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Domestic Violence can be defined as a violent confrontation that occurs between family members or between people who live together or are in a dating relationship. Domestic violence follows a broad spectrum of participants. However, it always involves abuse in one form or another, whether it be physical, psychological, or emotional. Whether you are referring to a domestic violence dispute between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, father and son, father and daughter, mother and son, mother and daughter, or some other familial combination, victims need to get help. Domestic violence carries with it longstanding emotional and psychological scars that extend far beyond the physical.

In most domestic violence cases, the woman is most often the victim, however not in all. Weapons are sometimes employed, property is damaged, and alcohol and drug use are often at the source. In the state of California, domestic violence is not taken lightly. You should seek legal assistance if you or someone you love has been the victim of a domestic violence situation. A skilled Pasadena domestic violence attorney at the Southern California Khalaf Law Group is here to educate and support you through this process.

Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Conviction

In terms of Family Law, a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence carries mandatory jail time and can result in the unfortunate loss of custody of your children or visitation privileges. Other negative impacts may be a loss of employment, incarceration, excessive fines and legal fees and possible deportation if not a US citizen.

Regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, in the state of California, a domestic violence misdemeanor conviction suggests that your ability to safely care for your children as their primary custodian is questionable. You will be presumed unfit for their ongoing care and responsibility. Losing your children over a domestic violence dispute is a tragic repercussion that impacts all parties involved, most notably your child.

If you have been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, according to federal law you cannot legally carry a firearm and if you are a law enforcement officer or military personnel, a domestic violence conviction often signals the end of your career.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence

Regardless of whether a dispute occurs between spouses, domestic partners, boyfriend and girlfriend, parents and children, same-sex couples, blood relatives (siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.), or housemates, consequences can be severe. All domestic violence disputes between the above combination of individuals carry the domestic violence charge. Domestic violence misdemeanors remain permanently on your record and can be used against you in future crimes for seven years following initial conviction. Offenses compound, and aligning yourself with a skilled Pasadena Domestic Violence Attorney is essential to fully understand your rights and seek a reduced sentence and favorable outcome.

What Usually Happens in a Domestic Violence Case?

A domestic violence case typically begins with a report to the police. The alleged victim contacts the authorities to report domestic violence, and the local police respond to address the situation. Law enforcement officers have a legal duty to ensure victims’ safety, even if this means removing an alleged attacker before clear evidence is established. The police will likely arrest the person accused of committing domestic violence or allow them to leave under strict conditions. At this point, an experienced Pasadena domestic violence attorney can help the victim secure a temporary restraining order to keep the accused away.

This temporary restraining order will lead to a hearing within a few weeks, at which time the accused will have the opportunity to respond to the charges against them. Depending on the police’s availability and strength of evidence secured during the initial call, the defendant may or may not have room to dispute the charges against them.

The proceedings to follow can take various turns based on the specific elements of a case. Ultimately, there is no way to predict how a domestic violence case will end. Because of this, domestic violence victims must be aware of the importance of seeking legal counsel after experiencing any kind of domestic violence.

How Do Most Domestic Violence Cases End?

The majority of domestic violence cases do not go to trial. In many of them, the evidence is clear enough to charge the accused with a specific crime or several crimes. In others, there is not enough evidence, or the matter is essentially a “he said, she said” dispute with no clear way to determine who is telling the truth.

Contesting a domestic violence charge requires challenging the validity and strength of the prosecution’s evidence or otherwise proving the allegations are false. Almost all domestic violence cases prosecuted in the US are settled privately, with most of the accused accepting plea bargains.

What Are the Potential Consequences of a Domestic Violence Charge?

“Domestic violence” is a broad term that encompasses many possible behaviors. Domestic violence could pertain to a situation in which one spouse is actively abusing another family member over a long period of time. The term may also refer to a specific incident involving an altercation between family or household members. Domestic violence may pertain to very serious criminal charges, like aggravated assault or attempted homicide. Depending on the severity of the actual act in question, the offender could face misdemeanor or felony charges.

The penalties for either can be severe, impacting the offender’s life for years to come. The criminal record of domestic violence can make it difficult or even impossible for them to secure certain types of employment. They may face restitution to the victim in addition to financial liability under family law for child support and/or alimony.

Do Most Domestic Violence Cases Get Dismissed?

Many domestic violence claims are filed in the Pasadena area and throughout California every day, and it is a common misconception that most of these cases are dismissed. About 20% to 30% of all domestic violence cases on average are dismissed. Of the remaining cases, almost 100% of them are settled outside of court through plea bargaining.

The high number of dismissed cases is due to many factors. First, an accuser must have clear and convincing evidence to establish that an alleged domestic violence incident actually took place. It is not uncommon for people to file domestic violence claims with little to no physical evidence or witness testimony to support them. An alleged victim may claim to have suffered domestic violence with no signs of injury, but the police may still arrest the alleged abuser to follow applicable state laws.

Domestic violence cases can be dismissed due to poor evidence, lack of evidence, conflicting testimony, and exculpatory evidence that proves the accusation was unfounded or wrongful. When domestic violence cases are dismissed, it is typically on the grounds that the available evidence is too weak to support the claims. Cases may also be dismissed on procedural grounds, such as due process violations in the securing of evidence or failing to meet court filing deadlines.

Potential Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges

People who have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence can easily feel lost and trapped when they are arrested or otherwise forced to leave their home due to a wrongful accusation. If an individual has committed any type of domestic violence, victims do have recourse. The criminal justice systems in place in California and throughout the US exist to ensure they face accountability for their actions. However, those accused of domestic violence who know they have done nothing wrong may have several available defenses:

  • A person accused of domestic violence might avoid conviction by proving that whatever abusive actions they allegedly committed were self-defense.
  • An accused individual may be able to clear their name by contradicting evidence of alleged domestic violence.
  • Eyewitness testimony that conflicts with that of the accuser may also help reveal the truth of a questionable domestic violence claim.

These are just a few potential defenses available to those accused of committing domestic violence. Anyone in this situation should seek legal counsel immediately to avoid the serious penalties that often accompany domestic violence convictions.

Anyone who has experienced domestic violence as a victim must seek legal representation as soon as possible as well. A good attorney can help streamline the process of securing a restraining order and help the victim initiate other necessary legal proceedings, such as filing for divorce from an abusive spouse. Attorneys can also provide valuable resources to domestic violence victims, such as connecting them with public outreach programs and other social safety nets that can provide help and comfort during a difficult time.

Find Your Legal Counsel Today

If you have experienced any type of domestic violence or need to fight a wrongful domestic violence charge, it is essential to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Your Pasadena domestic violence attorney can help you determine the best possible approach to your legal situation and clarify the likely outcomes of your proceedings. When you are ready to discuss your legal options with a compassionate and experienced Pasadena domestic violence lawyer, contact the Khalaf Law Group and schedule a consultation with our team.

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