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Comprehensive Overview Of Domestic Violence & The Importance Of Legal Representation


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Domestic violence is a serious issue and criminal offense in the state of California. For those accused of domestic violence, having professional representation is imperative in order to navigate the legal intricacies involved in reducing or dismissing your charges. This blog aims to shed light on the various facets of domestic violence charges and the pivotal role that a domestic violence defense attorney plays. Let’s dive in!

Comprehensive Overview Of Domestic Violence & The Importance Of Legal Representation

Understanding Domestic Violence Laws 

The History 

For the majority of states, domestic violence wasn’t considered a crime around 50 years ago. In fact, it wasn’t until the 80s that data and efforts from victim advocates really made the push to help bring victims to safety and hold violent offenders accountable.

Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”). This Act, and the 1996 additions to the Act, recognize that domestic violence is a national crime. Forms of domestic violence include, but are not necessarily limited to the following:

  • Physical abuse – examples include ​​hitting, biting, slapping, shoving, punching, or strangling, or anything else that causes physical harm
  • Sexual abuse – forced, or an attempt to force non-consensual sexual contact or behavior
  • Emotional abuse – degrading verbal attacks or criticism to lower the victim’s self-esteem
  • Economic/financial abuse – abuser controls household finances in a way that makes the victim financially dependent on the abuser
  • Psychological abuse – abuser causes the victim to fear them whether it be through threats of harm to the victim or other family members

Misdemeanor Vs. Felony Domestic Violence 

California Penal Code 273.5 says, “any person who willfully inflict corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition” on a current or former intimate partner can be charged with domestic violence. Whether or not it will be charged as a misdemeanor or felony is mainly based on the specific circumstances.

In any situation, a misdemeanor is considered a less serious crime than a felony. The biggest difference between a misdemeanor and felony domestic violence charge is the intent and time served. For a misdemeanor offense, the accused (if convicted) would spend up to 1 year in a county jail, whereas for a felony offense (someone willfully inflicted hurt/pain) the accused (if convicted) might spend up to 4 years in prison. 

If you’re innocent but have been accused of felony domestic violence, you may be able to use the argument of self-defense, if you…

  • had a reasonable belief that you were in immediate danger of suffering bodily injury,
  • had a reasonable belief that you needed to use immediate force in order to defend yourself against the danger, and
  • only used the amount of force that was necessary to defend yourself against the danger

Three Strikes Law 

California’s “Three Strikes and You’re Out Law,” was signed into effect in 1994. The purpose of the law was to significantly increase the prison sentences of those convicted of felonies who’ve been previously convicted of a violent or serious felony. It also limits their ability to receive a punishment of something other than time in prison. 

In a domestic violence situation, a prosecutor will generally pursue a felony offense if there were injuries to the other party or when there is a history of domestic abuse. This means there is a chance that the domestic violence charge could count as a “strike.” Three strikes can result in 25 years to life in prison. It’s best to work with a domestic violence defense attorney who can help you understand the implications of your actions and explain how best to move forward if the three strikes law applies to your situation!

Knowing Your Rights

If you are accused and arrested for domestic violence in California, you need to be aware of your legal rights. While we both know you have them, they aren’t always upheld by law enforcement. By equipping yourself with this knowledge you can prevent possible violations and ensure that your rights are protected. 

After being arrested in California, your rights are as follows:

  • You have the right to remain silent
  • You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, you have the right to have one appointed to you
  • If you do decide to speak without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop speaking at any time until an attorney is present.

The Role Of An Attorney For Accused Parties

Navigating the intricate landscape of clearing your name can be complex. Having skilled representation on your side can make the difference between freedom and incarceration, as well as other consequences. The role of an attorney for those who’ve been accused of domestic violence is extremely important; they can build a strategic defense strategy and advocate for your best interests. 

A few of the things a domestic violence defense lawyer can do for you include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case
  • Negotiate with prosecution
  • Find and present evidence to support your defense strategy
  • Ensure you get the fair representation you deserve
  • Explain your legal rights and options
  • And more!

How Strongest Defense Can Help You

If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, it’s important to enlist professional representation immediately. At Strongest Defense, our lead domestic violence defense lawyer, David Lehr, can help you fight your charges and avoid conviction and the serious consequences that come with it. He has 28+ years of experience, is trustworthy, and knowledgeable, and is skilled in negotiating for the most favorable outcome on your behalf. He is passionate about advocating for justice and is dedicated to providing personalized attention and support to every client. 

At Strongest Defense, we know how overwhelming it can be to face such a serious charge. The good news is that you don’t have to do it on your own. We are here to handle the legal intricacies of your case while you manage your emotions and focus on rebuilding your life. Allow us to provide the strongest defense. Call now to schedule a free consultation and discover your next steps.