SAN DIEGO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Attorney
Domestic Violence Services Available in English & Russian
Being accused of domestic violence can make you feel like your world is coming undone. A charge may be enough to prevent you from seeing your kids or lead to a series of restraining orders. While assault and battery charges are serious under California law, violence against someone you live with is often viewed as a more severe offense. Therefore, domestic violence cases are often complex and may involve a history of trouble. Our defense team at the Law Office of George Gedulin has more than 30 years of combined experience.
If you are facing domestic abuse charges, contact us to discuss defense options with a San Diego domestic violence attorney!
Types of Domestic Violence
In the state of California, many different crimes fall under the banner of domestic violence. Injuring a spouse, child, or cohabitant in a violent way is considered a criminal act. Even if you grabbed someone’s arm too hard during an argument, you could be charged with domestic violence.
The following are also considered criminal offenses:
If you cause physical harm or threaten to harm anyone in the household, you could face an uphill battle of domestic violence charges that could change your life forever. It is important to have an experienced, knowledgeable San Diego domestic violence lawyer to fight for your rights and help bring to light the misconceptions of domestic violence that people may have.
False Domestic Violence accusations in CA
What should I do if I am falsely accused? Domestic violence is not the right answer to settling a conflict, but unfortunately, in many cases, the situation can be exaggerated, misunderstood, or entirely made up. Spouses, roommates, and others in domestic partners may use criminal charges as an unfair way to get back at someone.
Especially in cases where it is one person’s word against another’s, along with false testimony in court, these cases can lead to false imprisonment and forever change a person’s life.
Every domestic violence situation deserves extensive scrutiny, but unfortunately, prosecutors are typically so interested in gaining a conviction that they may overlook important pieces of evidence. The accusers’ character and history and the circumstances at the time of the dispute will all play a major role in whether or not a defendant is convicted. Learn what to do if accused or how to defend yourself against these domestic violence accusations with the help of our San Diego domestic violence attorney.
What to Do After a Domestic Violence Arrest in California
Anyone who has been in a domestic violence situation knows that when police are called its likely someone will be arrested. The police who come out may be city police or sheriff’s department depending on where you live.
Usually, police will separate the parties involved and make sure that any children in the home are safe. If there has been any violence or threats of violence police will take statements and photos of the scene. There is often a difficult choice for police who have a situation where both parties were being violent or threatening violence. Often it’s not the person who called the police that gets arrested for domestic violence.
Following an arrest, the arresting officers must compile a report of the incident with statements from all parties. These statements along with photo’s of the scene and any injuries will go into an incident and arrest report.
This report is crucial in determining how a domestic violence case will proceed. Statements from a victim and the person arrested are often filled with inaccuracies and misstatements due to the contentious nature of the event.
A defendant has no input into what will go into the officer’s report before it is sent to the prosecution. Once in the hands of a prosecutor, it is their job to decide if formal criminal charges should be filed.
Professional investigators can often be the difference in having a case that is dismissed or even obtaining a dismissal at trial. Evidence of domestic violence and initial statements made to police can be devastating to a defendant. Having experts who seek information early in the process can save a case that otherwise would be impossible to bring to a jury.
Domestic Violence Doesn't Just Happen to Women
One perpetuating myth about domestic violence is that women are the only victims. This common misconception is damaging in a variety of ways. It can discourage male victims of domestic abuse from speaking out and trivialize their suffering. While statistically women are victims of domestic abuse more often than men, this should not diminish the fact that men are victims as well. Men have as much right as women to come forward, report domestic violence, and seek retribution.
Social Stigma Behind Domestic Violence
Throughout history, the media has largely portrayed domestic violence as an act by men against women. Male victims of domestic violence have largely been ignored or unrecognized. The common stigma is that even if a woman abuses a man, he should be “tough” or “strong” enough to withstand the mistreatment without complaint. Therefore, men are less likely to report domestic abuse than women due to embarrassment, lack of supportive services, and fear of ridicule. Women, on the other hand, do not have these restrictions since there is ongoing advocacy against male domestic abuse, including shelters and support groups.
Female abusers are a taboo subject with a marked lack of recognition in society. However, a study by the British Psychological Society found that women are widely more aggressive partners than men. The study asserts that women are more likely to be “intimate terrorists” than men or more physically aggressive. This is an extreme form of controlling behavior in a relationship that involves threats, violence, and intimidation. Other studies find that women demonstrate a desire to control their partners more than men.
While there is a higher prevalence of controlling behaviors in women, there is no difference between men and women when it comes to control and aggression. Violence to men from women may cause less physical harm than the opposite due to size differences, but this should not trivialize the abuse that many men suffer from female partners. As more research sheds light on the existence of female abusers and male domestic violence victims, the social stigma that men cannot be victims may begin to fall away.
Men may also be victims of domestic violence from people other than their female partners. Males can face abuse from other family members or in same-sex relationships. Same-sex relationships are no less violent than heterosexual ones. Men involved in abusive same-sex relationships may be afraid to come forward for fear of retaliation. Women may be somewhat less likely than men to abuse their partners, but the gender gap is much smaller than society believes and acknowledges.
Affects of Domestic Violence on Men
Many people mistakenly believe that women cannot truly cause physical harm to their male partners. However, women may use knives, guns, or boiling water to injure their male partners in domestic abuse cases to make up for size or strength differences. Physical violence in any situation can cause serious and even fatal injuries. Men make up about 30% of intimate homicide victims.
Physical abuse is not the only form of harm men can suffer. Just like women, men can face emotional, mental, and psychological turmoil from an abusive partner. An abusive woman can inflict psychological abuse through constant criticism of her partner, abrasive language, and mental violence. Men can have long-lasting trauma against verbal and mental abuse, suffering negative outcomes such as lowered self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and adverse health affects. Men may not be willing to leave an abusive relationship if they do not see their situations as cases of domestic violence. Breaking the misconception that women are the only victims of domestic violence is the first step in liberating men as the sole perpetrator of from these crimes.
Domestic Violence Defenses in California
The best way to start a defense of any domestic violence case is speaking with an attorney who has tried and won cases in jury trials. Domestic violence cases have many complex elements which require experience to understand. From the early investigation of witnesses and victim statements, to domestic violence trauma experts; everything matters in these cases. The psychology of how a jury receives evidence and can appreciate the story being told is crucial to winning a case.
What can be tragic in these cases is that many times it is the longtime victim of domestic abuse who will get arrested. Many domestic violence victims have suffered abuse and harm for years without ever reporting the incidents or filing charges with police. However, it only takes the one time to call the police and have them come out and arrest the wrong person.
Abuse victims often become enraged and can seek to protect themselves and family following repeated instances of suffering harm. The police, of course, can’t look back in time at the long history of abuse a person suffered, they only look at the scene they are presented with. Being on the wrong side of a police call for domestic abuse can be devastating.
California Criminal Protective Orders & Domestic Violence
In almost all domestic violence cases the city attorney or district attorney will request the court to issue a criminal protective order, often at arraignment. A defendant facing misdemeanor or felony charges for domestic violence or battery will likely face this type of restraining order. Misdemeanor domestic violence PC 243(e)1 is also known as the domestic battery law.
Unlike other misdemeanor offenses, when a client is charged with domestic battery, they are required to personally appear before the court for every hearing. At the arraignment date the accused will be informed of what criminal charges they are facing and when the offense is alleged to have occurred.
A judge will decide to issue a criminal protective order if the Court believes it is reasonably likely to occur or there has been:
- Physical harm to a victim or witness
- Intimidation or threats to a witness or victim
At a felony or misdemeanor arraignment, the prosecutor will ask the judge to issue a criminal protective order under Penal Code Sec. 136.2. The protective order will be granted without a formal hearing. Issuing this order does not require proof that the crime occurred beyond a reasonable doubt or even any evidence being presented.
The law requires only a “good cause belief” by the judge to impose a criminal protective order. The purpose of protective orders is not only to prevent any continuing contact between a defendant and an alleged victim but also prevent communication through third parties. Attempts to influence statements or testimony of people involved in a criminal case is a serious offense.
Which Involves a Criminal Protective Order?
- Domestic Violence (Infliction of corporal injury) California Penal Code 273.5
- Domestic Battery, CA PC 243(e)
- False Imprisonment, CA PC 236
- Child Abduction, California PC 278, CA PC 278.5
- Intimidating Victim or Witness, CA Penal Code 136.1
- Violation of Domestic Violence Protective Order, CA PC 273.6
- Rape of Spouse, California Penal Code 262
- Stalking, CA Penal Code 646.9
What if I Violate a Protective Order in California?
If you are charged with a domestic violence related offense such as battery, aggravated assault, or some sexual offenses, the protective order will be in place while the case is in court. This means that you will be restricted from making any contact with the protected party until the outcome of your case is decided.
These restraining orders are used in all felony and misdemeanor domestic violence cases. Special circumstances can be used to ensure that visitation between parents and children can continue.
A violation of a protective order is addressed in California Penal Code 136.1; it is punishable as a misdemeanor or felony (wobbler). Any individual who does or attempts to dissuade a person from attending a trial or giving testimony in a proceeding can be charged with violation of a protective order. If the violation or attempted intimidation is accompanied by use or threat of force or if the individual has previously been convicted of violating CA PC 136.1, the offense can be charged as a felony and punished with significant time in state prison.
Such intimidation or violations do not have to be proven specifically but can be alleged as a “continuous course of conduct” offense. The prosecutor can attempt to prove this by showing multiple instances of intimidation or criminal threat under CA Penal Code 422 or stalking under California Penal Code 646.9.
Can A Domestic Violence Arrest be Expunged in California?
If your domestic violence lawyer is able to get involved in your case early on, then yes it is possible. The first step after a domestic violence arrest is getting in touch with the prosecutors’ office to discuss the case. Gathering additional statements and evidence from witnesses and victims can be crucial to preventing formal charges.
If a criminal complaint is not filed in court the second problem arises, what to do about the arrest record. Even if you are not convicted of domestic violence the arrest will show up on any background check. Your defense lawyer must file motions with the arresting agency to request that the arrest record be sealed and destroyed from public access. If the initial request with police under CA PC 851.7 and PC 851.8 is not successful the process moves to the Courts.
A formal motion and hearing must be set in front of a Judge to ask that the arrest record involving domestic violence be sealed and destroyed. Without this relief anyone applying for work or school where a background check is done will have the arrest record revealed.
Domestic Violence Cases and Family Law Court
A domestic violence lawyer often deals with two types of Court’s that overlap. Many criminal domestic violence cases have a long history that comes from the Family Court. Ex-husbands and wives may have domestic disputes that go back years. If a case becomes so serious that someone is charged with a domestic violence crime the past records in Family Court can be used as evidence.
Many individuals with domestic violence cases in criminal court face steep hurdles in their family law cases. Evidence of past restraining orders or reports of abuse can be brought to a criminal trial. It is important for a domestic violence lawyer to have an understanding of all the court systems which can impact a person's life. Navigating between criminal and family court can be complicated and involves serious consequences for the client.
Begin Building a Defense Now!
If you are being investigated for or charged with a count of domestic violence, it is important that you seek the advice of an experienced domestic violence lawyer as soon as you can. Our legal services are available in English and Russian, so do not hesitate to contact us today.
Contact our San Diego domestic violence attorney today to get started on your defense case against a domestic violence charge.
Sentence Reduced, All Other Charges Dropped 16 Counts, Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a Minor
Client charged with multiple sexual assault offenses, facing 16 years in prison. Convicted of One Count of Sex with a Minor, 2 years Jail, All other charges dismissed.
Reduced Sentence, Other Charges Dropped 24 Count, Insurance Fraud Conspiracy, Grand Theft in excess of $250,000
Client charged as head of conspiracy to present false claims to insurance companies, losses over $250,000. Client facing 22 years in State Prison. Convicted of two counts of insurance fraud, sentenced to 2 years in jail, remaining charges dismissed.
Dismissed with No Jail Time, Probation Only Assault with Deadly Weapon, Robbery, Burglary
Client charged with multiple counts, potential 14 year sentence. Released with no custody.
Dismissed Charges Assault with semi-automatic Firearm, Criminal Threat, Domestic Violence
Charges exposed client to 8 years in State Prison and two serious strike felonies. Court dismisses all gun related charges at preliminary hearing, client pleads to domestic violence charge only, no custody.
30 Days Probation, Case Dismissed. Attempted Murder
Client charged with Attempted Murder in connection with the death of her husband suffering from a fatal illness. Defense investigation revealed that statements of witnesses were unreliable and unfounded.
Case Dismissed Auto Insurance Fraud
Naval Officer accused of making fraudulent insurance claims on his vehicle, charged with three felony offenses. Case Dismissed after defense investigation and negotiation with District Attorney.
Case Dismissed on Motion Auto Insurance Fraud
Client charged with two felony counts of Auto Insurance Fraud.
Not Guilty. Case Dismissed. Burglary, Theft, Identity Theft
Client was charged with criminal Burglary, Grand Theft and Identity Theft from local retailers. Defense investigation revealed client was not individual shown on security cameras
Reduced Charge Plea Deal Child Molestation Accusation
Career Professional Client facing child molestation charges, requiring lifetime sex registration. Defense negotiated plea deal for non-offender charge of misdemeanor assault.
Not Guilty, Client Acquitted Of All Charges Child Pornography
Client on Probation for Sexual Assault. Arrest and accusation of child pornography possession. Defense employs forensic investigation of all seized evidence and finds no evidence of child pornography.