Crimes of domestic violence are some of the most emotionally challenging cases. Often, given the strained relationship between the parties, issues of bias, exaggeration and outright fabrication come into play. Defending against violent crime requires a comprehensive and strategic approach that varies with every case. At the Killedjian Law Corporation, Attorney Melanie Killedjian aggressively defends the rights of men and women charged with domestic violence offenses. For more than two decades, we have successfully defended clients facing some of the most serious domestic violence charges, helping our clients move on with their lives after their arrest.What Is Domestic Violence in California?
Under California Penal Code § 13700, domestic violence refers to any act of abuse committed against a “spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.” In this context, abuse is defined as an intentional or reckless act that either caused or was intended to cause injury or place someone in fear of being injured. There are several domestic violence charges in California, the most common of which include:
- Domestic battery (§ 243(e)(1))
- Inflicting corporal injury upon a current or former spouse or partner (§ 273.5)
- Inflicting corporal injury upon a child (§ 273d)
- Child endangerment (§ 273a)
- Criminal threats (§ 422)
- Stalking (§ 646.9)
Regardless of whether a domestic violence offense is graded as a misdemeanor or felony, the consequences of a conviction can be life-changing.Are Domestic Violence Crimes Felonies?
Not always. In California, some domestic violence crimes are felonies, but many are “wobbler offenses.” A wobbler offense is a crime that can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Initially, prosecutors make the charging decision; however, judges also have the discretion to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor at various stages, including at a preliminary hearing and at sentencing. Importantly, a judge does not necessarily need to abide by the prosecutor’s decision on how to charge an offense.
Both prosecutors and judges may consider reducing a felony domestic violence charge to a misdemeanor if there are mitigating circumstances. An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can be instrumental in reducing your exposure by presenting mitigating evidence in hopes of convincing the prosecutor or judge to reduce a wobbler felony to a misdemeanorConsequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction
Those convicted of a domestic violence crime face the possibility of imprisonment, as well as probation, fines, and court costs. However, in addition to the criminal consequences of a domestic violence conviction, there are also severe collateral consequences of a conviction. A collateral consequence is not considered part of a person’s punishment but can have an equally adverse impact on their life. For example, if you are convicted of a DV crime, you will very likely lose your right to own a gun for the rest of your life.
A domestic violence conviction can also have adverse immigration consequences. For example, many domestic violence offenses are considered “aggravated felonies” or “crimes of moral turpitude,” which result in mandatory deportation for non-citizens.
Suffering a domestic violence conviction may also make it harder for you to get a job, enroll in school or obtain certain professional certifications.Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Domestic Violence Defense Attorney to Start Fighting Your Case
If you were recently charged with a family violence offense in California, it is imperative that you immediately start working on a compelling defense. At the Killedjian Law Corporation, we provide our clients with the aggressive and strategic defense required to obtain the best result possible. Attorney Melanie Killedjian has been defending the rights of clients charged with domestic battery, child abuse and sex crimes for more than two decades and understands what it takes to mount a successful defense. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Melanie Killedjian at the Killedjian Law Corporation, call (818) 986-0888 today. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.