How Does California Define Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is defined as any person who wilfully inflicts an injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a person who is their spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or the parent of their child. This conduct results in a felony under California Penal Code 273.5A.
What Is A Spousal Battery Conviction?
Spousal battery is defined as the perpetrator wilfully or unlawfully touching the victim in a harmful or offensive manner that is not an act of self-defense.
Convictions result in a mandatory 52-week domestic violence course. A restraining order and jail time may be imposed depending on the severity of the case and if it’s a misdemeanor or felony charge. There are also fines and fees, and if there’s a subsequent offense, the judgment can be used in abeyance of any future conviction.
Will The Case Be Dropped If An Alleged Victim Changes Their Testimony After The Domestic Violence-Related Charges Are Filed?
Cases are not necessarily dropped after an alleged victim changes their testimony. An altered testimony does not prevent charges from being filed. What takes prevalence in those cases is the evidence found at the time of the arrest, the evidence found when the incident occurred, and the evidence found when it was reported.
Unfortunately, victims of domestic violence can have what is called Battered Spouse Syndrome, where someone in an abusive relationship cannot fully comprehend the abuse they’re under, and it’s unreliable. It commonly occurs when victims change their testimony due to the trauma they’ve suffered or out of fear, so it’s not a complete guarantee that the charges will be dropped for those reasons.
Issues may arise if the case goes to trial and the victim recants everything; however, if there is sufficient evidence that the incident occurred, it might be unnecessary for the victim to testify.
Do Defendants Need To Appear In Their Criminal Defense Case?
In these domestic violence cases, the defendant always has to appear. Generally, in misdemeanor cases, the defendant is not required to appear in court, but in these proceedings, the defendant has to appear in court for every hearing.
It is always wise to hire counsel when faced with these charges, given the potential exposure to custody. There are many ways in which private counsel helps ameliorate situations and mitigate possible consequences. A skilled attorney will act in advance, enroll the individual in counseling, and take other affirmative steps to show that the incident was an isolated incident and that there is no risk of future harm.
With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Domestic Violence Law Cases, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll make it look easy. For more information on Domestic Violence Law in California, an initial consultation is your next best step.