What Happens If You Were Arrested for Domestic Violence?

Posted by Ronald D. HeddingMay 02, 2022

We are often asked what will happen to me if I get arrested for domestic violence in Los Angeles? I've been defending people now for 30 years who are charged with domestic violence cases. 

Those domestic violence charges can take all different shapes and sizes.  You could be charged with Penal Code Section 273.5 PC corporal injury to a spouse.  You could be charged with Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) PC, domestic battery.  You could be charged with Penal Code Section 242 PC battery.

What Happens If You Were Arrested for Domestic Violence?

There's a whole host of charges with domestic violence cases.  For example, sometimes people will hold another person against their will – whether they lock them in a bathroom, grab them or restrain them and won't let them go, pull the phone out of the wall, break their cell phone – and then that person also gets charged with Penal Code 236 PC false imprisonment in addition to the domestic violence-related offense.

Other times, people may commit a sexual offense against an individual that they are allegedly battering under the umbrella of domestic violence or spousal abuse or whatever the authorities call it.

So, when we say what is going to happen – if you're reading this article for the first time – you're going to be arrested if the police determine you battered your significant other and were the aggressor. That's a big issue because sometimes both parties are attacking each other, and then the police have to determine who the more guilty party is, and they call that party the aggressor – the more violent one. 

Usually, the one who wins the fight is declared the aggressor, even though that really might not be the case.  So, they're going to arrest the aggressor. In this article by our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers, we will examine this topic in more detail below.

What Are the Most Common California Domestic Violence Charges?

The Arrest and Booking Process at Jail

If you've already been arrested and looking for an attorney, you know what happens when the police get there on a domestic violence call and someone's been injured – they're going to arrest somebody. 

The second thing is that they will take that person down to the police station and book them for domestic violence.  Then they will figure out what charges they're going to file against this person.  What are they going to book them for?  What are they going to claim they did wrong?

Arrest and Booking Process at Jail

If you're married and get a battery charge against your spouse, they'll book you for Penal Code Section 273.5 PC. Sometimes, they'll book you for Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) if you're not married.

This charge is the battery on someone you're not married to in a domestic violence-type scenario – you're living with the person – whatever the case may be. So, the arrest occurs first.  Secondly, they book you for certain charges, and then they'll hold you in custody until your court date unless you bail out.  So, they're going to set bail on you. 

Most times in LA, if you're arrested for domestic violence, and you probably know this if you've already been arrested, they set the bail at $50,000.00.  Sometimes I see them put the bail at $20,000.00. 

I rarely see them release the person on their own recognizance in a domestic violence situation.  They're usually going to make the person post bail to protect themselves – to show they're tough on domestic violence cases.

Los Angeles County Aggressively Prosecutes Domestic Violence

That's one thing about Los Angeles.  I would say it's one of the toughest counties in the nation when it comes to prosecuting and arresting people for domestic violence.  That's just the way we're set up.  There are thousands of cases every month. 

Many people have issues and arguments, and if they were brought to violence, they're going to end up with a domestic violence charge.  So, if you bail out, they'll usually set your court date about a month away.  Now, with the Coronavirus, it might be further than that.

If you don't bail out, they have to get you to court within a couple of days.  Seventy-two hours is the marker, but usually, it's within a couple of court dates.  Again, if they're claiming that you're quarantined, sometimes that can delay the process of you ending up in court. 

Stay-Away Protective Order

The next thing that's going to happen, once you do appear in court, is that they're going to hit you with a protective order, ordering you to stay away from the person that is your significant other that you supposedly battered while the case is pending.

Stay-Away Protective Order

Sometimes we've been able to challenge that effectively.  But there are many different things that we have to do depending on the type of case you have and how far away your court date is.

We're going to make you do some things leading up to the court date so we can have the best argument so you can stay with the other person if that's what you want to do. 

Maybe you live with them; you have kids – whatever the case may be.  Many people want to stay with their significant other, even though the person was arrested for battery.

Also, the judge can set the bail at the arraignment, which is the first court day.  They can make the bail higher, lower, or leave it the same, which is another reason you want to have an attorney right away to guard against the bail being raised, so you go back into custody if you've posted the bail.

Setting a Court Date and the Discovery Process

The next thing that happens is that a court date will be set.  If you've got an attorney, that attorney will talk to the prosecutor and get all the paperwork, video, or audio related to your case.

They will review it, talk to you about it, and then decide whether the case will be taken to trial or if it's going to be negotiated. Perhaps we can negotiate for reduced charges.

I've given you a thumbnail sketch of what will happen to you if you get arrested for a domestic violence case in Los Angeles.  Some other things we talk about when we meet are the potential punishments, and that's another thing I will address in another segment, but I think you have an idea of what will happen to you.

Your best move is to get an attorney right away.  Let the attorney start working for you and strategize to end up with the best result if you want a meeting with me.  Pick up the phone.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.

I can put my 30 years of experience to work for you.  I worked for the DA's office in the earlier 1990s, and I've also worked for a Superior Court Judge. Finally, in 1994, I opened my practice, the Hedding Law Firm, and I've handled thousands of domestic violence cases.  So, you've come to the right place. We offer a free case evaluation.

Related Content: What If a Domestic Violence Victim Refuses to Testify?