WE FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS!
Whether your case is a felony or misdemeanor, district attorneys take domestic violence charges very seriously and the consequences for a conviction can be devastating. You face losing your gun rights, your freedom and your ability to see your partner and your children.
LET OUR ATTORNEYS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE IN YOUR CASE
Our lawyers have defended thousands of domestic violence cases over the years and we are proud of our success record. There are numerous defenses that may apply to your case. And, it's possible that you should never have been arrested.
We will support and fight for you during this difficult time in your life. We take a holistic approach to legal services. This means that, in addition to being the best Monterey domestic violence attorneys, we consider the client as a whole person, not just a legal matter to be addressed and forgotten. Our lawyers are focused, compassionate, understanding and ready to guide you through a confusing and complex experience with the legal system.
Simply being accused of domestic violence is often enough to cause the police to arrest you, even without evidence of guilt and even if your partner does not want you prosecuted (read more here). The Crawford Law Firm does not accept this kind of unconstitutional practice! If your constitutional rights to be free from unlawful and unreasonable search and seizure have been violated, we can file a motion with the court to have any unlawfully obtained evidence deemed inadmissible at your trial. A successful motion to suppress can result in a better deal or even a dismissal of your case.
A THOROUGH INVESTIGATION CAN AVOID CHARGES BEING FILED
Our Monterey domestic violence attorneys will immediately gather every report, review video, interview witnesses, collect and take photographs and listen to any 911 calls. This investigation often provides the information we need to get a case dismissed or to convince the district attorney that charges should never be filed against you at all.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES IN CALIFORNIA FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
If convicted of domestic violence in California, you may face jail time, a Criminal Protective Order mandating that you have no contact with the alleged victim in the case, a year of anger management classes, fines, restitution a permanent criminal record and loss of your gun rights. Some domestic violence charges are also deportable offenses so, your immigration status is very important if you are facing these charges.
A criminal conviction can result in deportation if it is a “crime involving moral turpitude” (or CIMT). For immigration purposes, a CIMT is either: (1) any crime involving dishonesty or intent to defraud (such as theft or fraud), or (2) an intent to cause great bodily injury or assault with a deadly weapon. An offense that requires reckless disregard of a known risk of death or serious injury may be a CIMT. However, a crime involving mere recklessness or criminal negligence is not a CIMT.
In domestic violence cases, the two most common charges are Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) (“domestic battery”) and Penal Code Section 273.5 (“corporal injury to spouse or cohabitant”). Generally speaking, a conviction under PC 273.5 is a CIMT and a violation under PC 243(e)(1) is not a CIMT. Typically, the difference between the charges is whether the alleged victim sustained any significant injuries. If you are not sure whether the charges in your case constitute CIMT, you need to speak with a Monterey domestic attorney as soon as possible.
If you are on DACA or are undocumented we have an immigration attorney who works with us to help you resolve your case in the safest way possible.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEFENSE STRATEGIES
If you are accused of domestic violence, you should obtain top-rated legal help immediately. Over the last thirteen years, our lawyers have defended thousands of individuals facing domestic charges.
There are many possible defenses to a Domestic Violence charge, including:
- You were defending yourself. – Self-defense is always a defense to any battery or assault charge (even domestic violence). If you only touched your significant other because you were defending yourself from him or her, then this could be a complete defense to domestic violence charges.
- The police officer failed to properly determine who the dominant aggressor was in the relationship (this is a very important defense that is often missed) - Pursuant to Penal Code Section 13701, police dealing with domestic violence calls are required to make reasonable efforts to determine who the “dominant aggressor” is in the situation. This law states, “the dominant aggressor is the person determined to be the most significant, rather than the first, aggressor. In identifying the dominant aggressor, an officer shall consider the intent of the law to protect victims of domestic violence from continuing abuse, the threats creating fear of physical injury, the history of domestic violence between the persons involved, and whether either person acted in self-defense.” If the police failed to take reasonable efforts to determine whether you were the “dominant aggressor”, this could be used to defend against the charges.
- Your significant other lied in order to have an impact on a family law proceeding. – For example, your significant other may have lied to the police in order to obtain custody of your children or to force you to move out. If your significant other lied to the police, then this could be a strong defense in your case.
- The injuries resulted from an accident. – For example, your accuser may use old scars or bruises against you. It would be a strong defense to show that these scars or bruises were from an old accident (rather than from the alleged abuse).
- The injuries were not the result of your actions. – You can only be convicted of causing injury if the injury was caused by your actions. So, if your accuser's injuries were not caused by your actions, then you cannot be held culpable for those injuries. For example, if your significant other was the aggressor and injured himself or herself while trying to harm you (for example, if he or she punched a wall and broke a hand), then you are not culpable for that injury.
- You were illegally searched or illegally arrested.
WE PROTECT YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
Both the United States Constitution (4th Amendment) and the California Constitution (Article 1, Section 13) guarantee that every person be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If the police violate your constitutional rights by detaining/arresting you unlawfully, or by conducting an unreasonable search of your person or of your things, then any evidence obtained in violation of your rights can be excluded from your trial. If evidence is suppressed, you may be able to negotiate a better deal or have the charges dismissed completely.
The default rule is that the police need a warrant to arrest someone or to search their person or things. However, there are many exceptions to this general rule. If the police are merely detaining you, they only need reasonable suspicion to believe that you have committed a crime. If the police do not have an arrest warrant, they can still arrest you if they have probable cause to believe that you committed a crime. Similarly, the police can search your person without a warrant if you have been lawfully arrested. The police can also search your vehicle if they have probable cause to believe that there is evidence of a crime inside. These are just a few exceptions, and there are many other exceptions as well.
Pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1538.5, you have the right to challenge whether your constitutional rights have been violated. Under this statute, you can seek to suppress any evidence that was taken with or without a warrant if the search was unreasonable (or if the warrant was deficient). If there was no warrant, then the search is presumed to be unreasonable; the prosecutor would have the burden to prove that the search was reasonable. If there was a warrant, then you will have the burden to prove that search was unreasonable.
In a successful motion to suppress, any evidence that was seized or observed during an unreasonable search will be suppressed, or deemed inadmissible, from your trial. Likewise, any derivative evidence (also called “fruit of the poisonous tree”) would be suppressed. For example, if the police unlawfully search your phone and find evidence that you keep a weapon in your vehicle, the weapon would be suppressed as well (even if the police had probable cause to search the vehicle). Likewise, if the police unlawfully arrested you and you said something incriminating while in custody, those statements could be suppressed.]
But, Please do not talk to the police. Everything you say will be used against you and you could, unwittingly, give the police and the district attorney evidence that will hurt your case in court.
FELONY VERSUS MISDEMEANOR CHARGES
If the injuries are severe enough you will be charged with a felony and face two, three or four years in prison unless felony probation is granted.
Generally, in a domestic violence case, it is the severity of the injuries that drives whether or not the case is charged as a felony or misdemeanor. All of same defenses apply and it's important to remember that just because you are charged with a felony that does not mean the case will resolve for a felony or that you will be convicted of any crime whatsoever.
You need legal protection from skilled and caring Salinas domestic violence lawyers if you are facing these consequences.
Call our Monterey domestic violence defense attorneys on your side to protect your rights. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. You can always expect a quick response and honest legal advice from our firm. Call (831) 783-0222 so we can start building your defense now.