Felony Domestic Violence: Is Domestic Violence a Felony?

Felony Domestic Violence: Is Domestic Violence a Felony?

| April 06th 2024
Felony domestic violence_ is domestic violence a felony

Many people question whether accusations of domestic violence can lead to felony charges. The law may categorize domestic violence either as a misdemeanor or a felony. It hinges on specific details of the incident.

At Olen Firm Criminal Defense Lawyers, we specialize in clarifying this distinction for our clients. We provide expert guidance and defense for those facing such heavy allegations.

Awareness of the difference is critical because the consequences of a felony are far more severe than a misdemeanor's. Our aim is to demystify the legal framework surrounding domestic violence charges for our clients.

If you are facing a domestic violence charge, learn more below. Then, contact us for help with your domestic violence allegations.

Understanding Domestic Violence Charges

Understanding domestic violence charges

Domestic violence charges are critical. They involve accusations of harm or threats to someone in the accused person's household or family. The law considers these allegations grave, given their personal nature. For anyone facing these criminal charges, it's vital to seek knowledgeable legal help immediately.

The journey after an arrest for domestic violence can feel daunting. It often includes restraining orders, the possibility of jail time, and the threat of a criminal record.

Moreover, the stigma attached to domestic violence charges can impact a person's life deeply. At Olen Firm, we understand the weight of these charges and strive to defend our clients' rights and reputations with the utmost diligence.

Definitions of Domestic Violence in Law

The law defines domestic violence broadly. Examples include physical assault, emotional abuse, and more. Usually, the victim is a partner, family member, or someone living together. This wide definition aims to protect all potential victims. It highlights the law's commitment to combat and prevent such harm.

Each state has specific laws for domestic violence. For example, California Penal Code sections 273.5 and 243(e)(1) detail behaviors considered as domestic violence. These include causing serious bodily injury or unwanted physical contact against a close partner.

These laws lay the groundwork for prosecuting domestic violence offenses. They differentiate between misdemeanors and felonies based on the act's severity. The district attorney will take this into account when considering a domestic violence felony.

Criteria for Misdemeanor vs. Felony Charges

A misdemeanor domestic violence incident generally involves less grave acts of violence. There is no substantial injury or weapon use. These cases might lead to shorter jail times, probation, and mandatory counseling. They focus on rehabilitation and preventing future violence.

Felony charges, however, are for more severe domestic violence acts. They include causing serious injuries, using weapons, or making threats of major harm. Felony convictions bring tougher penalties.

For example, California Penal Code 273.5 could be a misdemeanor or felony charge. This is called a wobbler. The prosecutor is more likely to upgrade this charge to a felony if the injury is severe. California 243(e)(1) is not a wobbler and cannot be charged as a felony. Let us review your domestic violence case.

Factors Elevating Charges to Felony Status

  • Severity of injury. Severe injuries can turn domestic violence charges into felonies. These cases reflect the offense's gravity and warrant stronger legal action.
  • Use of weapons. Using a weapon increases the risk and usually means a felony charge, showing the danger and intent to cause severe harm.
  • Prior convictions. Having past convictions for domestic violence can lead to current charges being considered felonies, aiming to stop repeat offenses.
  • Threats of great bodily harm. Making threats to hurt someone seriously can also lead to a felony charge, as these threats show intent, and the law aims to prevent violence.
  • Violation of a restraining order. Ignoring a legal restraining order in a domestic violence context can escalate charges to a felony level, showing disregard for legal protections and victim safety.

Examples of Felony Domestic Violence Situations

  • Severe physical assault. Attacks causing major injuries like broken bones or requiring hospital care often count as felony domestic violence.
  • Strangulation. Trying to choke a domestic partner is seen as extremely dangerous, and he typically faces felony charges.
  • Stalking. Grievous stalking, especially after a restraining order, can become a felony, showing a continued threat to safety.
  • Assault with a deadly weapon. Threatening or hurting a partner with a weapon is a severe criminal offense, leading to misdemeanor charges.
  • Repeated offenses. A history of domestic violence can make new charges felonies, highlighting efforts to prevent ongoing abuse.

Penalties for a Felony Domestic Violence Conviction

Being found guilty of felony domestic violence means facing major penalties, including long prison sentences, substantial fines, and a lasting criminal record. These outcomes show how seriously the law views such crimes, focusing on punishment and stopping future offenses. Convicted people might also have to join domestic violence counseling programs aimed at changing abusive behaviors.

If you are convicted of a felony under 273.5, you could face up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $6,000. In comparison, a conviction for a misdemeanor could lead to a year in jail. Clearly, these penalties are different.

Besides legal penalties, felony convictions deeply affect lives. They can lead to losing the right to own firearms, trouble getting jobs, and travel restrictions. These wide-reaching effects show the importance of strong legal defense in these cases to reduce the potential impacts of a conviction.

Additional Professional and Social Implications

A felony conviction can ruin professional lives, leading to job loss and hiring difficulties. The stigma of such convictions can also harm personal lives, damaging relationships and community standing. These broader consequences go beyond legal penalties, affecting nearly all aspects of life.

Furthermore, felony convictions, like custody and visitation, can affect family rights, reflecting legal efforts to protect victims. Due to a felony record, professionals, especially those in trusted roles, may see their careers end and face closed doors to future opportunities.

How We Defend Against Felony Domestic Violence Charges

How we defend against felony domestic violence charges
  1. Initial consultation. We start by getting to know your case's details, forming the basis of our defense plan.
  2. Evidence review. We examine the evidence against you for weaknesses or legal issues, which can lead to dropping or weakening the charges.
  3. Witness interviews. We talk to witnesses who can support your defense, providing needed testimony or information.
  4. Legal motions. We file motions to dismiss unfair charges or exclude improper evidence to weaken the prosecution's case.
  5. Negotiating plea Deals. When fitting, we negotiate with prosecutors for plea deals that reduce penalties, always seeking the best outcome for you.
  6. Trial preparation. We thoroughly prepare and plan defense strategies for trials and are ready for prosecution tactics, ensuring we're ready to defend you effectively.
  7. Court representation. We represent you confidently in court, focusing on protecting your rights and interests throughout the process.

Key Defense Strategies Employed by Olen Firm

  • Challenging the evidence. We look for signs of weakness or illegality in the prosecution's evidence, which could potentially lead to case dismissal or weakened charges.
  • Presenting alibis. If possible, we show you weren't at the crime scene, using alibis to challenge the accusations.
  • Highlighting self-defense. We may argue that any violence was in self-defense, addressing the context of your actions.
  • Questioning the accuser's credibility. We assess the accuser's reliability, looking for reasons they might lie or inconsistencies in their story to support your defense.
  • Demonstrating lack of intent. Showing you didn't intend to harm can be vital, especially where actions were accidental or misunderstood, challenging key aspects of domestic violence charges.

The Importance of Early Legal Intervention

Seeking legal help early on when facing an investigation or charges is key. Quick action by an experienced lawyer can shape your case from the start. They can protect your rights and aim for a better outcome. Our proactive approach aims to tackle issues early, setting you up for the strongest defense against charges. Contact us if you are facing domestic battery charges.

Can You Get My Case Dismissed?

While no lawyer can promise a case dismissal, our firm has a successful history of effectively challenging prosecutions. We explore every legal route to fight for dismissal or charge reduction. We focus on investigatory and procedural strategies.

Our goal is to achieve the best possible result for each client. We fight for justice and fairness in every case. If you have been accused of a felony offense, contact us for a case consultation.

Contact Our Los Angeles Domestic Violence Lawyer for Help Defending Against Felony Domestic Violence Charges

Contact our Los Angeles domestic violence lawyer for help defending against felony domestic violence charges

Facing felony domestic violence charges is daunting, with potential impacts on every aspect of life. Olen Firm Criminal Defense Lawyers offers expert guidance and defense for those in this challenging situation. Our team is skilled at handling the legal system's complexities, ensuring your rights are upheld throughout the process.

Defendants who have been accused of domestic violence or domestic abuse can have several legal defenses available to them, depending on the circumstances. Establishing an attorney-client relationship with a criminal defense attorney is the best way to know which defense strategy will be the best option.

If you have been accused of a domestic violence offense, we provide legal representation. We defend clients against a variety of criminal offenses, including domestic violence cases. Now, we can help you as well. If you are facing domestic violence charges, contact us today for a free consultation.

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