Redwood City Domestic Violence Lawyer
Accused of Domestic Violence in the Bay Area?
Domestic violence is a serious crime that can encompass several different acts. Many arrests for domestic violence result from a family member, neighbor, or bystander calling the police after witnessing what they believed to be an altercation. Other times, family members and spouses use domestic violence allegations to gain leverage in divorces and child custody settlements. Whatever the case, you need a vital domestic violence lawyer serving Redwood City on your side if you have been arrested.
On This Page:
- California Domestic Violence Laws
- Is Domestic Violence a Misdemeanor or a Felony in California?
- What is the Punishment for Domestic Violence in California?
- How Long Does Domestic Violence Conviction Stay on Your Record in California?
- How to Get Domestic Violence Charges Dropped
California Domestic Violence Laws
In California, domestic violence refers to any crime committed against a person with whom you share a residence. While most commonly thought to involve two people in a relationship, this is not always the case. Domestic violence can also include acts that make someone fear for their safety, even without physical violence.
Domestic violence may involve:
- Physical assault
- Sexual assault
- Assault with a weapon
- Emotional/verbal abuse
- Child abuse/endangerment
Our domestic violence lawyer, Shelley D. Dwyer, provides aggressive and experienced representation for clients accused of these acts serving Redwood City.
Is Domestic Violence a Misdemeanor or a Felony in California?
Many domestic violence can be charged as misdemeanors, but some can be charged as a felony.
Aggravated battery, however, can be charged as a felony. The victim must have sustained a serious injury, such as a broken bone, for a battery charge to be considered aggravated. When deciding on whether the battery will be charged as a felony, the judge will consider the defendant's criminal record, the circumstances of the case, and the severity of the injuries the victim sustained.
What is the Punishment for Domestic Violence in California?
The exact penalties you could face depend on the nature of the alleged acts you are being accused of, as well as your criminal history if you have one.
If you are convicted of felony domestic violence, you could be facing:
- Time in jail or prison
- Community service
- Civil penalties of a felony conviction
How Long Does Domestic Violence Conviction Stay on Your Record in California?
If you were charged with a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, you must wait at least 10 years to get your charge expunged.
Misdemeanor domestic violence cases can be expunged as long as no state prison time was imposed. Felony domestic violence cases can be reduced to a misdemeanor and then expunged. Obtaining an expungement does not reinstate firearms rights. You will lose your firearm rights because of the Lautenberg Amendment which was enacted in 1996. This amendment prohibits firearm ownership of those convicted of even misdemeanor domestic violence. Expungement in California does not lift the federal prohibition. So even if you received a misdemeanor domestic violence 20 years ago, you are not allowed to own a firearm for the rest of your life even if you get the criminal charge expunged or sealed.
How to Get Domestic Violence Charges Dropped
Getting domestic violence charges dropped or dismissed is no easy task. This is why it’s extremely important that you hire a professional criminal defense attorney to represent you. Attorney Shelley Dwyer can help build your case and help you to understand the charges against you.
Some common defenses against domestic violence charges include:
- Self Defense - If you inflicted injury on someone else while defending yourself, you may have grounds to have the domestic violence charges dismissed.
- Accidental - If you accidentally harmed someone during the course of an argument or a heated interaction, you may be able to have your case dropped or have your charges reduced.
- Disproving Alleged Events - If the charges against you are blatantly false, your domestic violence defense lawyer can help disprove the facts that the prosecution is presenting.