Domestic violence arrests can result in either misdemeanor or felony charges. Ultimately, the decision will fall with the district attorney, who will decide whether to file felony or misdemeanor charges. In some cases, the D.A. may decide not to file any charges at all.
Felony or Misdemeanor Charges?
While domestic violence filed under Penal Code Section 273.5 (the willful infliction of corporal injury) can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor, those charged with the crime will always have to post felony bail. This is because it is up to the prosecutors to choose the severity of the crime, so the decision is not made until after you have been given the opportunity to post bail. If you cannot afford to post bail, your Vista domestic violence defense lawyer may be able to arrange for reduced bail.
Under the new bail reform law that takes effect in October of 2019, domestic violence defendants are not presumptively eligible for automatic release and may be detained until their arraignment.
Sentencing for Domestic Violence
If you are charged with a felony, you will be facing up to four years in prison. Misdemeanor charges carry penalties of up to one year in jail. No matter what charges are brought up against you, you will also face mandatory counseling and may also be subject to a stay away order, commonly referred to as a restraining order.
Aside from prison or jail time and mandatory counseling, all domestic violence offenders automatically lose their gun rights under federal law. This could make you ineligible to join the military and could end your military career if you are already in the service.
These charges are incredibly serious, which is why anyone accused of such actions should immediately contact a Vista domestic violence lawyer like Peter M. Liss.
Defining Domestic Violence Victims
It is important to note that domestic violence does not have to occur between spouses. The victim can be a spouse, ex-spouse, someone you are dating, someone you previously dated, parent of your child, or any other person with a similar romantic or sexual relationship. Cohabitants and previous cohabitants are protected by domestic violence laws only if you had a romantic or sexual relationship together. In some cases, this can complicate the charges if the victim claims you were together but you argue that you maintained a strictly platonic relationship. In these cases, your Vista domestic violence defense attorney may ensure you face only assault or battery charges rather than more serious domestic violence charges.
It’s also worth noting that domestic violence victims are not always female and the defendants in these cases are not always men. Domestic violence laws protect men from women and single-sex couples from one another as well.
Severity of Injuries
The injury need not be permanent or serious. If the victim is injured to any extent, whether an internal or external injury, you can be arrested. That being said, the worse the injuries, the more likely you will face felony charges and if they are sever enough, you could face aggravated charges that will result in additional penalties.
If you have been arrested for this crime, it is imperative that you call an experienced Vista domestic violence attorney as soon as possible. You can fight these charges and win. Peter M. Liss can argue your case to prosecutors even before the matter is brought to court, so please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.