If you have been arrested for domestic violence in Oakland, you need a compassionate legal team on your side that can provide you with an honest assessment of your situation and help you to understand the best-case, worst-case, and most likely outcomes of your situation.
Turn to an experienced Oakland domestic violence attorney at Lamano Law Office who can advocate for your rights. Our all-women legal team believes that all individuals deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We work quickly and tenaciously in pursuit of favorable results for our clients so that they don’t have to live with the anxiety and stress of pending criminal charges any longer than is necessary.
A domestic violence conviction can result in serious consequences for your reputation and future. Reach out to an Oakland domestic violence attorney from Lamano Law Office today for a no-obligation, confidential consultation to learn more about our firm’s approach to representation and your rights under the law.
Why Choose Lamano Law Office to Handle Your Domestic Violence Case?
If you have been arrested and charged with domestic violence, you deserve experienced, compassionate, and supportive legal representation. Our team is dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights and helping them to pursue favorable case outcomes.
At Lamano Law Offices, our attorneys have the track record and client-focused approach that you need during this challenging time. While we never rest on our laurels, we are proud that our firm can say the following with confidence:
- We have a #1 rating on Yelp for criminal defense attorneys in the Oakland area
- Our firm’s ratings on Google are 100 percent five-star ratings
- Our legal team has more than 30-years of combined legal experience advocating on behalf of individuals facing criminal charges
How Is Domestic Violence Defined in California?
Under California law, “domestic violence” is an umbrella term that describes a group of offenses. Domestic violence crimes involve violent criminal acts committed against a current or former intimate or romantic partner. Persons who may qualify as victims of domestic violence include:
- A spouse, former spouse, or fiancée
- A current or former romantic person you live with
- Anyone with whom the defendant has had a dating or intimate relationship
- Anyone with whom the defendant has had a child
Domestic violence only concerns violence between current or former romantic partners. Any violence towards a defendant’s biological or legal minor child or a minor child residing in a defendant’s household is governed by California’s child abuse statutes. At times, if your child was present during a domestic violence case, you may have extra charges for child endangerment.
What Is the Difference between Corporal Injury to a Spouse and Domestic Battery?
In California, corporal injury is charged under California Penal Code 273.5, while the offense of domestic battery is charged under Penal Code 243(e)(1). The offenses of corporal injury and domestic battery feature several important differences:
- Corporal injury is grounded in a statutory requirement that the victim must have suffered some form of injury, while the offense of domestic battery occurs whenever force or violence is used regardless of whether it results in injury to the victim.
- Domestic battery is considered a less serious offense and is graded as a misdemeanor charge, while corporal injury is a “wobbler” offense, meaning that it can be charged either as a misdemeanor or as a felony.
What Happens After You’ve Been Arrested on a Domestic Violence Charge?
When you are arrested on a domestic violence charge in Oakland, you can expect to go through at least some of the following steps before your case will be resolved:
- Once you are arrested, the police will write a report and submit it to the district attorney for consideration. The police may further investigate the incident that led to your arrest and run a background check on you to see if you have prior offenses or are wanted on other criminal charges. The report will then be reviewed by the district attorney’s office and the DA (not the victim in your case nor the police) will decide whether to file formal domestic violence charges against you will be filed, and whether it will be a misdemeanor or felony charge.
- After your arrest, you will either be released with a ticket ordering you to appear in court at a later date. You may also post bail if you have the financial resources to do so and don’t want to sit in custody waiting to be released. Often, you are given a CPO (criminal protective order) which requires you to stay 100 feet away from the alleged victim in your case. If you are on probation, or have a warrant under your name, you will be detained until your arraignment where you will stand before a judge who will decide if and when you will be released.
- At the arraignment, you will appear in court for the first time. The court will formally advise you of what you have been charged with, inform you of your legal rights, and determine whether you already have an attorney, want to hire an attorney, or need an attorney appointed on your behalf. You will also be required to enter an initial plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. The court will then release you on your promise to appear in court for the rest of your case, require you to post bail, or hold you in jail for the duration of your case.
- Your attorney will enter a plea of “not guilty” and will receive “discovery” from the district attorney, which includes the police report and other evidence that may be available. Your attorney cannot give you a copy of your police report immediately as there is a law that requires your attorney to redact or block any witness information. At court, your attorney may also attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution if it makes sense depending on the strategy. The court will then schedule a future court date to give everyone time to review the evidence and potentially negotiate a deal. In felony cases, the court will schedule a second court date, the preliminary hearing, to determine if the prosecution has enough evidence to go to trial. A preliminary hearing is like a mini trial where evidence is presented and witnesses can testify.
There are two possible end results. Either your attorney will negotiate a deal that all parties agree to or you will go to trial. A deal generally involves jail time or some alternative to jail time like community service, domestic violence or anger management classes, probation, fines paid to the court, and a conviction of either a misdemeanor or a felony. At trial, both sides will present their cases, and the prosecution will be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed your alleged crime(s). Is it better to take a deal or go to trial? Most people don’t decide until after they review their police report.
What Are the Common Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges?
Just because you have been charged with domestic violence does not automatically mean that you will be convicted of your alleged offense(s). Depending on the facts of your case, you may have one or more strong defenses available to you. Common defenses raised in domestic violence cases include:
- Self-defense or defense of others– You can potentially contest domestic violence charges by arguing that you were reasonably attempting to defend yourself or another person against bodily injury inflicted by the purported victim.
- Lack of intent– Some domestic violence charges require proof beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to inflict bodily harm on the victim. You may be able to disprove the intent element of your alleged offense.
- Mutual combat– Prosecutors sometimes decline to pursue domestic violence charges in cases where both parties could be considered aggressors.
- Consent – Typically raised in sex-based domestic violence cases, a consent defense argues that you had the alleged victim’s consent to commit the act against them.
What Are the Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction?
Under California Penal Code 273.5, domestic violence is considered a “wobbler” offense, which means that it can be graded as either a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge. If a domestic violence offense is graded as a misdemeanor, the penalties for conviction can include a conviction on your record, up to one year in county jail or alternative to jail like community service, home arrest, or home detention through an electronic device, probation, domestic violence and/or anger management classes, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
California domestic violence penalties for offenses charged as felonies could potentially include the same but the imprisonment can be up to 1 year and 4-months on top of the penalties above for a misdemeanor.
If you have prior domestic violence charges, or prior convictions that include violence or great bodily harm, the penalties can be even more severe. Being convicted of multiple domestic violence offenses within a seven-year period carries more serious penalties than would ordinarily be attached to the underlying crimes.
Can a Victim Drop Domestic Violence Charges?
In some domestic violence case scenarios, an alleged victim will mistakenly believe that they have the power to drop the charges. For better and for worse, the criminal justice system in the U.S. is structured so that once domestic violence charges are filed, only a prosecutor from the district attorney’s office can drop charges against an alleged domestic violence offender. The district attorney can consider the wishes of the alleged victim but it is ultimately up to the district attorney to drop charges or not.
Prosecutors are empowered to pursue charges not only on behalf of the alleged victim but also on behalf of the people of California, generally. What are the chances of getting domestic violence charges dropped or a domestic violence charge dismissed? Prosecutors drop domestic violence charges when they have insufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. This inability to prove their case sometimes arises when an alleged victim makes inconsistent or contradictory statements. Or, it can arise when your defense attorney submits a mitigation packet to show contrary evidence found in the police report.
A prosecutor might also choose to drop domestic violence charges—or the court may choose to dismiss a case—when a victim refuses to cooperate with the prosecution and the victim’s testimony is a key element of the state’s case.
We Fight All Types of Charges Related to Domestic Violence
At Lamano Law Office, we offer supportive legal representation to clients who are facing a variety of domestic violence and household violence charges, including:
- Child abuse and child endangerment
- Criminal threats
- Elder abuse
- Violations of restraining orders
- Violations of protective orders
- Aggravated trespass
- Assault and Battery
- Witness intimidation
- Dissuading a witness from reporting a crime
How Our Oakland Domestic Violence Attorneys Can Help You
If you have been accused of violating California’s domestic violence penal code, securing five-star legal representation can help you rest easier, knowing you have strong advocates on your side. Let the Oakland domestic violence attorneys of Lamano Law Office help you to navigate the ins and outs of your domestic violence charges by:
- Conducting an independent investigation into your charges, so that your case is not based solely on evidence that has been turned over by the prosecution. We work with experienced private investigators that can give a different side to your case.
- Putting together a Mitigation Packet, which consists of documents illustrating who you are outside of your allegations. This could include your resume, proof of residency, citizenship, military background, letters of support, community service, and pictures of you with your family, pets, and part of the community. This shows the court and district attorney who you are as a person so you’re not seen as just another case number in a large pile of files.
- Identifying and preparing factual and legal defenses to your charges
- Taking the time to thoroughly go over your charges and your legal options so that you can feel confident about the best-case, worst-case, and likely scenarios you will face. A simple 30 minute phone call can give you the peace of mind knowing what to expect in court.
- Attacking the insufficiency of the state’s evidence. This includes asking the court to to exclude improperly obtained or inadmissible evidence to ultimately reduce or dismiss your charges.
- Negotiating with the prosecution to reach a favorable plea deal(when appropriate under the circumstances) so that you can avoid the most severe consequences of a conviction.
- Aggressively advocating in your defense if it becomes necessary to fight your charges at trial.
Don’t leave the outcome of your domestic violence case to chance. Retain experienced legal representation to defend your interests and protect your rights. Contact Lamano Law Office today for a risk-free initial case evaluation to discuss your legal options. We look forward to speaking with you.