Domestic Violence Penalties

Domestic Violence Penalties

One of the chief concerns shared by those who have been arrested for domestic violence is what potential penalties they are facing. Domestic violence cases include many different offenses ranging from serious felonies to misdemeanors. However, California law has set specific requirements for anyone who has been convicted of a domestic violence offense and there are numerous collateral consequences that the defendant should be aware of.

Domestic Violence and California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC

California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC establishes certain sentencing requirements whenever a defendant is placed on probation for a domestic violence offense. A domestic violence offense is defined as any crime in which the victim falls into one of the categories listed 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 previous or current dating relationship, a person with whom the defendant shares a child, a child of the defendant or “any other person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree.”

Under California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC, certain requirements of probation must be imposed on those who are convicted of a domestic violence offense. This applies regardless of whether the offense involved physical contact, such as corporal injury to a spouse in violation of California Penal Code Section 273.5 PC and spousal battery pursuant to California Penal Code Section 243(e) PC, or is a reduced charge such as disturbing the peace pursuant to California Penal Code Section 415 PC or vandalism in violation of California Penal Code Section 594 PC.

California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC requires that the Court impose a protective order that prohibits contact with the named victim. This can be limited to a “Level One” protective order that allows peaceful contact. The defendant would also be required to complete a batterers’ counselling program, pay a minimum $500 fine and complete an appropriate amount of community service. In addition, a defendant can be required to complete community labor or even jail as a condition of probation. Defendants who are not placed on probation can be sentenced to serve up to a year in jail on a misdemeanor and up to three years in prison for a felony-level offense.

Collateral Consequences of a Domestic Violence Offense

Those who are convicted of a domestic violence offense will be subject to many collateral consequences that can have a devastating effect on their life. Most domestic violence offenses are considered crimes of moral turpitude and a non-U.S. citizen who is convicted can be subject to deportation, exclusion from admission or denial of naturalization.

In addition, a person who is convicted of a domestic violence offense will lose their ability to own or possess firearms for a specified period of time. For misdemeanor defendants, their gun rights would be suspended for ten years. However, United States Federal law supersedes California law and Federal law requires a lifetime firearm suspension for any defendant convicted of a domestic violence offense or who is the subject of a domestic violence restraining order. This means that a California misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence would result in a permanent firearm restriction under Federal law.

Domestic violence convictions can preclude individuals from certain jobs and can result in a license suspension or revocation for those who are required to carry a professional license.

If you or a loved one have been arrested for or charged with domestic violence, it is critical that you discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands the potential penalties and works hard to ensure his clients receive the best defense possible.

For more information about domestic violence penalties, 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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