Domestic Violence with Prior Convictions
Since the O.J. Simpson murder trial, courts and law enforcement officers have increased their efforts to ensure that domestic violence laws are enforced and that those convicted of these offenses are punished. When a person has previous domestic violence offenses on their record, the penalties can be significantly more severe. Anyone who has been arrested for or charged with a domestic violence offense and who has prior convictions on their record should immediately speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney experienced in defending these types of cases.How are Suspects with Prior Convictions Treated Differently by the Arresting Officer?
When responding to a domestic violence call, law enforcement officers are trained to separate the parties and take statements from each. They will be looking for any noticeable injuries and will inquire if anyone needs medical treatment. In addition, the officer will typically run one or both of the parties in law enforcement databases to determine whether or not they have prior convictions or active warrants.
While officers are trained to keep an open mind while conducting a criminal investigation, a suspect with prior convictions or even arrests for domestic violence will often be noted by the arresting officers. This is especially true when the alleged victim was also the victim on the previous case. If there is an active domestic violence restraining order prohibiting contact with the victim, the suspect will be likely be arrested and charged with a new offense for violating the order even where there was no violence or physical contact. If the defendant is on probation, he or she can be arrested and held without bail and would appear before the sentencing judge to address the potential probation violation.How do Prosecutors Treat Defendants with Prior Domestic Violence Convictions?
Usually, defendants who are arrested for domestic violence are arrested on suspicion of corporal injury to a spouse in violation of California Penal Code Section 273.5 PC, which can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, or spousal battery pursuant to California Penal Code Section 243(e) PC, which is always a misdemeanor. The case will be referred by a detective to the filing prosecutor who will review the case and determine what charges, if any, to file.
One factor that prosecutors consider is whether or not the defendant has a prior record. The fact that a defendant has a prior conviction for a domestic violence offense may convince a prosecutor to file a “wobbler” as a felony instead of a misdemeanor. If convicted of a felony, the defendant can be sentenced to serve up to three years in prison.Criminal Defense for those with Prior Convictions
It is critical that anyone who has a prior domestic violence conviction or convictions on their record speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. The fact that a defendant has prior convictions can sometimes blind law enforcement officers and prosecutors and prevent them from considering the merits of the case. In many cases, a skilled criminal defense attorney can demonstrate pre-filing why a case should not be charged even where the defendant was on probation for domestic violence or has previous convictions. In other cases, the named victim may consistently lie in order to get the defendant in trouble. In these cases, an effective defense attorney may be able to demonstrate how the named victim is not a reliable witness.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for domestic violence and have previous convictions, it is imperative that you meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Michael Kraut understands how to effectively defend those charged with domestic violence. In many cases, Mr. Kraut’s early involvement in a case has led to charges being rejected or significantly reduced.
For more information about domestic violence with prior convictions, 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.