the criminal justice system comes to your living room you need an
attorney to defend you. Even if your arrest was just a misunderstanding.
Once a defendant is convicted the state of California has the power
to come into their home to tell them what to do, and it is going
to try to exert that power. When a person is arrested for domestic
violence the state has one foot in the door.
you get convicted of domestic violence the probation department
will supervise you for at least three years. If you dont do
what they tell you to their satisfaction you may end up back in
jail or wearing an orange Sheriffs Department vest picking
up trash for 10 days or more. You must pay fees for the privilege
of serving your time through SWAP. Judges, probation officers and
the people who run the mandatory batterers programs have little
patience with people on probation. They expect you to put compliance
with the conditions of your probation ahead of your job, your property,
supporting your family, and keeping a roof over your head. They
would rather you became homeless than fail to meet your probationary
obligations. They are suspicious and want documentation of medical
appointments, jobs, program attendance, etc.
give up a number of rights while they are on probation. There is
the risk that your partner will falsely accuse you of a new incident
of domestic violence the next time they get mad at you. If they
call the police on you again you will be in a lot of trouble. A
judge will decide whether you broke the law or not, based on a more
likely than not standard. It is not uncommon for a defendant to
show up in court for a case status report and for the district attorney
to stand up and ask for them to be remanded into custody based on
a new police report alleging a violation of a restraining order
or a new incident of violence. Next thing you know the judge is
looking at a police report your attorney has just seen a few minutes
ago. When this happens there is a chance that you will go back to
jail for a week, two weeks or longer, until the judge holds a hearing
on the new incident.
you are already on probation for a case beware of discussing the
facts of the new case with your probation officer. Insist that you
have to talk to a lawyer before you talk to them about it, and you
are asserting your constitutional right to remain silent.
of domestic violence may also be subjected to the courts processes.
The district attorney can threaten to prosecute a victim who recants
(changes their story about the domestic incident in a way that helps
the defendant) for perjury. A judge can hold a victim who refuses
to testify against the defendant in contempt and send them to 72
hours of domestic violence counseling. If the victim still refuses
to testify Code of Civil Procedure section 1219(c) gives the judge
the authority to put the victim in jail. The marital privilege to
not testify does not apply where defendants spouse or child
is a victim. If the victim is absent and unavailable to testify
at a misdemeanor trial the prosecution will often try to introduce
statements the victim made around the time of the incident. The
defense may be able to keep these statements from coming into evidence
using the 2004 Crawford v. Washington U.S. Supreme Court case (124
you own guns and are convicted of domestic violence you will not
be able to own guns while you are on probation. You will have to
sell the guns to a licensed gun dealer or give the weapon to the
police. The police can seize any guns in your possession when they
arrest you for domestic violence offenses.