Contrary to popular belief, in California, the prosecutors, not the victims, decide whether to file or drop a domestic violence charge. Many California prosecutors uphold a “no drop” policy—meaning even if the victim does not want to press charges, they will not drop the case.
If you have been accused of domestic abuse in California, your case is unlikely to be dropped by the prosecutor. When you partner with an Aron Law Firm Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyer, they help ensure you are ready for court by preparing a solid defense strategy for your case and acting as a pillar of support throughout the legal process.
What Is a No Drop Policy and Why Do California Prosecutors Follow It?
Ever since the O.J. Simpson murder trials, California has taken a hard stance on domestic violence cases. For some prosecutors, the No Drop Policy protects victims who are too scared of facing abuse or lost financial support after testifying. For others, it is a matter of deterring victims from falsifying reports of domestic abuse.
Although the effectiveness of No Drop Policies in California has been debated for decades, they still hold firm. A primary reason for this is many prosecuting agencies think it is better to let a domestic violence case go to trial because a jury may be more objective and offer an unbiased opinion.
A criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you fight your California domestic violence charges by using particular defense strategies, such as arguing a lack of criminal intent or that your actions were justified based on certain circumstances.
Potential Consequences for a Domestic Violence Conviction in California
Any willful and unlawful touching of a current or former spouse, romantic partner, cohabitant, child, or parent of your child may result in a charge for domestic violence under California Penal Code Section 243(e) or California Penal Code Section 273.5. Domestic abuse is a “wobbler” crime in California. Essentially, any domestic violence accusation may result in either a misdemeanor or felony charge.
A domestic violence conviction in California may come with consequences, including but not limited to:
- Community service
- Completion of a 52-week domestic abuse counseling program
- Paying restitution to the victim
- Deportation (if the defendant is not a US citizen)
In many domestic violence cases, California judges will also issue protective orders to prevent future contact with the alleged victim.
California domestic violence laws also say that if you are convicted of domestic abuse, you cannot own guns or ammunition for up to 10 years after your conviction (this also applies if you were convicted in another state).
Even an otherwise spotless criminal history can be forever stained by a single domestic violence charge. Often, just one conviction will cause disputes with state professional licensing boards or affect housing and employment prospects.
Contact a Skilled Domestic Violence Lawyer to Defend Your Case in California
If you have been charged with domestic violence, contact a criminal defense lawyer right away. Your attorney will help you build a solid case against the charges while working to safeguard your rights and interests.
Defending a domestic violence charge in California is often a challenge, but it is not one that we are afraid to take on. At Aron Law Firm, we have refined our trial skills over numerous types of criminal cases, and we are prepared to fight for you. To schedule a meeting with an Aron Law Firm criminal defense attorney today, call (805) 618-1768 or fill out and submit our contact form.