An injury is not required in a “domestic violence” case. There are misdemeanor and felony domestic violence (DV) charges. The most common misdemeanor DV charge is California Penal Code PC 243(e)(1) commonly called spousal battery – it is an unlawful use of force or violence against a spouse or someone whom you have had a dating relationship. It can be simply a rude or angry touching without injury. That could be a pushing or grabbing where no marks are left. The felony DV charge is commonly referred to as spousal abuse with injury per PC 273.5(a) The difference is the injury. Often time, if the injury is minor like redness, minor bruising or other minor injury, the District Attorney will file the felony charge as a misdemeanor PC 273.5(a) per 17(b)(4).
Both of these charges carry potential custody as misdemeanors 0 to 1 year, (felony DV carries 0 to 4 years in prison), probation, 52 week DV anger management program, possible restraining orders, and fines if convicted. Once the police are involved the individuals loose control of the case and it becomes a law enforcement case and referred to the D.A.’s office for review and filing. Many times the “victim” spouse wants to drop charges, but they are no longer in control. If the D.A. feel they have a provable case based on things like the 911 call, statements to the officers, witness statements, photos etc, then the case will be filed and a restraining order and stay away issued at the first Court date unless the “victim” is present and asks that no restraining order be issued. The Court still may issue it depending on the facts and background of the individuals involved. The “victim” does have input in the resolution, but doesn’t control it.
It is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away so that the attorney can give you a realistic apparaisal of the case and the attorney may be able to contact and provide additional information to the DA before the case is issued, including a “victim statement” that may cause the DA to reject and not file the case. These charges are serious and can have long term effects on employment, vocational licenses, immigration, and especially on spousal support, child custody and visitation. Call experienced criminal defense attorneys Nicholas and William Christoph at 760-941-5720 for a free consultation. Christoph Law Offices have been providing the higherst level of personal and professional representation for over 30 years across from Vista Courts.