Riverside Domestic Violence Attorney
When conflicts with relationships erupt into acts of domestic violence, there can be legal consequences. In Riverside, California, family law allows victims of abuse to obtain a protective order against their abusers. Often the assumption is that the conflict between two parties would have to escalate into physical harm. In actuality, there are several other behaviors that the state of California considers to be domestic violence as well. Any acts that involve threats against a person’s safety, verbal abuse, sexual assault, continued harassment, stalking, destroying personal property, and even impersonation, when used to harm or intimidate, are all considered examples of domestic violence.
Obtaining a restraining order against a person who has committed acts of domestic violence is critical to ensuring that the victim is protected against further harm. It can also go a long way towards helping them obtain closure and healing. When a restraining order is granted, it could have a long reach. It can require the restrained to:
- Avoid any contact with the victim and their family members
- Force them to move out and seek a new residence
- Bar them from obtaining a gun
- Return certain property
- Impact child custody agreements, and even require them to pay for spousal or child support, depending on the situation, among other things.
The key fact to remember is that domestic violence is against the law, and as such, the law provides those who’ve suffered from it with legal recourse to fight back. In addition to being forced to abide by the restraining order, anyone found guilty of domestic violence in California will face serious consequences.
Unfortunately, in some cases, the conflict between two parties escalates in other ways, with one party attempting to manipulate the situation in their favor. Domestic violence cases are considered to be extremely serious in the state of California, and any attempts to weaponize the system against them by making false accusations to secure a restraining order will not be tolerated. At the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey, we provide legal representation for clients needing protective orders and those disputing a pending or existing restraining order. Time is of the essence, regardless of your specific need as it relates to domestic violence allegations.
What Usually Happens in a Domestic Violence Case?
If there is sufficient evidence that proves acts of domestic violence have been committed to file criminal charges, police officers may choose to move forward with an arrest. Alternatively, officers responding to an emergency involving a physical altercation may opt to arrest the abuser at that moment. In fact, most cases against domestic abusers originate from 911 emergency phone calls alerting police to the situation. Once they’ve arrived at the scene and dealt with any immediate threats of danger, including separating any parties involved, police officers are required to conduct a thorough investigation.
This includes documenting any evidence, such as broken furniture, torn items of clothing, or bloodstains. Police will also conduct interviews with anyone involved, including witnesses, to get a better understanding of the situation. If they determine that they have probable cause, they will move forward with an arrest.
Following a domestic violence arrest, the police will ask the purported victim if they want an emergency protective order (EPO). Some victims decline, but that does not stop the courts from imposing a temporary restraining order (TRO) at the arraignment. They can also override the will of the protected party, impose “no contact” for the couple, and require attendance at a 10-week Personal Empowerment Program (PEP) for the supposed victim before modifying or lifting the order.
However, it’s important to understand that victims of domestic violence do not have to wait for a more serious incident to take place before seeking out help. A 911 call is not a requirement to press charges against a domestic abuser or obtain a protective order. In fact, if acts of domestic violence have been committed, it is critical to obtain assistance as soon as possible to prevent the situation from becoming worse. Working alongside a Riverside domestic violence attorney allows victims to be granted the necessary legal guidance to determine how best to move forward.
One way that Riverside domestic violence lawyer Catherine A. Schwartz can help protect victims of domestic violence is through a restraining order. If there is at least one incident of violence or harassment, an order will be issued. At the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey, we attend to every detail in the pursuit of a restraining order, including drafting paperwork and attending the court hearings on behalf of our clients.
It is natural to remain uncertain or afraid even after a restraining order has been granted. There is no guarantee that the abuser will follow the terms outlined in the order. That is why in addition to establishing several rules that help to protect victims of domestic assault, restraining orders impose strict penalties on anyone who breaches those rules. Violating a restraining order has severe consequences, whether the order was wanted or unwanted. The bail bond or own-recognizance status could be revoked. Some violations lead to additional prosecution and jail time. Noncitizens can be deported. In divorce matters, judges can impose severe penalties and view the alleged abuser more critically.
How Do Most Domestic Violence Cases End?
While the particulars of every case are different, in California, most domestic violence cases are resolved before going to trial. This is because there is generally more than sufficient evidence to confirm the charges, which in turn compels the accused to settle outside of court by accepting the guilty verdict and making a plea bargain. While this can result in a lesser charge or reduced penalty, it does not mean that the accused is left without consequences. For instance, depending on the situation, a felony may be downgraded to a misdemeanor. However, a misdemeanor is still a serious crime that will remain on their criminal record for the rest of their life. In addition, other consequences of a domestic abuse charge, including the terms of the restraining order, remain in force.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Domestic Violence Case?
Being the victim of domestic abuse is a harrowing ordeal, and attempting to deal with the particulars involved in amassing evidence, preparing your case, and filing for a protective order can exacerbate the trauma. In addition, without the proper legal background, it is possible to commit errors in the process, causing delays that could put the person’s safety at risk. With the help of an experienced attorney, it is far easier to overcome the obstacles associated with a restraining order. The legal team at the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey has extensive experience handling such cases and can do so with tact and professionalism, ensuring that our clients are not forced to endure additional, unnecessary distress throughout the legal proceedings.
What Are the Consequences of a Domestic Violence Charge in California?
The exact consequences involved in a domestic violence case often depend on how the accused is charged. Factors considered when determining the nature of the charge include the accused’s history, taking into account if this was a more isolated incident or part of a pattern of abuse, the severity of any injuries or trauma sustained by the victim, and whether they opted to make a plea bargain.
Domestic battery is considered a misdemeanor offense and generally involves up to a year spent in county jail, a maximum fine of $2,000, and misdemeanor probation. During the period of probation, the person must attend a 1-year program designed to rehabilitate those who have committed battery in the past. In some cases, the accused are ordered to make a substantial donation to a shelter for victims of domestic abuse or cover the expenses of the person they harmed instead of paying the fine.
A charge of corporal injury to a spouse or intimate partner can be categorized as a misdemeanor or a felony. If it is considered a misdemeanor offense, penalties would include up to a year of jail time and a maximum fine of $6,000. If it is considered a felony instead, the accused would face up to 4 years in state prison, along with the maximum fine of $6,000. The court also takes the person’s criminal history into account. If they have been found guilty of another felony within the past seven years, the consequences could be upgraded to five years in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
To gain a better understanding of the entire process, requirements, and consequences involved in cases of domestic assault, it is critical to obtain legal guidance from a knowledgeable, trustworthy source. Knowing what to expect can go a long way towards granting you the peace of mind you need to heal from your past experiences. For more information, contact the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey at 951-338-5962 to schedule a free initial consultation. Our office is located on the corner of Arlington and Magnolia in Riverside. For the convenience of our clients, we accept appointments in the evenings and on weekends and accept all major credit cards.
- Divorce/Legal Separation
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- Same-Sex Divorce/Domestic Partnerships
- Ex Parte Emergency Hearings
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- Grandparents' Rights
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- Domestic Violence
- Restraining Orders/Protective Orders
- Child Custody/Visitation
- How Domestic Violence Affects Custody