If you are currently facing domestic violence charges in California you may not be overly concerned about the charges if you were only charged with a misdemeanor offense. After all, the maximum jail time is a year and most first time offenders get probation right? While this may be the case most of the time, there is no guarantee that you will avoid a term of incarceration. Of equal importance, however, are some of the non-judicial consequences of a domestic violence conviction. Once you realize the true extent of the penalties that typically stem from a domestic violence conviction you will hopefully understand why it is so important to defend domestic violence charges.
Domestic violence can be charged under a variety of statutes in California depending on the circumstances of the case. The most common charges are Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant and Domestic Battery. Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant is what is known as a “wobbler” in California, meaning it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of the felony version you face two, three, or four years in prison. Domestic battery is a misdemeanor charge which carries up to a year in prison.
While the threat of a prison term or a lengthy term of probation should be enough reason to mount the best defense possible, there are additional ramifications of a domestic battery conviction that can also provide you with reason to defend yourself. Consider some of those consequences:
- Inability to own or carry a firearm – this means you cannot be employed as a police officer, security guard or join the military. If you are currently in the military, it could end your career.
- Deportable offense – if you are not a U.S. citizen, a domestic violence conviction could prevent you from ever becoming one and could lead to your deportation as it is considered a crime of “moral turpitude”.
- Loss of employment – many employers will not hire you if you have a domestic violence conviction, especially if it is for a felony.
- Interference with custody or visitation – judges will consider a history of domestic violence in the home or marriage when making custody determinations and when considering visitation arrangements.
For many, the non-judicial consequences of a domestic violence conviction are every bit is troublesome, if not more so, than the judicial punishment handed down by the court. If you have been charged with domestic violence in California, consult an experienced California criminal defense attorney right away.
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