Domestic Violence and Sentence Modifications in Los Angeles

Domestic Violence and Sentence Modifications

Defendants who are convicted of domestic violence crimes are expected to adhere to the terms and condition of their sentence and to not violate probation. Often in domestic violence cases, the sentence includes the issuance of a protective order that prevents any contact between the defendant and the named victim. During the period of probation, circumstances may change and the defendant may need to have certain terms of his or her grant of probation modified. In these cases, the Court may consider a sentence modification. Anyone considering a sentence modification should first consult with a defense attorney experienced in handling these types of requests and should avoid going into court by him or herself.

Sentence Modification and the Protective Order

In domestic violence cases, requesting a termination of the protective order is one of the most common post-conviction modification requests. Couples may make up and decide to move forward with their relationship after a domestic violence incident. In many cases, the named victim is the party who wants the protective order to be terminated.

Defendants should have a protective order formally terminated or reduced and should not simply ignore the order. Even where the protected person wants contact, if the defendant is found to be in violation of an active protective order, he or she can face a probation violation as well as new criminal charges.

Before terminating a protective order or reducing it to a “Level One” protective order that allows peaceful contact, the Court will almost always want to hear directly from the named victim. This person will usually have to come to court to personally tell the judge that there is no longer a danger and that he or she wants the protective order lifted.

Even when the named victim requests that the protective order be terminated, the judge may not automatically grant this request. The judge may want to see the defendant complete a certain number of domestic violence counseling sessions before lifting the protective order. In addition, the prosecution may insist that a protective order remain in effect, especially when there is a history of domestic violence between the parties.

The judge may be willing to modify a protective order, especially where there are children and some level of contact is required.

Early Termination of Probation

When a defendant is placed on probation, he or she is expected to comply with the terms and conditions of probation for a specified period of time. In some cases, the defendant may have a compelling reason to terminate probation early. A defendant’s conviction and probationary status may threaten his or her employment or may have triggered other collateral consequences. The Court may consider an early termination of probation and expungement motion. If the defendant had been convicted of a felony-level domestic violence crime, the Court may also reduce the offense to a misdemeanor.

The Court will usually only consider an early termination motion where the defendant has completed all the terms of probation and has had no violations. This would include completion of the 52-week batterers counseling program that is typically required for defendants who have been convicted of domestic violence.

If you or a loved one have been convicted of a domestic violence crime and want more information about sentencing modification, it is crucial that you discuss your specific situation with an attorney experienced in handling these types of requests. Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who is highly respected by judges, prosecutors and law enforcement throughout the court system. Mr. Kraut understands the often immediate need for sentence modifications and fights hard on behalf of his clients.

For more information about domestic violence and sentence modifications, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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