Domestic Violence and Penal Code Section 1203.097

Domestic Violence and Penal CodeIn the past, domestic violence crimes were not treated as seriously as they are today. After a series of high-profile domestic violence cases, including the O.J. Simpson trial, prosecutors, courts and legislators moved to enhance enforcement of domestic violence laws and increase penalties on those convicted of domestic violence. For many crimes, the sentencing judge has a great deal of discretion in regards to the sentence that is imposed. However, the California legislature has enacted laws that limit a judge’s discretion in regards to domestic violence sentencing. Under California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC, any domestic violence grant of probation must include specific terms and conditions.

When Does California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC apply?

The requirements of California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC apply whenever the victim of a crime falls into one of the categories specified in California Family Code Section 6211 FC. This includes a spouse or former spouse, a cohabitant or former cohabitant, a person with whom the defendant has a current or former dating relationship, a person with whom the defendant has a child, a child of the defendant or a close blood relative.

California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC is not limited to crimes where there is actual physical abuse or harm. Anytime there is a “victim” and that person is one of the classes described in California Family Code Section 6211 FC the sentencing provisions of California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC apply. Courts have held that California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC applies even to crimes such as vandalism under California Penal Code Section 594 PC and disturbing the peace under California Penal Code Section 415 PC where the “victim” is a person who has a domestic relationship with the defendant. California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC would not apply to defendants who are convicted of disturbing the peace as an infraction, as the statute only applies to defendants who are placed on probation.

What Does California Penal Code Section 1203.097 Require?

When the victim of a crime is a person included in California Family Code Section 6211 FC, the following mandatory terms and conditions must be enforced by the sentencing judge if the defendant is placed on probation. The defendant must be placed on probation for a minimum of 36 months. The Court must order a criminal protective order that protects the victim from further acts of violence, threats, stalking, sexual abuse or harassment. The Court may agree to a “Level One” protective order that allows for peaceful contact between the parties. The defendant must pay a minimum $500 fine plus penalties and assessments. In addition, the defendant would be required to complete a 52-week batterer’s program with periodic progress dates.

How is California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC Enforced?

Typically, a person who is convicted of a misdemeanor-level domestic violence offense will be placed on summary probation and will not be actively monitored by probation. To ensure compliance with the terms of probation, the Court may set progress dates for the defendant to show proof of progress in the batterer’s class or any other condition of probation. If the defendant does not comply with probation, the defendant may face a probation violation which can result in additional jail time or other penalties.

If you or a loved one have been arrested or charged with a crime involving domestic violence and want more information about California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC, it is imperative that you discuss your case with a skilled domestic violence attorney right away. Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands how to effectively defend clients charged with domestic violence crimes.

For more information about domestic violence and California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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