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Domestic violence is a crime that California takes seriously. Domestic violence is a term that applies to a crime against a person who abuses or uses or threatens force against an intimate partner. Domestic disturbances are among the most common reasons for calls to the police. Sometimes, a domestic disturbance review determines that domestic violence likely took place. The police might charge one or both parties with a domestic violence charge. If you are charged with domestic violence you will want to seek guidance from an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

What is the Three-Strike Law in California?

California utilizes a three-strike law for criminal convictions. Under the three-strike law, a person will suffer increasingly severe punishments for each subsequent criminal conviction. The law generally applies to serious or violent  felony crime convictions. A third strike will result in a prison term of 25 years to life if convicted. The law is designed to deter those convicted of serious felony crimes from committing felonies in the future. If you have previous felony convictions, you must vigorously defend a potential third conviction. Domestic violence could qualify as a violent crime in some instances. 

Is Domestic Violence a Misdemeanor or Felony?

In California, domestic violence may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. Prosecutors will review your prior criminal history and other factors to decide whether to charge a particular offense as a misdemeanor or felony. A domestic violence charge which involved corporal injury to a spouse may be a felony. Generally, the prosecutor will pursue felony charges in cases where there are injuries to the other party or when there is a history of domestic abuse. 

A charge of domestic battery, California Penal Code Section 243 (e), is a misdemeanor. The prosecutor will evaluate the details of the case to decide on which charges to bring. 

Three-Strike Crimes

Crimes that are included in the three-strike law are felonies that are considered violent or serious. Violent felonies are defined in California Penal Code 667.5 and serious felonies in Penal Code 1192.7(c). When a defendant uses a firearm in the commission of a crime, it is considered a three-strike crime. If you use a firearm in a domestic violence incident you could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. If the other party was injured in a domestic violence crime, it could be corporal injury to a spouse or with domestic battery. If you already have two previous convictions under the three-strike law, you will face harsh punishments that are enhanced to include a long jail sentence if convicted

Facing domestic violence charges can be frightening, but you do not need to go it alone. A criminal defense attorney with experience handling domestic violence charges will provide the strongest possible defense. It is best to seek help from a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. Contact David Lehr Law today at (805) 477-0070 for a case consultation.