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Posted on March 11, 2017

Domestic Violence Q&A

Finding yourself arrested for domestic violence is not uncommon in Orange County. Law enforcement is typically mandated to make an arrest when faced with any domestic violence call. Consequently, you will find yourself charged with a serious offense carrying devastating consequences if convicted. To help avoid being formally charged and get an early start in mounting your defense, contact our office for a free consultation to speak an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

What happens at the Initial Court Appearance?

Your first court appearance will be your arraignment. You will be provided a formal copy of your charge sheet and be appointed a public defender if you cannot afford to hire a private attorney. Ordinarily, the government will move to impose a protective order restricting you from contacting the purported victim effective immediately until the case has concluded. Consequently, this will preclude you from contacting, speaking, or being within a certain distance from your accuser. After entering a “not guilty” plea, the case will be continued for a pretrial hearing, typically a month later.

What if the alleged victim wants to “drop the charges”?

The desire of the purported victim “not to press charges” may be helpful, but it’s not a dispositive factor. Instead, the district attorney holds the power to dismiss or continue to pursue criminal charges. Prosecutors are often faced with alleged victim who fail to cooperate with the prosecution. Depending on the evidence, a prosecutor may be able to prove their case without your accuser ever testifying in court.

When should I retain an Attorney?

Retaining an experienced Orange County domestic violence lawyer at the earliest stages of the case is crucial. In an appropriate case, your attorney can contact the prosecuting agency early in an effort to reject the case. An attorney can immediately begin investigating the case and perhaps submit new evidence in your favor to the prosecutor. This ensures the prosecutor considers all the evidence instead of the one-sided story for your accuser. Furthermore, an attorney can submit letters of preservation or serve subpoenas on persons or entities to help preserve critical evidence that can be lost or destroyed with the passage of time.

Types of Domestic Violence Charges

Can I be charged when there is no visible or physical injury?

Most domestic violence charges do not require visible or physical injuries as a prerequisite to be charged. Although it certainly helps the prosecutors case when injuries are photographic, however, it’s not necessary. For instance, domestic battery requires unlawful touching – i.e., pushing, shoving, or rudely grabbing someone’s arm. In addition, stalking or conveying a criminal threat does not require any physical contact.

What is the Punishment for Domestic Violence in California?

Domestic violence is punishable with lifetime consequences. A conviction carries a lifetime ban restricting you from owning or possessing a firearm. Furthermore, a conviction carries the social stigma of always being labeled as a domestic abuser. Additionally, depending on the facts of your case, a conviction could also lead you in having to register as a sex offender for life.

Ordinarily, domestic violence is punishable by a period of probation followed by a yearlong worth of domestic violence counseling, anger management, and community labor. Depending on your prior criminal history or the level of injuries the alleged victim received, you could be facing a length state prison sentence.

Contact Our Office to Schedule a Free Consultation

Just because you have been arrested or charged with domestic violence does not mean you’re guilty. For a free confidential consultation, contact an experienced Orange County domestic violence attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers. We are familiar with all Orange County courts and we can help strategize your defense.

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