If you are arrested for a domestic violence charge, time is of the essence. The first few days after an arrest can be critical in terms of gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses and preparing a defense. At VIB Law, we take an aggressive, proactive approach to these cases and can sometimes even intervene with the DA’s office before charges are filed.
VIB Law has the experience, resources and legal knowledge necessary to defend you against even the most serious domestic violence charges. Our San Jose domestic violence lawyers bring more than 70 years of combined experience to work for you in defending these accusations. In fact, VIB partner Cameron Bowman is a former Deputy District Attorney who spent several years trying cases while on the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s domestic violence unit. Since that time he has continued to specialize in domestic violence cases and is an expert in this area.
Defending You Against Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence is the term used to describe a wide range of charges under the California Penal Code. These charges make it illegal to use physical force or to communicate threats of harm against an intimate partner. Although these charges often involve a spouse or significant other, they can also involve an ex-husband, ex-wife, child or other relative. Even a roommate can be considered an intimate partner as a “cohabitant.”
At the Law Offices of Valencia, Ippolito & Bowman, . Our team includes former criminal prosecutors. This means we know firsthand how our opponents build their domestic violence cases. We know their tactics, and we have the experience to defend you against them.
Accusations of domestic violence are taken very seriously by San Jose law enforcement officers and prosecutors. You need an experienced San Jose domestic violence lawyer to protect your rights. Call now for a free and confidential consultation with an experienced California defense lawyer: 877-766-5245.
Our law firm has defended hundreds of clients accused of domestic violence and we have won numerous awards including being named Criminal Defense Firm of the Year by San Jose Magazine.
California Domestic Violence Laws
There are a number of reasons people may make false allegations of domestic violence. The accuser may make a false allegation of domestic abuse out of anger or jealousy, or perhaps because he or she thinks the accusations may yield benefits in divorce or child custody proceedings. Police may also misinterpret an accident as an incident of domestic battery. Finally, charges may arise when the police mistakenly believe the wrong party is the aggressor. Our attorneys know all the ins and outs of these cases. They know how important it is to carefully investigate these cases in order to see all the facts come to light.
Our domestic violence attorneys defend against all domestic violence crimes, including:
- Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant (PC 273.5)
- Domestic Battery (PC 243(e)(1))
- Criminal Threats (PC 422)
- Child Abuse (PC 273d)
- Child Endangerment (PC 273a)
- Elder Abuse (PC 368)
- Witness testimony or representation of spouses
- Defenses to domestic violence restraining orders
These crimes are made more complicated by restraining orders, which can have serious and life-changing repercussions on their own. We fight criminal charges as well as these orders.
What are the most common domestic violence charges? What do these Penal Code numbers on my “Booking Sheet” mean?
When a person is arrested for a domestic violence charge, he or she will receive a “Booking Sheet” when they are released. This paper is very useful and you should bring this (as well as any other important paperwork) with you to your first consultation with us.
The “Booking Sheet” lists the Penal Code sections or charges of the actual arrest.
Some of the most common domestic violence charges you might have been arrested for are:
Penal Code Section 273.5 – “Corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant.” This is the most common domestic violence charge used by police officers. Penal Code 273.5 makes it illegal to inflict a “corporal injury” resulting in a “traumatic condition.”
A person commits this crime by striking his or her intimate partner in some violent way. Penal Code Section 273.5 requires causing a visible injury, but this injury can even a be a slight one such as swelling or a bruise or a red mark of some type.
This California domestic violence law can only be charged if the alleged victim is a current or former spouse or current cohabitant or the parent of your child.
Penal Code Section 273.5 can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. That 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.”
Penal Code Section 243(e) (1) – “Domestic Battery.” – Penal Code 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 fiancè, 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 Section 422 – ” Criminal Threats” – Penal Code 422 makes it a crime for anyone to, “communicate a threat of serious harm” to someone if (1) you intend to put the person in fear, and (2) you actually do put the person in sustained fear.
Penal Code Section 422 is also a “Wobbler.” That means that the “Criminal Threats” charge may be charged as a either a misdemeanor or a felony.
But what if Felony or Misdemeanor charges are filed by the DA? Am I automatically going to jail? What is my worst case scenario?
People sometimes become discouraged or feel the situation is helpless once they are arrested. This is especially true if charges are filed by the DA’s office.
At VIB Law, we feel that every case can be defended or negotiated. Some of the most common defenses we explore for are clients in these types of cases are:
Mistaken Identity-Sometimes victims misidentify people. We had a sexual assault case where the child accused our client of sexually assaulting her. While he was in custody, she pointed out a different person. This, along with our investigation of the neighbors, led to a dismissal.
Consent– In many, “Date Rape” cases, the issue of consent is crucial. In some cases, the alleged victim may feel ashamed or embarrassed for engaging in sexual behavior with someone who is not their significant other. They then say they were raped so they will not be blamed. Normally after requesting text messages and photos, we are able to establish a prior relationship that shows that the sexual encounter was consensual.
False allegations – At VIB Law we recognize that people can and do make false allegations. This can be to obtain an advantage in family court or child custody proceedings or just as revenge for some issue in the relationship (cheating etc.)
Part of your initial consultation is spent exploring potential defenses for your case. We also will lay out other ways that we may be able to negotiate a reduce on your case even if these defenses are not available to you.
What are the most common defenses you use to “beat” a wrongful accusation of domestic violence?
At VIB LAW we explore every potential defense. One of our first steps is to hear YOUR side of the story. Clients will often tell us that the officer told them “I have to arrest someone” before making their arrest. Or they will tell us no one really heard their side of what happened.
By hiring a domestic violence attorney early in the process, we may be able to present evidence to the DA’s office that was ignored or missed by the investigating officer.
This early intervention can be critical. Remember, the charges that you were arrested for are not necessarily the charges that the DA will file. For example, many times police agencies will select one of the more serious domestic violence charge (A Felony violation of Penal Code Section 273.5 “Domestic Violence”) in order to ensure high bail and because legally it is easiest for them to do.
However, under the right circumstances we may be able to convince the DA that a less serious misdemeanor is more appropriate or even convince the DA that criminal charges should be dropped.