The phrase or terms ‘domestic violence’ cover a large array of potential crimes and criminal charges. The terms generally refer to alleged criminal conduct involving two or more people who, at the very least, have had or are currently having a “dating relationship”, but often involves married couples or couples who have had children together. The alleged crime may range from a misdemeanor battery under Penal Code section 243, punishable by up to a year in jail, to a felony under Penal Code section 273.5, punishable by up to 4 years or more in state prison. Domestic violence may also include any violent crime involving other penal code sections like 245 – assault with or without a weapon – and murder or attempted murder. The more serious the harm often leads to charges involving greater punishment and often in cases involving serious bodily harm or injury, a charge under Penal Code section 12022.7 is added which can expose one to an additional 5-year prison term.
Domestic violence charges are very serious and anyone charged with this type of crime or crimes should get a lawyer who is experienced in this area of law and most importantly has real trial experience involving experts and detailed cross-examination, because this is the type of crime where emotional responses by alleged victims as a result of perhaps years of issues within relationships can skew or influence truthful accounts of what occurred. A thorough and detailed investigation with sound preparation can often result in revelations that undercut the stories that victims tell police officers and prosecutors.