasons; sometimes the calls are not legitimate. The police are dispatched to a home. The police must investigate and guess as to who the primary aggressor is. Studies show that there has been a recent surge in women reported as aggressors in domestic violence cases, but police officers often assume that the aggressor is a man. Photographs are taken of both people and statements are recorded. The police must read a Miranda admonishment to the person who is arrested and advise him or her of the right to a Bay Area domestic violence attorney.

The resulting report is forwarded to the District Attorney who must decide whether to charge the accused based on the police report. Once the process is started, it is unlikely that the charges will be dropped, even if the person complaining of domestic violence changes his or her story or refuses to cooperate with prosecution of the other person. There are a number of pre-trial and evidentiary motions a good Bay Area domestic violence attorney with knowledge of domestic violence cases may be able to bring on behalf of the accused.

If the District Attorney prevails in his or her case, the sentencing phase may include punishments and deterrents such as: jail, mandatory domestic violence counseling sessions, personal conduct orders, stay away orders, temporary restraining orders, and large fines. If alcohol was involved, a judge may require the convicted person to take mandatory alcohol education classes.

The consequences for a domestic violence charge are severe. If obtaining the best possible outcome is important to you, choose an experienced and nonjudgmental Bay Area domestic violence attorney to represent you in these proceedings.

If you or someone you love has been charged with domestic violence, the experienced Bay Area domestic violence attorney at The Law Offices of John T. Bell can help. Call us at (510) 895-4077 for a consultation or contact us online.

Contact Bay Area domestic violence attorney John T. Bell for Consultation

Have been arrested and charged with a crime? Contact Bay Area criminal defense lawyer at The Law Offices of John T. Bell for free consultation. Protect your rights, call us today.

(510) 895-4077


Have you been arrested and charged with a crime? Contact Bay Area criminal defense attorney John T. Bell for expert legal advice needed to solve your legal problem with the court.

Contact us using this form or call (510) 895-4044 and speak with an aggressive advocate who knows how to protect your rights in the court system.