When most people imagine domestic violence, they envision a man striking his wife, usually across the face. But not only can domestic violence occur between unmarried couples, same sex couples or be instigated by a woman, it also can occur without the victim suffering any injuries at all. In fact, domestic violence vandalism charges are some of the most commonly filed types of domestic abuse charges.
Domestic Violence Vandalism Charges
Any time someone damages property that belongs to someone else they have committed vandalism. When vandalism is committed by a spouse, co-parent, sexual partner, romantic partner or an ex-partner, it is considered a form of domestic violence. While domestic violence vandalism charges are still vandalism charges, because they occur between domestic partners, there are mandatory penalties.
You cannot normally be charged with vandalism for destroying your own property, but this can be a messy problem in domestic violence vandalism cases as joint property still counts as someone else’s property. In other words, if your domestic violence defense lawyer can show the vandalized property is yours and yours alone, the charges will be dropped, but if it’s community property or your partner’s, you can face domestic violence vandalism charges.
It’s worth mentioning that the prosecution must not only be able to prove that the property was at least in part owned by the alleged victim, but also that the defendant intentionally damaged the property. If you accidentally damaged your partner’s most precious possession, you wouldn’t be guilty of domestic violence vandalism no matter how upset your partner was.
Mandatory Minimum Penalties
The minimum penalties for misdemeanor domestic violence vandalism charges include a 3 year probationary period, fines, community service, a year long batterer’s class and a restraining order. Additionally, those convicted will be required to pay restitution for the resulting damages of his or her actions. There is also a mandatory firearm relinquishment rule for any type of domestic violence conviction and this firearm restriction will be in effect for the rest of an offender’s life.
The community service hours and restraining order (Criminal Protective Order) can be removed by the judge and or District Attorney. Often the negotiated settlement includes a “no negative contact provision” meaning while a restraining order does exist, it allows the defendant and victim to be together so long as there is no hostile contact.
Your defense lawyer may be able to arrange for a diversion program for ordinary vandalism charges, but this option is not available if the victim is one of the protected classes defined in California’s domestic violence laws as it falls under the scope of domestic violence vandalism charges.
Call a Lawyer ASAP
If you are facing domestic violence vandalism charges, call Peter M. Liss. His is office located right across the street from the San Diego North County courthouse and jail and you can schedule a free initial consultation by (760) 643-4050.
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