There are few cases more traumatizing to a family than a domestic violence case. Arrest is mandatory in all domestic violence cases, with a minimum $25,000 to $50,000 bail (depending on the county), and it is a felony.
“Damage control” is crucial in domestic violence cases. Mr. Ross will work to dissolve the mandatory emergency protective order in cases where the cooperation of the victim can be obtained.
It takes only a “minor or serious injury”* (in short, almost any injury by any physical force to the victim, however slight) to give rise to a criminal charge of domestic violence.
The arrestee is also issued a “stay away” order also known as an “emergency protective order” by the police and/or the court requiring that the defendant not contact or go near the alleged victim. This is mandatory, no matter the seriousness of the injuries. This usually results in the accused being kicked out of the house.
A conviction can affect the rest of your life.
Unlike convictions for most other types of criminal offenses, a conviction for Domestic Violence may result in additional consequences on top of the punishment for the charge itself.
IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES. For any non-citizen, the most serious consequence for a Domestic Violence conviction – in ether felony or misdemeanor cased – is removal and permanent exclusion from the United States. While this dire consequence of a Domestic Violence conviction for a non-citizen is supposed to be mentioned by the court when it takes a defendant’s plea of guilty, it is passed over so quickly that the nervous defendant easily misses it. It is vital for a non-citizen to understand that a state Domestic Violence conviction will trigger additional federal immigration proceedings and result in a mandatory removal and exclusion from the United States. This immigration penalty may be imposed even if the no-citizen pleads to a so-called “lesser charge” than the Domestic Violence. The non-citizen may thus be more compelled than a U.S. Citizen to take the Domestic Violence case to trial on the chance that he or she may beat the charge. Thus, the stakes in a Domestic Violence case are infinitely higher indeed for the non-citizen.
EMPLOYMENT CONSEQUENCES. Employment, both current and prospective, is another area in which a conviction for a Domestic Violence may have catastrophic consequences. A Domestic Violence conviction may result in the denial of future employment, or it may result in the dismissal from one’s current job, despite an otherwise excellent work history. The reason for this is the increasingly tighter oversight of employees and job applicants is the increased background requirements by insurance companies and law firms representing employers. The alarming upswing of violence in the workplace is well known to anyone following the news, and more and more employers are requiring a detailed background check for all employees. A Domestic Violence conviction is considered a “red flag” to insurance carriers and employers, indicating a possible propensity for violence in the workplace. Thus, a person charged with a Domestic Violence may need to obtain an acquittal of the charges at trial, not only to avoid criminal penalties, but also to escape the consequences of losing a job (or being unable to obtain a new job).
FIREARMS. A person convicted of Domestic Violence will be prevented by both California and federal law from owning or possessing any firearms – even in a misdemeanor case. This consequence is especially dire in the cases of those who are in law enforcement and required to possess a firearm as a requirement of the job.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS. There are few things more humiliating than a conviction for Domestic Violence. Friends, co-workers, and family members may have a variety of reactions to such a conviction, none of which will be positive. Loved ones will share and suffer the same embarrassment as the defendant, and such a conviction may mar priceless relationships forever.
CONCLUSION. You and your legal counsel should discuss all possible consequences in a Domestic Violence case before deciding what is best for you. The first priority is to avoid jail, but as set forth in the brief summary above, there are other considerations that must be addressed in this most serious of criminal charges.
With proper preparation and handling of your case, the charges may ultimately be reduced to a misdemeanor, or even dismissed. And, through remedial and rehabilitation classes, the family may be reunited in a safe environment.
Bail can usually be reduced to a mere fraction of the “bail schedule” amount. The person arrested may even be released on his or her own recognizance, eliminating posting bail altogether. Quick enrollment in appropriate classes, in many cases, can have an very positive effect on the outcome of the case.
Please call me, criminal defense attorney Michael Ross, to discuss in further detail on how this extremely sensitive type of case can best be handled.
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(*Section 273.5 of the California Penal Code)