Why You Need a Domestic Violence Lawyer in San Diego
Domestic violence is a very serious legal matter. Whether you are the victim of domestic violence or have been charged with a domestic violence complaint, you need to understand the factors that will influence your case. The Law Office of Bradley R. Corbett is experienced in offering both legal counsel and defense for cases of domestic violence in San Diego. When it comes to something this important, don’t take the risk of attempting to defend your case on your own.
This video from Bradley Corbett can be the first step in understanding your case.
What is Domestic Violence?
The first step in determining your best course of action in a domestic violence case is to have a solid understanding of San Diego domestic violence laws. The first aspect of domestic violence cases is the relationship between the plaintiff (the person who is bringing the case to the court) and the defendant (the person who is responding to the case). In California, a domestic relationship is defined by CA Penal Code §273.5. This says that the victim of domestic violence is at least one of the following:
- The offender’s spouse or former spouse.
- The offender’s cohabitant or former cohabitant.
- The offender’s fiancé or fiancée, or someone with whom the offender has, or previously had, an engagement or dating relationship (as defined in paragraph  of subdivision [f] of Section 243).
If none of these conditions are met, the domestic violence charges cannot apply. Regardless, it is important to remember that it is still unlawful for any person to inflict any violent injury on another.
If there is a domestic relationship involved by the definition above, any of the following actions are considered to be domestic abuse:
- Intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury
- Sexual assault
- Making someone have a real fear of getting hurt or having the fear of someone else getting hurt.
Other behaviors defined by Penal Code § 6320 can also be classified as domestic abuse. This includes:
- Sexually assaulting (any sexual contact or action without consent)
- Battering (harmful or offensive contact without the other person’s consent)
- Destroying personal property
- Disturbing the peace
Domestic violence focuses mainly on couples who are in, or have been in, a relationship with each other, but there’s more than that. Child abuse (Penal Code §273d), child endangerment (Penal Code §273a), elder abuse (Penal Code §368) and criminal threats (Penal Code §422) are all forms of domestic violence in California.
Domestic Violence Defense
Unfortunately, many people are wrongfully accused of domestic violence, particularly when heated child custody and divorce battles are part of the picture. If you’ve been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, an experienced domestic violence lawyer can help you take control of the situation and secure your future.
When choosing legal representation, it’s important to hire a lawyer who is familiar with the local courts. Bradley Corbett is one of the best San Diego domestic violence attorneys, and has won domestic violence cases in every courtroom in San Diego County.
When defending against domestic violence, it’s important to know the definitions, because it must meet the relationship and injury requirements in order to hold up in court. If the complaint does not meet both of those requirements, there is no grounds for a domestic violence charge. If the complaint meets both of these requirements, there are grounds for a case, but that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for the defendant.
Two of the most common defenses for domestic violence cases are self-defense and de minimis infractions.
Self-defense justifies the use of physical force against the plaintiff and argues that their use of force was necessary to protect themselves against the plaintiff’s use of unlawful physical force.
De minimis infractions assert that the physical injuries being presented to the court are too minor and trivial to be considered a criminal offense.
Even if you are wrongfully accused of domestic violence, it is essential that you abide by any court-issued restraining orders that precede a full trial. Not following these orders and mandates may lead to further complications in your case. It is better to follow them and have a few weeks of discomfort, rather than breaking them and have a lifelong criminal record.
Outcomes of Domestic Violence Cases
There are several possible outcomes for domestic violence cases. If the defendant is found guilty of domestic violence, the primary goal of the plaintiff is to seek protection for themselves and any children from the abuser. This usually comes in the form of a restraining order (which usually lasts up to three years) and loss of child custody for the abuser.
In more severe cases, a criminal protective order or “stay-away” order may be issued which lasts for three years after the case is over. Additionally, the victim may seek out emergency family maintenance funds to assist in leaving the abusive situation.
California Domestic Violence Penalties
For the defendant, being found guilty in a domestic violence case is a very serious matter. Most counties in California require a minimum of 30 days in jail and three years of probation, even for first-time offenders. Additionally, almost all guilty defendants are required to complete a 52-week batterer’s program and pay a $400 fee to fund domestic violence programs. Defendants who are found guilty can face up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine for a domestic violence misdemeanor.
Defendants convicted of a domestic violence felony can be held responsible to pay for hospital bills, and are subject to several years of probation and even a prison term, based on the severity of the victim’s injuries.
In California, a domestic violence charge becomes a part of one’s permanent record, making it difficult to find employment and housing.
This is why it’s so important to find the right attorney for your case. As a San Diego domestic violence lawyer, Bradley has won “not guilty” verdicts in every courthouse in San Diego County. Whether you’ve been charged with a crime or falsely accused, we can help you take control of your future by fighting back.
Domestic Violence Facts and Statistics
Regardless of trial outcomes, it’s important for everyone to acknowledge that domestic violence is a serious problem, both nationally and within our San Diego communities. Both men and women can be victims of domestic violence, while children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to abuse.
In the United States, one in four women (24.3%) and one in seven men (13.8%) aged 18 and older have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Here are some important statistics to consider:
- On average, 20 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. That’s more than 10 million victims over the course of a year
- Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime
- One in fifteen children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence
- Studies suggest that depression and suicidal behavior can be related to intimate partner violence.
- The cost of intimate partner violence is estimated as being $8.3 billion annually.
Domestic violence is also a significant issue in San Diego. The San Diego Domestic Violence Council reports:
- Over 17,000 domestic violence incidents are reported to law enforcement in the county every year.
- In San Diego County, an estimated 37% of the cases of domestic violence have a child present as either a witness or victim.
Chances are, a friend, neighbor, or loved one in your life has been a victim of domestic violence.
San Diego Domestic Violence Resources
If you are in an abusive or violent situation or relationship, know that there are resources available to help you find a way out. While researching your options, please be cautious and use a computer or phone that your abuser does not have direct or remote access to, such as a computer in a public library or at a trusted friend’s house. Always clear your internet history after searching for domestic violence resources.
If you are in an emergency or in immediate danger, call 911. For domestic abuse guidance, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit www.ndvh.org. For rape and sexual violence, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit www.rainn.org.
If you or a loved one are trying to leave an abusive situation in the San Diego area, contact the Family Justice Center of San Diego for support (866-933-4673). Additionally, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office offers several victim services, including crisis intervention, referral assistance, property return assistance, employer notification, and court support.
Additionally, the following organizations offer shelter and other victim advocacy resources in the San Diego area:
- Becky’s House
- Center for Community Solutions
- Crisis House
- South Bay Community Services
- Women’s Resource Center
- YWCA of San Diego County
Together, we can work towards greater awareness, protection, and prevention in our community.
If you are facing a domestic violence trial in San Diego, the Law Offices of Bradley Corbett will work tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome. Contact our expert criminal defense team today for your free case consultation.