California Penal Code §273.5, is a felony wobbler to intentionally inflict bodily injury resulting in a “traumatic condition” upon a spouse, a cohabitant or a mother or father one’s child. The same rule applies for a former spouse and former cohabitant. Individuals who are accused of this type of crime are not only at risk of having felonies on their records, but they are also at risk of facing serious consequences, such as jail time, years in prison or fines costing thousands of dollars. Furthermore, being accused of abusing a spouse or significant other can greatly damage a person’s reputation and family life.
It is important for Los Angeles residents to be aware of California’s laws regarding abuse that involves spouses, cohabitants and individuals of similar intimacy levels. The Khachatourians Law Group is a Los Angeles based attorneys who specialize in domestic violence criminal charges alleged under Penal Code §273.5. Some individuals end up facing unfair criminal charges due to false or exaggerated statements made by others. With the help of a strong attorney, it might be possible for you to get your charges reduced or dismissed, allowing you to better protect your license, profession, and future.
Understanding the Components of Penal Code §273.5
This section of California’s penal code makes it illegal to inflict bodily injury that causes a “traumatic condition” against the types of individuals mentioned. A traumatic condition is defined as a condition of the body—for example, a wound or an internal or external injury—that is caused by physical force. These types of injuries can include those caused by strangulation or suffocation. Even if the traumatic condition is minor, charges under this code section can still apply. It is also important to note that it is not necessary for a cohabitant under this section to be the alleged abuser’s husband or wife. A father or mother under this section is considered the natural parent of a child.
Penalties After Conviction for Penal Code 273.5
This felony offense carries very serious penalties in the state of California. Upon a first conviction of violating Penal §273.5, a person can receive the following: up one year in county jail, or two to four years in state prison; or a fine of up to $6,000; or both a fine and imprisonment. Individuals who have previously been accused of certain violent crimes within the past seven years—including specified types of battery, sexual battery and assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm—can end up being imprisoned for longer periods. They can also be faced with fines of up to $10,000.
In some cases, a person convicted of this violating §273.5 might be able to receive probation instead of imprisonment. When this happens, the defendant is subject to a minimum probation period of three years. The probation will include requirements, such as paying at least $500 (used toward domestic violence programs) and attending counseling. If the defendant is given probation in lieu of a fine, he or she might be required to instead make payments to a battered shelter (up to $5,000) and/or reimburse the victim for counseling and other expenses that resulted from the offense. If the probationer has previous violent crime convictions (as specified above), that individual could still be forced to spend time in jail—at least 15 days upon one prior conviction, or at least 60 days for two more prior convictions.
In these types of cases, the court can issue a restraining order against the defendant, which will prevent that individual from having any contact with the victim for a designated period of time. The length of time given for such an order, which can last up to 10 years, depends on the seriousness of the offense.
OBTAINING A STRONG LOS ANGELES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAWYER
If you were accused of abusing a spouse, live-in girlfriend or live-in boyfriend or the other parent of your child, you can be facing some serious consequences. You might have been falsely accused, or perhaps you simply made a one-time mistake and are searching for a way to minimize the charges and penalties you are facing. Regardless of your situation, it is vital that you contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible. Contact our office, Khachatourians Law Group, as soon as possible so we can provide you with legal assistance you need to effectively challenge your charges.
Can Domestic Violence Charges be Dropped?
When an alleged victim reports an instance of domestic abuse to the police department, the victim becomes a witness for the State. It is not up to the victim to decide whether or not to prosecute or press charges. Therefore, the victim is also not responsible for dropping the charges. Only the State prosecutor has the ability to drop the abuse charges. There are times when, in the heat of a moment, an individual reports domestic violence when it did not actually happen. This can be very serious as it is difficult to retract these allegations.
With experience both in the state and federal court, Attorney Khachatourians is an experienced and determined domestic violence defense attorney. If you have been charged with domestic violence, you need a professional and skilled Los Angeles domestic abuse attorney to help you through this difficult time.
WHAT CAN I DO?
In order to request that the domestic abuse charge be stopped before it goes to court, the first thing to do is prepare a written request. A letter must be submitted to the prosecutor with the case information. If you tell the prosecutor the allegations were false, you may be charged for filing a false report. Following the written request, you will have to meet with the prosecutor and attend the court hearing to learn if the judge accepted the dismissal.
If you were falsely accused of domestic violence and wish to attempt to have the charges dropped, contact the Khachatourians Law Group. We have experience in every area of domestic violence cases, including: Battery, Child endangerment, Criminal threats, Sexual battery, Spousal abuse, and Stalking. For more information on how we can help you, contact a Los Angeles domestic violence attorney from our firm as soon as possible.
MISDEMEANOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGAINST A SPOUSE OR CO-HABITANT
In Los Angeles County, when the police are notified of a domestic violence dispute, the investigating officers will virtually always make an arrest. If the arresting officer feels that the Defendant may subject the alleged victim to fear of immediate and present danger of domestic violence, the arresting officer will also issue an Emergency Protective Order.
EMERGENCY PROTECTIVE ORDERS
An Emergency Protective Order will restrain the Defendant from the following conduct: (1) Defendant will not be allowed to return to his or her place of residence where the alleged battered spouse or partner resides; (2) Defendant must not contact, molest, harass, attack, strike, threaten, sexually assault, batter, telephone or message to, follow, stalk, destroy any personal property of, disturb the peace of, or take any action to obtain the location of the battered person; and (3) Defendant must stay away at least 100 years from each person listed in the Emergency CLETS Restraining Order.
When an Emergency Protective Order has been issued, the Defendant’s name is imputed in police data base system known as the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS). CLETS allow the police to know whether there is a restraining order issued against the defendant. If an Emergency Protective Order has been issued by the arresting officer, the Defendant needs to comply with the terms of the CLETS Order. A violation of the Emergency Protective Order by the Defendant will subject the Defendant to a subsequent arrest as well as additional criminal counts.
INFORMATION FOR LOS ANGELES DEFENDANTS
When the Defendant is arrested for domestic violence, the Defendant will be held in custody until he or she is taken to court or until the Defendant posts bail. If the Defendant posts bail, his arraignment for domestic violence will be in 3 to 4 weeks. If the defendant does not post bail, he will be taken to court for his arraignment within 2 days (excluding weekends and court holidays). It is in the Defendant’s best interest to post bail and hire an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to advocate to the prosecuting agency to either reject the case or reduce the case to a misdemeanor prior to a criminal filing.
In general, the prosecuting agency will need to make a determination on the following: 1) dismiss the case for insufficiency of evidence; 2) set the case for informal dispute resolution; 3) file the case as a misdemeanor pursuant to California Penal Code 243(e)(1); 4) file the case as a misdemeanor pursuant to California Penal Code 273.5; 5) filed the case as a felony pursuant to California Penal Code 273.5; or 6) file the case under another applicable code section. The prosecution will look to a number of factors as to whether to file the case as a misdemeanor or a felony, including but not limited to, the defendant’s prior criminal history of domestic violence, the defendant’s prior arrests, and the degree of injuries suffered by the victim.
MISDEMEANOR OFFENSES IN LOS ANGELES
In general, if the victim has no visible injuries, the prosecutor will file the case as a misdemeanor under California Penal Code section 243(e)(1). Unlike California Penal Code 273.5, where the prosecutor is required to prove a “traumatic condition,” California Penal Code 243(e)(1) does not require injuries. California Penal Code section 243(e)(1) is the most common type of misdemeanor case for domestic violence. To satisfy the crime of domestic battery under California Penal Code 243(e)(1), the prosecutor just needs to prove that the defendant willfully and unlawfully touched the battered person in a harmful or offensive manner, the victim was the spouse, a cohabitant, a parent of the defendant’s child, former spouse, fiancé, or fiancee, or a person with whom the defendant currently has or previously had a dating or intimate relationship with, and the defendant did not act in self defense or in defense of another person.
For purposes of California Penal Code section 243(e)(1), someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. The prosecutor does not need to prove that the Defendant injured the victim, just that the defendant intended to cause a touching that was either harmful or offensive. The slightest touching caused by the defendant can be enough to commit a battery if it is done in a rude or angry way. Making contact with another person, including through his or her clothing, is enough. California Penal Code 243(e)(1) does not require the touching to cause pain or injury of any kind. Penal Code Sections 243(e)(1) is routinely filed in Los Angeles county for minor domestic violence cases. Arthur Khachatourians is a Los Angeles domestic violence lawyer who represents clients accused of domestic violence throughout the several Los Angeles courthouses. If you have been arrested or charged with domestic violence in violation of California Penal Code section 243(e)(1), contact Khachatourians Law Group for a free criminal defense consultation.