Vista Domestic Violence Attorney
Domestic violence is a serious crime to the point where even a false allegation can get you arrested. That’s because in order to ensure all victims are protected, the police generally assume the “victim” is telling the truth and take action against the “abuser.” They do this by nearly always arresting the person they believe to be the aggressor, even against the wishes of the alleged victim. This is why anyone who has been accused of domestic violence should always contact an experienced Vista domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.
I am Vista domestic violence attorney Peter M. Liss. I have been helping clients fight these types of charges for over 35 years and I can help you too. I have personally defended hundreds of individuals after they were arrested and charged with spousal abuse. When you call me, I can guarantee you will receive a free consultation, and top representation for a reasonable fee.
About California’s Domestic Violence Law
Domestic abuse under California law occurs when one person harms someone they are involved in a romantic or sexual relationship with. It is important to recognize that while the law protects those living together in a romantic context, even if they have not had sexual intercourse, roommates are not protected by the law. Additionally, the romantic or sexual involvement must be genuine and not involve financial gain, so a prostitute cannot be considered an intimate partner under by the law. In other words, for someone to be the victim of domestic abuse in California, they must have suffered from the use of violence, or threats of violence, by:
- A spouse (either husband or wife)
- A person they were cohabiting (living) with
- A person who is the other parent of their child
- A person they were romantically or sexually intimate with
- A former spouse, cohabitant, or other person they were formerly intimate with
While many people envision domestic violence as something a man does to a woman, it can also occur in same-sex relationships and in male/female relationships, the woman can also be the abuser and the man can be the victim. If you have been accused of domestic violence, but do not believe your relationship with the alleged victim can be considered a domestic relationship, please discuss the matter with your San Diego domestic violence lawyer as this may serve as part of your defense in this crime.
Aside from physical acts against another person, this crime also takes place when someone is charged with threats of violence, stalking or vandalism (even of shared property) against an intimate partner.
Common Domestic Violence Charges in San Diego
Offenses in the “domestic violence” category include corporal injury to a spouse or inhabitant (California Penal Code section 273.5) and domestic battery (California Penal Code section243(e)(1)), making criminal threats, stalking, aggravated trespassing, threatening phone calls, harassment, damaging a phone line, violating restraining orders and domestic violence vandalism. This is a very serious crime that can affect children and couples in any type of intimate relationship. If children are present during the attack, child endangerment charges can be brought up even if they were not touched during the incident.
When to Contact A Domestic Violence Attorney
Once you are arrested, you should not try to reason with or confront a victim or witness because this may lead to more charges, such as witness or victim intimidation, particularly if a restraining order is already in place. You should instead get in touch with your San Diego domestic violence attorney as soon as possible.
Corporal Injury to a Spouse and Domestic Battery
The two most commonly filed domestic violence charges in San Diego County are corporal injury to a spouse or inhabitant and domestic battery. Corporal injury to a spouse or inhabitant can be a misdemeanor or felony and occurs when someone injures their intimate partner, even if the injury is only minor. Just throwing an object at someone or restraining them in a way that causes injury can qualify.
Domestic battery is always a misdemeanor and is thus less serious than a charge of corporal injury. Domestic battery occurs when someone uses force or violence against their partner. This charge may also be filed if someone was emotionally abusive and threatened to act in a violent manner. The victim does not need to be injured for domestic battery to be filed.
Is Domestic Violence a Felony?
Ultimately, it is up to the District Attorney to decide on the severity of charges filed against you. When the DA chooses to file corporal injury charges, they will also decide whether or not to file the charges as a misdemeanor or felony. While charged under the same statute, there is a big difference between a misdemeanor and felony charge.
If you are brought up on felony charges, the maximum sentence is four years in prison, whereas a misdemeanor carries no more than a one year jail term. As a top San Diego domestic violence lawyer, I can often convince the prosecutor to file these charges as a misdemeanor, rather than a felony. In fact, in some cases, I may be able to convince the District Attorney to drop the charges all together based on the available evidence. In other cases, I may be able to have other charges you may be facing, such as child endangerment, dropped as part of a plea bargain to ensure you serve the minimum sentence for the crimes you are charged with.
Other Consequences of Domestic Violence Convictions
Aside from fines and prison or jail time, in most of these cases, you will likely be forced to take part in mandatory counseling, community service and may be issued a domestic violence restraining order to stay away from the victim. You will also permanently lose your right to bear arms and a conviction will also affect your right to serve in the U.S . Military or as a police officer.
Common Questions About Domestic Violence Charges in San Diego
If you have been arrested or believe your partner may report you for this crime, please call my office today to schedule a free initial consultation. In the meanwhile, here are some of the most common domestic violence crimes FAQ and their answers.
I Was Arrested For Domestic Violence, But The Victim Doesn’t Want to Press Charges. Will I Be Released?
No. Unfortunately, the prosecutors will still often press charges in these cases even if the victim does not want the case to move forward. That is why you should always speak with your defense lawyer as soon as you are involved in a domestic violence case -even if you know your partner won’t press charges. Do not speak to the victim on the phone as this could violate your emergency stay away order (aka restraining order) and leave you facing even more severe charges.
If There Were No Physical Marks on the Victim, Can I Still Be Charged With Domestic Violence?
Yes. These charges can be brought up for pushing, hair pulling and even emotional abuse combined with threats of physical violence. Actions that leave the victim severely injured can result in more serious charges though.
Is there Always a Restraining Order?
When police make a domestic violence arrest, they may issue an emergency restraining order at the request of the alleged victim, which requires the accused abuser to avoid contact with the alleged victim for 7 days. It is up to the victim to file for a temporary restraining order after that period, though in some cases, the Court may still impose a restraining order (Criminal Protective Order) against the victim’s wishes. If the victim does not appear at the arraignment to advocate against it, the court will automatically issue a restraining order on his or her behalf.
If someone obtains a temporary protective order against you, you can fight the permanent restraining order in court with the help of a criminal attorney.
Can I Go Home With a Restraining Order in Place?
When a stay away order is issued, you will need to leave your home (assuming you and the alleged victim live together) for the duration of the order. However, the court will give you an opportunity to enter your home under observation of law enforcement officials in order to retrieve your stuff. This is usually a one-time occurrence and if there are any disputes as to who owns belongings you attempt to take with you, you will not be allowed to take them.
I Have a Restraining Order Against Me, Can I See My Kids?
When it comes to child custody and protective orders, this is something that should be addressed in court when the original order is issued. In some cases, there may be exceptions in the order for you to have temporary contact with the protected party in order for child visitation to occur, but this must be addressed at the hearing. If the restraining order does not specifically allow for you to see your children, you cannot violate it in order to do so.
Some of these cases turn into divorces or child custody battles and the custody issues have to be settled in Family Court. A domestic violence conviction will, however, prevent someone from having custody of their children.
How Can I Avoid Breaking a Restraining Order?
Avoiding someone completely can be difficult, even in a massive county like San Diego, and especially if you live in the same city together. That’s why the court allows you to defend yourself if you have been accused of violating a restraining order. Intent is important in this crime, so if you accidentally showed up somewhere without knowing your ex was there, you are not guilty of violating the restraining order.
That being said, do not be fooled into thinking that the restraining order no longer matters because the alleged victim contacts you. If your ex starts to contact you, you can still be charged with violating a restraining order if you reply or return to your home. If your ex is contacting you, call your defense attorney to discuss bringing this information to the judge as it might be enough to get the stay away order lifted.
How A Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Help You
The Facts About Domestic Battery Arrests
When San Diego police make a domestic violence well check, they almost always make an arrest. When both parties seem at fault, the police will generally arrest one person who they believe to be responsible for more of the violence.
One thing that frequently surprises people is how often the police will actually arrest both people because they believe both parties may be guilty of domestic violence and they cannot determine who was the aggressor. Many people arrested for the crime are particularly surprised because they were the ones who called the police in the first place. If this happened to you, it may add to your defense if you and your attorney decide to argue that you only acted in self defense.
When someone is arrested for domestic violence, the District Attorney often files charges despite the fact that the victim says they do not want to press charges and sometimes even if the victim recants their statement. There does not need to be other witnesses or other evidence beyond what police officers recorded in their report during the time of arrest. Additionally, there do not need to be any substantial injuries, or even any injuries at all.
Contact a Domestic Violence Lawyer Immediately
That is why you need to hire an attorney in San Diego as soon as you have been arrested, even if you believe your partner would never press charges against you. Since the D.A. does reject some San Diego domestic violence cases in San Diego and Vista, you want your side presented as soon as possible before the D.A. makes a filing decision in your case. This is just one way I can help you fight the accusations whether you and your partner are reconciling or in the middle of a messy breakup.
Making Up With Your Partner Doesn’t Solve Your Legal Problems
Even if you and your spouse or other type of partner have reconciled, the case will likely go forward, and you will need a skilled Vista domestic violence attorney to help you. Even if the allegations are false, you may still be charged and forced to defend yourself in court. An attorney experienced with complex domestic battery cases is essential to help you obtain the best results based on both the facts of your case and the applicable law.
The sooner you hire me as your domestic violence defense attorney, the sooner I can begin working on your behalf to have the charges dropped, reduced or to fight the accusations in court or arrange for a plea bargain to minimize your sentence. In some cases, I may contact the District Attorney long before your first court date is scheduled in order to provide statements or other evidence on your behalf to show the charges should be reduced or dropped.
You Can Fight and Win Against These Charges
While many people wonder whether it is really worth trying to fight domestic violence accusations, I can assure you that this is one investment that is absolutely worth it. Convictions for these crimes mostly rely on the testimony of the police, the testimony of the victim and medical records (if either party received treatment). Your attorney in San Diego can show that (in most cases) the police only witnessed the aftermath of the fight and did not see what happened firsthand.
In many cases, each party involved will have drastically different stories and your story may be just as credible, if not more so, than the alleged victim. And while medical records can back up a victim’s claim that they were injured, they can also often backup the defendant’s claim that they were acting in self defense, which can serve as a total criminal defense to these accusations in some cases.
Defenses Against Domestic Violence
There are many different defenses to these allegations and it is up to you and your Vista domestic violence defense lawyer to determine the right course of action for your case based on the specific facts and laws involved in your situation. Some of the most common defenses include:
- Lack of evidence
- False accusations
- Self defense
- Mental incapacity
It’s important to remember that not all defenses apply to all situations and attempting to use the wrong defense could hurt your domestic violence case more than help. This is why it is important to remain silent until you have obtained legal advice from your attorney.
Why Hire Me as Your Domestic Violence Attorney
Prosecutors and police handle domestic violence charges in a drastically different manner than most offenses. Even if the accuser refuses to press charges or immediately takes back their accusations, the police will still make an arrest and the victim does not have the power to stop a prosecution. While the laws allow these actions in order to help protect domestic violence victims who may be afraid of or in love with their abuser, many innocent people are arrested and charged with domestic violence as a result. That is why it is critical you immediately contact a skilled lawyer like myself as soon as you discover you are facing or may soon face a felony or misdemeanor domestic violence charge in San Diego.
As a top attorney in Vista and the rest of San Diego, I can help you no matter what the unique details of your case. This can include advising you to avoid acting in ways that may result in additional charges or add to the evidence against you. I can also help you by:
- Evaluating and help you decide on the best possible defense for your situation
- Interviewing witnesses and police on your behalf
- Negotiating for reduced bail or no bail
- Collecting evidence supporting your defense
- Making court motions on your behalf
- Seeking a reduction of charges against you
- Negotiating a strong plea bargain on your behalf or representing you in trial
- Seeking out the lowest possible sentence or alternative sentencing options such as probation or anger management classes
Offices Conveniently Located in Vista and San Diego
My Vista law firm office is located just across the street from the North County San Diego jail and courthouse. I also have a second office in Carmel Valley, just North of where the 805 and 5 freeways merge. No matter which office you call, I provide a 24 hour answering service, guaranteeing someone will always answer your call. I will respond promptly to your questions and concerns.
35 Years Experience With Affordable Rates
My law degree is from the top-rated University of California, Berkeley Law School and I have over 35 years experience helping fight corporal injury, domestic battery, child abuse and related allegations and I can help you as well. I understand the delicate nature of these cases, which often involve couples and families who wish to stay together.
Call My Law Offices Today For a Free Consultation
I personally handle all cases from start to finish, offer top-rated services at affordable rates and accept all major credit cards. If you have been arrested after an altercation with your spouse or romantic partner, please call my offices at (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation at either one of my offices.