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How Much Does a Domestic Violence Charge Cost
Domestic violence is a serious criminal charge, and the consequences of a domestic violence conviction can be significant and long-lasting. If you have been arrested for domestic violence or spousal abuse in Los Angeles, you may be wondering how much a domestic violence charge will cost you. As seasoned criminal defense attorneys, we have seen the heavy financial and emotional toll a domestic violence charge can take on offenders and their loved ones.
From substantial fines to a loss of custody rights, payment of restitution, and possible jail time, the penalties associated with a California domestic violence conviction are not to be taken lightly.
Whether you were recently arrested for a domestic violence crime or charges have already been filed, it is never too late to get qualified legal help. Contact Perlman & Cohen as soon as possible to find out how our reputable domestic violence attorneys can help with your case.
California Domestic Violence Laws
Domestic violence laws vary from state to state, as do the associated penalties. In California, acts of domestic violence can be charged under several different legal statutes, depending on the circumstances and severity of the alleged crime or crimes.
Penal Code § 273.5 PC, also known as corporal injury to a spouse, is the most serious domestic violence-related crime under California law. This statute covers any situation in which a person is accused of causing injury to a spouse, co-parent, or cohabitant where the injury results in a traumatic condition.
If you are involved in an altercation or dispute with a spouse or family member and the police get involved, you could also face criminal charges under Penal Code § 243(e)(1) PC (domestic battery), Penal Code § 240 PC (assault), Penal Code § 242 PC (battery), or any number of other domestic violence laws. The California Penal Code is complex and multifaceted, and it is always a good idea to enlist the help of a knowledgeable Los Angeles criminal defense attorney when facing charges for domestic violence.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Charges
The cost of a domestic violence charge depends on the specific criminal charges you are facing. Each of the California statutes noted above carries its own penalties, which may include a jail or prison sentence, substantial court fines, probation, victim restitution, community service, or mandatory counseling or batterers’ intervention classes, among other penalties.
For instance, if you are charged with domestic violence under Penal Code § 273.5 PC, depending on the circumstances of the charge, you could face the following criminal penalties upon conviction:
- Imprisonment in state prison for two, three, or four years, or in county jail for up to one year; and/or
- A fine of up to $6,000.
For subsequent offenses, the penalties become increasingly severe. Under Penal Code § 273.5 (f)(1) PC, any person convicted of violating the domestic violence statute within seven years of a previous conviction faces imprisonment in state prison for two, four, or five years, or in county jail for up to one year, and a fine of up to $10,000.
The defendant may also be required to make payments to a battered women’s shelter and reimburse the alleged victim for the cost of counseling and other expenses related to the domestic violence offense.
Mandatory minimum jail time applies to certain California domestic violence offenses as well, which means convicted offenders may be required to serve a minimum amount of time in jail upon conviction.
Many domestic violence offenses in Los Angeles are wobblers, which means it is up to the prosecutor to review the facts of the case and determine whether to charge the alleged crime as a misdemeanor or felony offense, based on the type of crime, the level of force used and/or harm inflicted, and the defendant’s criminal history. Felony charges are the most serious.
However, domestic violence allegations of any kind carry a negative stigma, and even misdemeanor offenses are punished harshly under California law.
Additional Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction
Defendants facing charges for domestic violence must be aware of the long-term consequences associated with a conviction, which extend beyond fines and jail time. If you are convicted on charges of domestic violence, depending on the charge, you could lose your right to vote or own or purchase firearms, among other important rights. Finding employment with a felony conviction on your record can be extremely difficult, as can being approved for housing. You could even lose custody of your children or face immigration consequences, such as deportation or inadmissibility to the United States, if you are not an American citizen.
A domestic violence conviction also means you would have a permanent criminal record, which can impact your life for years to come. If you face another criminal charge in the future, having a conviction on your record could subject you to more severe penalties if you are convicted and sentenced for the new crime.
How Our Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys Can Help
As you can see, domestic violence charges carry a significant cost. And once charges have been brought, it is unlikely that they will be dropped, even if the alleged victim changes their mind or declines to press charges.
In fact, domestic violence charges can be brought against you even if the other person doesn’t report the incident. Once the police have been called and an alleged act of domestic violence is reported by someone, the matter is in the hands of the District Attorney’s Office. If you have been charged with a domestic violence-related crime in Los Angeles, you need a strong and assertive legal advocate who will fight for your rights and ensure that you have the best possible criminal defense.
Attorneys Daniel Perlman and Matthew Cohen of Los Angeles Criminal Attorneys know how much a domestic violence charge can cost defendants and are committed to putting their expertise to work to help those accused of domestic violence fight back against the charges.
Call Los Angeles Criminal Attorneys today to schedule a consultation with our qualified domestic violence lawyers.