San Jose’s Best Domestic Violence Attorneys
Being arrested for domestic violence is enough to completely turn your life upside down. The first few days after a domestic violence arrest are critical in terms of gathering evidence, interviewing potentially helpful witnesses, and preparing a strong defense against the charges. If you are facing domestic violence charges in Santa Clara County, contact our San Jose domestic violence lawyers to ensure that your legal rights are protected.
Why choose VIB Law?
- Aggressive – We take a fierce, client-centered approach to each of our domestic violence cases.
- Proactive – We try to intervene on your behalf with the DA’s office before charges are even filed, unlike other firms that take a “wait and see” approach.
- Specialized – VIB partner Cameron Bowman is a former Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney with years of experience on their Domestic Violence Unit.
- Experienced – Our team of talented defense attorneys have more than 70 years of combined criminal law experience.
- Passionate – We completely dedicate ourselves to protecting the future and freedom of our clients.
- Award Winning – We are one of the Bay Area’s top rated criminal defense firms.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Crimes in California
California’s domestic violence laws carry serious consequences. Below are some of the worst case scenarios for someone arrested for a domestic violence crime. Given the seriousness of these consequences, it only makes sense to get the most experienced, aggressive, and competent criminal defense attorneys on your side as early as possible. Some of the most common consequences associated with domestic violence crimes include:
- Deportation – Many domestic violence crimes are “removable offenses,” meaning you can lose your current legal status in the United States or be deported.
- Loss of Freedom – Any domestic violence felony carries a punishment of up to one year in the county jail or up to three years in state prison. Further, most domestic violence charges are ineligible for alternative jail programs like electronic monitoring or “weekend work” programs.
- Loss of Time – All domestic violence charges carry a mandatory 52 week ‘Conflict & Accountability’ class as part of any probation.
- Loss of Money – Fines of up to $10,000 can also be ordered in some cases.
- Loss of Career – Charges of this type pose extreme risk to your career and financial livelihood.
- Disruption of Household – Unless you are prepared, most judges will order a mandatory “stay away” order at your first court appearance. This order is even made when the parties co-parent a child or live in the same house.
Legal Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges
At VIB Law, our domestic violence lawyers explore every potential defense for our clients. In fact, the first and most important step we take is to fully hear your side of the story. Some of the most common defenses we explore in domestic violence cases include:
People make false allegations of domestic violence all the time. This can be to obtain an advantage in family court, for example, to win custody proceedings if a divorce is pending. People also make false accusations of domestic assault as a form of revenge for some other issue in the relationship, for example, as payback for a discovery of cheating.
We’ll help you locate evidence for the possible motives for a false allegation of domestic violence. We can also help you do a complete background check of the other party to see if they have engaged in these types of false reports in the past. We can even help you locate witnesses who can show evidence of a false allegation so that it can be presented to the DA as part of your defense.
Police officers responding to domestic abuse calls often have to make a snap judgement as to who was the aggressor and who should be arrested. One of the most common things our clients report is that the arresting officer told them they “had to” make an arrest once they saw injuries on one of the parties.
With so much pressure to make an arrest, critical mistakes are often made. These mistakes are compounded when some of the parties involved don’t speak English as their first language. We also see instances where one of the parties withholds the whole story of what violence or injuries they themselves suffered in an attempt to “protect” their partner.
We’ll help you corroborate the fact that any force used was in self-defense by having you document any injuries you received via photographs and medical records and transferring this exculpatory information to the DA before charges are filed.
In the heat of an argument, people are often injured accidentally. We have seen several clients who were wrongly arrested for domestic violence by the police misinterpreting these accidental injuries as evidence of domestic battery.
We can meet with the complaining witness in these cases and provide evidence of how the injury really took place to the DA via a new statement. In some cases, because we are a multi-partner law firm, we can have one partner represent you and another partner represent your injured spouse.
California Domestic Violence Laws
Domestic Violence is a term used under the California Penal Code to describe a wide range of charges that involve the use of physical force or threats of harm against an intimate partner. Although domestic violence crimes often involve a spouse, they can also involve a dating or other intimate relationship. Some of the most common domestic violence charges in California are listed below.
Penal Code 273.5 – Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant
PC 273.5 makes it illegal to inflict a “corporal injury” resulting in a “traumatic condition”. This is the most common domestic violence charge used by police officers.
- A person commits this crime by striking his or her intimate partner in some violent way. PC 273.5 requires causing a visible injury, but this injury can even be a slight one such as swelling or a bruise or a red mark of some type.
- This law can only be charged if the alleged victim is a current or former spouse or current cohabitant or the parent of your child.
- PC 273.5 can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. This is what the law calls a “wobbler”. If you were arrested for a felony, you will typically see a large “F” next to this charge on the Booking Sheet.
- This charge carries a possible maximum punishment of up to one year in the county jail if charged as a misdemeanor and up to three years in state prison if charged as a felony. This charge also carries a mandatory three year probation period, a mandatory one year domestic violence class, and mandatory fines and fees.
Penal Code 243(e)(1) – Domestic Battery
PC 243(e)(1) makes it a misdemeanor crime to inflict force or violence on an intimate partner.
- Again this charge requires that the complaining witness be either your fiance, a cohabitant, the parent of your child, or your current or former spouse or dating partner.
- Unlike Penal Code 273.5, this California domestic violence law does not require a visible injury.
- This is considered a less serious charge and can only be charged as a misdemeanor.
Penal Code 422 – Criminal Threats
PC 422 makes it a crime for anyone to “communicate a threat of serious harm” to someone if (1) they intend to put the person in fear, and (2) they actually do put the person in sustained fear.
- This charge is also a “wobbler”, meaning that it can be charged as a either a misdemeanor or a felony.
- This charge carries a possible maximum punishment of up to a year in the county jail if charged as a misdemeanor and up to three years in state prison if charged as a felony. This charge also carries a mandatory three year probation period, a mandatory one year domestic violence class and mandatory fines and fees.
Safeguard your future. Hire an experienced domestic violence lawyer.
Unfortunately, too many domestic violence attorneys tell new clients that they should adopt a “wait and see” approach, which means they do nothing until the actual court date. And clients often hope that the arrest is just a misunderstanding that will clear up on it’s own, so they also decide the best action is to wait and see. The passive approach is a big mistake. You need a defense attorney now.
By hiring one of our expert attorneys early on in the process, we may be able to present evidence to the DA’s office that was ignored or overlooked by the investigating officer. This early intervention can be critical in terms of whether or not charges are filed. We can meet with you to discuss how best to mitigate your case. We can advise you on issues such as how to gather character letters, whether it is a good idea to take anger management classes or get in couples counseling, and how to prepare for court.
What our domestic violence clients are saying…
“I hired Mr. Cameron Bowman for a complicated DV case. I previously hired another attorney but he did not communicate well with me so I needed another attorney and hired Mr. Bowman. He did a great job on my case and the case was finally dismissed! Mr. Bowman reviewed the facts carefully and spoke to DA couple of times explaining the situation and the facts, ultimately the case was dismissed. Highly recommended! Probably the only attorney you would ever need in your case. Just trust him and he shall get you the best solution.”
“Thanks to Mr. Bowman, I am a relieved person. He is true professional, very experienced and very knowledgeable. Mr. Bowman, was able to talk to the DA and get my case reduced to a much lower charge compared to what I started facing. He understood my situation and understood how those charges will affect my immigration status and was able to help me to reduced charges that will have minimal effect on my status. He believes in bringing a positive change in our lives. He outlined several steps that will help bring a positive outcome in my case. He and his staff are responsive and were able to answer my questions very quickly and precisely. I will refer him to anyone in need for legal representation. I never thought I will ever need legal representation, but when I needed it, several reviews like this one, helped me take the right decision in hiring Cameron Bowman.”
“I am so blessed to have chosen Mr. Cameron Bowman to represent me from several states away. From his first emailed response to the final judgment in my favor, he was both competent and compassionate. He and his staff kept me constantly updated, never downplaying any questions or concerns. His obvious legal skill and outstanding ethics would certainly be an asset of redemption to any case. Thank you could never do enough to express the relief and heartfelt gratitude I feel. I am now able to supersede a very embarrassing and regretfully compounded situation in my past. I would both recommend his services as well as seek his counsel again if the need were to arise. I gleaned more than exoneration, but through him gained priceless knowledge. Sincerely, your grateful client who will never forget this milestone.”
“My dad was arrested due to an incident at a park involving a child and his mother – largely due to misunderstanding of my dad’s condition: Alzheimer’s & dementia. Cameron was very knowledgeable in this area, as well as understanding my dad’s situation. By working with the police department and the DA’s office (numerous phone conversations), he was able to convince them to have the case against my dad “discharged”. Additionally, he has helped to file a petition to “Seal and Destroy Arrest Record”, which recently has been granted by the police department. Cameron was very professional and efficient in handling my dad’s case, with a very positive outcome.”
“I am a professional who was unfortunately faced with the prospect of DV charges. Cameron empathetically listened to my case and why any charges being filed would be devastating to me, my family and my career. He worked professionally and communicated regularly and calmly with me to put together a strategy to try and avoid any charges being filed. Through his hard work with the DDA assigned to the matter and persuasive advocacy, we received notice that the DDA was declining to file charges. I am absolutely thrilled with his representation and highly recommend him to anyone who wants a real professional to handle any matter delicate or otherwise.”
“Cameron is a very strong courtroom attorney. He has great knowledge of the ins and outs of the law from all angles. I felt very secure while in court with him knowing I would be able to get the best possible outcome in my case. He made things comfortable for me as the legal proceedings got prolonged and I found myself with lots of confidence due to his very commanding personality. Cameron was definitely the right attorney for me and my situation and I’m sure he can be for many others in the same need. Lastly I didn’t feel like Cameron is in it to get in to your pocket book as many attorneys are. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for the great job he did for me.”