Domestic Violence cases are filed when violence allegedly occurs between any individuals who are family members, spouses, girlfriend and boyfriend, co-inhabitants, fiancées or a former spouses, girlfriends and boyfriends or co-inhabitants.
Any time the police are called in a domestic dispute, someone will most likely be arrested and it is often the wrong person. Once an arrest occurs, a police report is filed with the District Attorney and it is then up to the District Attorney’s office to determine whether or not criminal charges will be filed. It is not up to the individual or alleged victim to “drop the charges.” The only one with the ability to drop charges is the district attorney. Unfortunately, because many domestic violence victims recant out of fear of retaliation or remorse, the district attorney’s office will not generally listen when an alleged victim comes to them after the fact and says that nothing happened.
The punishment for domestic violence offenses involves a 52 week “batterer’s treatment program”, fines and community service. Additional punishment may be required by the district attorney or court depending on the seriousness of the offense. This punishment can also include jail time, especially if there are visible or significant injuries involved.
There can be many other consequences of domestic violence charges. Domestic violence charges can affect someone’s immigration status. It can affect professional licenses. It can affect custody battles.
Domestic Violence charges can be filed over what seems like the simplest things and they can turn your life upside down. Let’s say you get into an argument with your spouse or partner. Things get a little heated. Your spouse goes to pick up the phone but you want her attention so you grab the phone out of her hand and throw it. She gets mad and calls the police. Once the police arrive they are going to arrest someone even if you tell them it’s nothing. You could be charged with spousal battery for grabbing the phone, vandalism for throwing the phone and child endangerment or neglect if children are present.
How is it possible that something as simple as grabbing a phone out of your wife’s hand could have life changing consequences?
Many times charges are filed against the innocent party as well. It is quite common for a victim to be arrested.
One of my clients was repeatedly beaten by her boyfriend. One night it got out of hand. He was sitting on top of her with his hands around her neck. Her only defense was to scratch him on the back with her nails. He called the police and she was arrested for domestic violence because of the scratch marks on his back even though she desperately tried to convince the police that he was attacking her and she was only trying to defend herself. The client was forced to leave her home with her son. They had no place to go. I was able to have the case dismissed but not without tremendous hardship to my lovely client.
Another client got into an argument with her husband. She ran down the hall to get away from him and slammed the bedroom door. He jammed his foot in the door to prevent her from closing it and received a scratch on his leg. They had two young girls and when one of them heard her parents arguing she called the police to ask for help. My client was arrested because of the scratch on her husband’s leg. Because the children got involved, she was not only charged with spousal battery but also child endangerment. A restraining order was issued so she was forced from her home and could not see or even speak to her daughters. This client was a dentist so she also faced administrative proceedings with the dental board. I was able to get this case dismissed but only after great heartache and hardship on this incredible woman.
There was another woman who had been repeatedly beaten by her husband. One day she threw a candle at the wall near him out of frustration and fear. He called the police and she was arrested. It was only after showing the district attorney photos of my client’s bruises that the district attorney finally dismissed the case.
Domestic violence cases can be very difficult emotionally and in many other ways. That is why it is important to have a compassionate and experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you during this process.
Ms. Bass is extremely compassionate and has a tremendous amount of experience with these cases. She has also had incredible results for her clients. Most recently a domestic violence client was charged with criminal threats against his girlfriend and brandishing a firearm. He had two prior serious and violent felony convictions so he was facing life in prison under the California three strikes law. Ms. Bass had his case dismissed. With the right attorney you will be given the correct advice and you will receive the right result.
If you are facing domestic violence charges it is critical that you contact Ms. Bass immediately.