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Domestic Violence Charges Defense in California

How these cases happen

Domestic violence charges most often begin with one individual calling the police, usually during the heat of an argument.  What most people do not understand is that when the police come out, if there is ANY allegation of physical contact, no matter how slight, police almost always make an arrest, even if there is little or no injury.  What is worse is that once the police make an arrest, it is no longer up to the “reporting party” to “press” charges.  Even if the reporting party were to go to police the very next day and say that she/he lied and that all or part of her/his statement to police was a lie, it is likely that the case will go forward and the person arrested will have to answer charges in court.  This is where an experienced criminal defense attorney can be invaluable.  At The Fox Legal Group, we have handled many of these cases, from minor misdemeanors to felonies involving serious bodily injury.  We understand that once charges are filed, prosecutors are extremely reluctant to “drop” or dismiss the case.  However, the sooner you call us, the sooner we can begin negotiations with the prosecution to NOT FILE CHARGES AT ALL, which could save you and your family from the stress, cost and interpersonal consequences of having to endure a domestic violence prosecution. 

After charges have been filed

If charges have already been filed, then you must hire an experienced attorney right away.  The courts and the laws are skewed in favor of the police and prosecutors.  Only the most experienced domestic violence defense attorneys can navigate the complexities that are coming next. 

California Domestic Violence Lawyer

Spousal abuse and child abuse are among the most common reported acts of domestic violence.  There is a designated domestic violence unit that is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting individuals who are alleged abusers.  If you are convicted, you could face either misdemeanor or felony charges, depending upon the circumstances of the alleged abuse.  If the abuse involved no injury or little injury, it could result in a misdemeanor charge.  If there is any significant or serious injury, you could easily face a felony charge.

What are the maximum potential consequences for domestic violence charges?

Misdemeanor domestic violence charges can result in the following punishments:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Counseling program (52 weeks)
  • Community service
  • Restraining order
  • Fines
  • restrictions on your right to own/possess firearms
Felony domestic violence charges can result in the following punishments
  • Up to 5 years in prison or up to one year in county jail (if felony probation is granted)
  • 4 years felony “formal” probation
  • Counseling program (52 weeks)
  • Community service
  • Restraining order
  • Fines
  • severe restrictions on your right to own/possess firearms


  • Make sure you are not violating any restraining orders.  Often, when an arrest is made, police will talk the reporting party into signing a “protective order,” which is actually a restraining order.  You should be served with this and informed of its existence, but, of  course, procedures are not always followed and/or details such as this are forgotten given the stress of the moment.  Nonetheless, the protective order can either be a “no contact” or “no negative contact” order.  If it is a no contact order, then you must not contact the reporting party in any way, not even through a friend, which will be extremely difficult to resist, as human nature is to want to “work things out” with our significant other.  However, with a no contact order, any contact can result in new charges, some of them potentially severe, so it is extremely important that you retain an attorney.  Your attorney can legally talk to the reporting party for you, including giving her/him instructions on how to drop the protective order.  If you were to attempt this without using an attorney in a “no contact” order situation, you could be charged with a felony, and one that is a “strike” under California’s 3-strikes law.
  • Do not talk to authorities.  Most people have heard “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”  That is not a true statement.  In actuality, EVERYTHING you say WILL be used against you in a court of law.  No matter what you say, even if you think you are helping your case, the lawyers who work for the prosecution will take your statements and twist them in a way that will help their case.  Even if you were to say something as simple as “I didn’t do it,” that statement would turn into “He refuses to take responsibility for his actions;” or “He is outright lying to the authorities because the evidence shows that he did do it.”  Don’t make this mistake, which so many people in this situation do.  Call an experienced attorney right away.  We can speak for you.  We can tell the prosecution anything you want us to tell them.  And unlike statements you make yourself, nothing your attorney says can ever be used against you!
  • Hire an attorney. An experienced attorney can not only advise and prepare you based on the unique circumstances of your case, but may, after getting to know you and your circumstances, persuade the prosecutor’s office to not file any charges at all. 
  • Once charges have been filed, do not expect the prosecutor to “dismiss” the case simply because the alleged victim decides not to “press” charges.  Once charges are filed, the case becomes the prosecutor’s, not the alleged victim’s.  Most of the time, the case will continue, sometimes all the way through trial, even if the alleged victim is on “your” side.  Only an experienced attorney can talk to the prosecutor and explain the particulars of your case and why it is one that should not be prosecuted like all the others. 
If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense in California, please contact a California Domestic Violence Attorney at The Fox Legal Group today.
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