Have you been arrested and charged with a domestic violence offense in the East Bay? At Lamano Law Office, we understand that navigating the criminal justice system is a stressful experience. The best way to relieve your understandable anxiety is to build the strongest possible defense to the charges you’re facing.
To begin defending your rights, turn to an Alameda domestic violence attorney from Lamano Law Office. We offer personalized representation as a knowledgeable legal team committed to aggressively defending our clients’ rights. We’ll work to provide you with peace of mind by giving you a straightforward assessment of your case and your rights under the law. We’ll explain how our firm can craft the strongest possible defense on your behalf.
Reach out to our firm today for an initial case review. You’ll speak with an experienced Alameda domestic violence lawyer from our team who will give you the best case, worst case, and likely scenario so that you can protect your future and your reputation.
Why Choose Our Alameda Domestic Violence Lawyers?
If you are facing prosecution for domestic violence, you need legal representation that will not only treat you with the respect and compassion that you need, but also provide you with dedicated legal representation that will aggressively defend your rights. At Lamano Law Office, we believe that our woman-owned-and-operated law firm stands out as the right choice to help you face domestic violence charges. Here’s why:
- Our legal team boasts more than three decades of combined legal experience.
- Our firm is rated #1 on Yelp for criminal defense attorneys in the Alameda area and has received 100 percent five-star ratings from clients on Google.
- We have a proven track record of success in over 850+ criminal cases with less than 1% experiencing jail time
How Is Domestic Violence Defined in California?
California Penal Code 13700 defines “domestic violence” as abuse committed against a current or former romantic partner. Generally speaking, domestic violence refers to any crime that involves harm, threat of harm, or harassment of a victim when the perpetrator and victim have a qualifying domestic relationship. Under California law, a crime of abuse may constitute domestic violence if you have committed an offense against:
- A current or former spouse or fiancé
- A current or former dating, intimate, or sexual partner
- A current or former romantic partner with whom you currently cohabitate or previously cohabitated with
- Someone with whom you have had a child
What Are the Common Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges?
While domestic violence charges are often aggressively prosecuted, depending on the underlying facts of your case, you may be able to successfully raise a defense against these charges. Common defenses in domestic violence cases include:
- Actions made in self-defense or defense of others to prevent the alleged victim from inflicting injury or other harm
- Lack of the criminal intent required to commit the alleged act of domestic violence
- Mutual combat, wherein both partners are considered to have simultaneously started a fight or altercation
- Consent to physical contact or communication with the alleged victim (unless the accused subject to a protective order that prohibited them from having contact with the victim)
Other defense strategies used in domestic violence cases involve challenging the alleged victim’s credibility by identifying inconsistencies in their story or motives to fabricate their allegations. At Lamano Law Office, we use the services of a private investigator to clarify your side of the story and submit a mitigation packet to the court to show who you are outside of these domestic violence allegations. We also show who the alleged victim in your case is, if their credibility is at issue, especially if lies are made in your case by somebody with a history of not telling the whole truth. Attorneys may also file motions to exclude any evidence that was obtained by the police in violation of the rights of the accused.
What Are the Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction?
If you are convicted of a domestic violence offense, the penalties you could face will depend on the classification and grading of your offense. A domestic violence offense charged as a misdemeanor has a maximum penalty of up to 364 days in county jail and/or a fine of $1,000. You may also have to complete 52 domestic violence classes or 26 anger management classes. The court may also impose a stay away order from the alleged victim in your case. Probation may last anywhere between 3-5 years.
If charged as a felony, you could face years of imprisonment and substantial fines in addition to the same penalties above for a misdemeanor (classes, probation, stay away order). In either case, you could also be sentenced to substance abuse treatment and volunteer work at a domestic violence shelter.
If you are convicted of a domestic violence offense within seven years of a prior domestic violence offense or another serious violent crime, the maximum penalties for your related conviction could become much more severe than they would be otherwise.
What to Expect if You’ve Been Arrested on a Domestic Violence Charge in Alameda
If you have been arrested on a domestic violence charge in Alameda, you may not know what to expect if this is your first experience with the criminal justice system. You’ll likely go through the following common steps before your domestic violence charge will be resolved:
- Once you are arrested, you will be taken to the police station. You can either post bail or be released on your promise to appear in court for your arraignment. Otherwise, you will continue to be held in jail until your arraignment if you are on probation, parole, or have a warrant under your name.
- You will appear in court for the first time for your arraignment. At this hearing, the judge will formally advise you of your charges, explain your constitutional rights, and confirm whether you have or want to hire a lawyer or need to have a lawyer appointed to you free of charge. If you hire an attorney before your arraignment, and you are charged with a misdemeanor, oftentimes you will not need to appear in court. You, or your attorney, will enter an initial plea of not guilty to your charges.
- At the end of the arraignment, the judge will assign a new court date to give your attorney time to review the evidence and police report for your case.
- Before your next court hearing, your attorney may file motions to exclude evidence from the prosecution’s case, to introduce certain evidence in your own case, or to reduce or dismiss your charges.
- At any point prior to trial, your attorney may also negotiate a deal (plea agreement) with the prosecution. Is it better to take a deal or go to trial? In a plea agreement scenario, you’ll agree to a negotiated deal whereas, at trial, you are maintaining your innocence and asking a jury to decide. Most people don’t decide if they want to take a deal or go to trial until they’ve reviewed the police report and evidence in their case.
- If your charges are not otherwise resolved, your case will eventually reach trial, where the prosecution and your attorney will present evidence, witness testimony, and arguments to a jury of your peers or to a judge, if yours is a bench trial. At the end of the trial, the jury or judge will issue a verdict finding you guilty or not guilty on each charge.
- If you are convicted of any charges, the trial court will either issue a sentence immediately after the verdict or hold a separate sentencing hearing to consider evidence and testimony regarding the nature of the sentence you should receive.
Can a Victim Drop Domestic Violence Charges?
In many domestic violence cases, a victim and defendant end up reconciling. When that happens, the victim may not want to cooperate with the district attorney in building a case against you. Oftentimes, an alleged victim will mistakenly believe that the power to press charges against you is theirs. However, once criminal charges have been filed, only a prosecutor from the district attorney’s office can make the decision to drop the charges in question.
A prosecutor may choose to drop domestic violence charges due to insufficient evidence to convict a defendant or due to inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony. A prosecutor may also choose to drop domestic violence charges when a victim declines to cooperate with the prosecution or testify at trial, and their testimony is a critical part of the prosecution’s case.
Our Law Firm Defends Against All Domestic Violence Charges
At Lamano Law Office, our Alameda domestic violence lawyers will fight for your rights if you are facing domestic violence charges. Many common domestic violence charges involve:
- Child abuse and child endangerment
- Elder abuse
- Restraining order violations
- Protective order violations
- Aggravated trespass
- Criminal threats
- Dissuading a witness from reporting a crime
How Our Alameda Domestic Violence Attorneys Can Help You
Let the Alameda domestic violence attorneys of Lamano Law Office minimize the stress and anxiety of facing domestic violence charges by aggressively preparing and pursuing your defense. If you choose to work with our firm, we will:
- Conduct a detailed investigation into your charges to recover any available evidence that can be used to benefit your defense using a private investigator that will give a different side of the story than what may be on your police report. Time is of essence when it comes to hiring an investigator, so the sooner you hire an attorney to work on your case, the better
- Identify possible factual and legal defenses and defense strategies in which our firm uses a 150-point inspection list so that no stone is left unturned
- Provide you with straightforward advice regarding your legal options, the best and worst-case scenarios, and likely outcomes of your charges
- Move to exclude any prosecutorial evidence that law enforcement obtained in violation of your rights
- Test the sufficiency of the prosecution’s case by filing motions to dismiss your charges for lack of evidence
- Negotiate – if appropriate – with prosecutors to reach a plea deal that reduces and dismisses your charges to help you avoid the maximum penalties associated with a conviction
- Represent you at all court hearings and advocate in your defense if your case goes to trial
Contact Lamano Law Office today for a confidential, consultation. During your consultation, you’ll speak with an Alameda domestic violence attorney from our firm about crafting the strongest possible defense on your behalf. We look forward to speaking with you.