San Diego Domestic Violence Lawyer
Each year, there are more than 12 million victims of domestic violence. However, it is widely speculated that there are many more instances of domestic violence that are prevalent but underreported. San Diego domestic violence statistics are similar to that of much of the country.
Domestic abuse in any form is unacceptable. However, domestic violence cases are typically not simple. Each reported incident is unique. In many cases, charges are filed prematurely or without a reason. If you are currently facing domestic violence charges, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced San Diego domestic violence attorney as soon as possible.
At Bernal Law, our lawyers are dedicated to protecting our client’s legal rights. Contact us or give us a call to discuss your case today. Learn more about San Diego domestic violence below.
Domestic Violence Statistics in San Diego
More than 17,000 incidences of domestic violence are reported in San Diego each year. This includes reports of all types of abuse.
Nationally, reports have indicated that as much as 25 percent of all women and one in nine men have been victims of domestic violence. Due to the complicated nature of most domestic violence cases, the numbers reported are only a fraction of the actual cases of domestic violence in San Diego.
Types of Domestic Violence in San Diego
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one (or both) partners to obtain or maintain control over the other partner. Various forms of abuse are included in the definition of domestic violence to include:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Economic abuse
- Psychological abuse
- Verbal threats
Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence including spouse, intimate partners (dating), family members (related by blood or marriage), children, and roommates. In many cases, courts will issue protective orders for those that are suspected of being in imminent danger. This can cause displacement, even for those that are wrongly accused.
What Does Domestic Assault Mean?
A person that intentionally causes physical injury to another person commits an assault. Domestic assault occurs when a person physically harms or threatens to harm a family member or another person living with them. Domestic assault charges can be enhanced if there are previous convictions of domestic violence in a defendant’s past.
How Does Domestic Violence Affect The Victim?
Domestic violence often has a major impact on the lives of victims. Not only can it put them in physical danger, but it can also cause mental health challenges, economic disparity, drug abuse, and many other long-term consequences.
In addition to the victim, domestic violence in San Diego often affects the entire family. It can create a hostile environment in any household and breed fear of the abuser. It can also tear a family apart. In many cases, judges issue protective orders, place children in child protective custody, etc.
What Are The Laws on Domestic Violence?
In the state of California, it is illegal to willfully inflict corporal injury resulting in traumatic condition or visible physical injury upon a spouse, fellow parent, or cohabitant (Penal Code 273.5 – Corporal Injury to Spouse).
The more commonly charged offense is Penal Code 243 – Domestic Battery. This includes acts of domestic abuse that do not produce a visible physical injury. Additionally, there are many other related offenses that stem from domestic violence.
Understanding and applying all domestic violence laws by yourself can be difficult and leave you vulnerable to an unfavorable ruling. Trust your freedom with a proven San Diego domestic violence lawyer.
Penalties For Domestic Violence
Domestic violence charges (PC 273.5) are considered “wobbler offenses.” They can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the details of the case and prior criminal records. If charged as a misdemeanor, defendants potentially face up to one year in jail, fines as high as $6,000, and probation. If charged as a felony, punishment can include up to four years in prison and up to $6,000 in fines.
Penal Code 243(e) can only be charged as a misdemeanor. Those convicted face a maximum of a one-year jail sentence and fines no greater than $2,000. If convicted of any charges stemming from domestic violence, defendants can lose their freedom, a lot of money, and their family.
What if I am a First-Time Offender?
In most cases, accusations of domestic violence are taken seriously and prosecuted viciously. However, if convicted (without prior offenses on your record), a judge may rule in favor of a lighter sentence or probation only.
The outcome will largely depend on the severity of injuries caused, criminal history, and the ability of your San Diego domestic violence attorney to advocate for your rights, negotiate with the prosecution, and present a compelling argument to the court.
Can My Domestic Violence Case be Dismissed?
No reputable San Diego domestic violence lawyer will guarantee that your case will be dismissed. However, there are instances that warrant the dismissal of charges if there is not sufficient evidence to substantiate the claims. Those charged with domestic violence in San Diego have the right to fight the charges. An experienced San Diego domestic violence attorney can substantially increase your chances of having charges reduced or dropped.
When to Call a San Diego Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you have been charged with domestic violence in San Diego, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney that you can trust as soon as possible. There are many instances of claims being made against defendants that were not viable or true. Do not take the risk of representing yourself, or a court-appointed lawyer if you do not have to. Contact Bernal Law for your initial, no-obligation consultation today.