Domestic Violence is a separate category of criminal law that prohibits crimes against family members, or persons who share an intimate relationship. Domestic violence may refer to conduct ranging from excessive discipline of a child, to the murder of a spouse. In the United States alone, there may be upwards of four million cases of domestic violence each year. It’s also a common misconception that women are the only victims of domestic violence or domestic abuse. In fact, some recent research has found that approximately four out of every ten victims of domestic violence in the United States are men, while other studies suggest the percentage of domestic violence victims who are men may be over fifty percent. In California,the penal code sections relating to domestic abuse include 243(e)(1) domestic battery, 243(d) aggravated battery, 368 elder abuse, 273.5 intentional infliction of corporal injury, 273a child endangerment, and 422 criminal threats. This helps to demonstrate the broad assortment of situations which can legally fall into the division of domestic violence.
It is common for people who are arrested for a domestic incident to be confused or shocked by the severity of the charges filed against them by the District Attorney's office. What started as an emotional argument over finances or perceived infidelity, prompting a good intentioned neighbor to phone the police, may result in the filing of a felony "Three Strikes" charge if the accused threatened the other domestic partner with any physical harm. The decision to file such punitive charges rests solely with the assigned prosecutor, and is unlikely to be reviewed or reduced until after the Preliminary Hearing, by which time the accused has suffered the financial cost and anxiety of defending against an overly ambitious felony charge. To complicate matters further, the prosecutor has sole discretion to file any battery resulting in a visible injury, however slight, as a felony. This unbridled discretion also applies to any allegation of physical or emotional harm to a child. It is routine to add a charge of "Child Abuse" if the child was present during the partners' hostilities. These examples illustrate just a few of the ways that a prosecutor can transform an unfortunate, but relatively minor, family event into a family destroying experience.In any specific incident that results in police contact, the responding officer is mandated to arrest at least one of the involved parties if there is any allegation or evidence of physical hostility. The accused is then transported to jail and bail is set at a minimum of $10,000. In addition, the arresting officer, or prosecutor, will likely serve the accused with a court order forcing the accused to leave the family home. This may also include an order for the accused to have no contact with the family. It follows that seeking such a high bail, or leaving the accused partner in jail to lose his or her job, further strains the family budget. . . which is often what initiated the entire event.
Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is extremely important to help you navigate the difficult and unfamiliar process of dealing with an arrest and subsequent prosecution. The right lawyer gives you the best defense against unfounded or excessive charges, gives you a strong voice to resist excessive pre-trial penalties, and gives you an advocate to fight for your rights, your freedom, and your future. Often the right lawyer can help to avoid criminal charges completely, depending on the exact circumstances of your case.In Ventura County, prosecutors are compelled to file any and all legally viable charges against the accused. Unfortunately this may lead to the abandonment of a prosecutor's ethical obligation to seek justice, and result in the robotic and overly zealous prosecution of a family member. Fortunately, the right lawyer can usually help an overly zealous prosecutor understand, or bring to the attention of his or her supervisor, the "big picture." That is, the true nature of the alleged conduct, the appropriate and just resolution of the event, and a refocusing on the ultimate and desired goal of protecting family members, without destroying the family itself. Without the right lawyer the accused may be tempted to plead guilty in an attempt to "Just get it over with" for the benefit of other family members. This may lead to unforeseen and devastating future ramifications such as lengthy jail time, lengthy probation, expensive mandatory counselling, negative impact on employment, and negative presumptions in any future family law matter. Fortunately, juries are keenly aware of charges which are unfounded or not rooted in the reality of the situation. Rather than giving in to an unfounded or overly aggressive prosecution, a well prepared and agressively presented defense can turn a potential conviction into a dismissal or acquittal. Aggressively defending any accusation, and presenting to the court and/or jury the best possible defense, is a defendant's best option. In cases where the evidence may be overwhelming, the right lawyer will ensure that the defendant receives the best possible outcome. Even in a case of clearly criminal conduct, the right lawyer may make the difference between a felony conviction and state prison or a misdemeanor and probation. In short, any criminal charge against you is extremely serious, but a Domestic Violence charge requires additional skill and experience. Our team is here for you. . . Don't risk your future with inferior representation.
Because domestic violence cases inherently involve family, a complex logistical, legal, and personal situation is created for all involved parties. Stay away orders are often implemented preventing the accused party from living at home, and this makes it very difficult to maintain family structure and provide a consistent high quality environment for children. To make the situation more difficult, the accused party may spend a few days in the local jail waiting for charges or for bail, likely leading to complications with their employer. When you also consider the potential for child protection services to get involved, this is a situation which you can’t resolve without an attorney. The law is a language, and an attorney is not only fluent in this language, but also possesses special knowledge of the local legal system and can exercise influence in this system. If you’re involved in a domestic violence or domestic abuse case in Ventura County, hiring an attorney familiar with the local court system, legal personnel, and prosecutors, allows you to navigate your case from a position of strength and authority, giving you the best chance for a favorable outcome.
John Pinnell has 20 years of experience in defense and prosecution related roles, and has the specialized skill and working knowledge of the Ventura legal system to help you get the best possible outcome in your domestic abuse case. Please use the online form to discuss your case.