Domestic Violence Batterer’s Intervention Program – California Penal Code 1203.097
This has to do with a domestic violence-related offense. The legislature has mandated that anyone who is convicted of a domestic violence-related offense — and that can be a number of Penal Code Sections — like Penal Code Section 273.5, Penal Code 243(e)(1), Penal Code Section 242 — all of these Penal Code Sections will trigger this batterer’s intervention program. It’s a 52-week course. You can go online. They’re all over the place, and it’s not just in California. These are nationwide.
So, a lot of times I’ll have clients who commit domestic violence-related offenses in California in one of the Los Angeles courts for example and they live in a different state, so they’re going to be on a misdemeanor probation which will allow them to go back to their home state.
So, the question comes up, will they have to do their year-long domestic violence program in the particular jurisdiction where the case occurred, and the answer is usually no. They can do it in a court-approved program in their home state and usually the way that works is.
For example, let’s say you have a domestic violence-related offense in Van Nuys or San Fernando courthouses, what you’re going to do is go to the bottom floor of each of those courthouses and there’s an office there and you can sign up for your domestic violence program.
If you get to court to tell the office that you’re allowed to do it in your home state, let’s say New Mexico for example, then they’re going to tell you which programs are approved in New Mexico and you coordinate doing the program in your home state and then that gets back through the domestic violence counseling center for the courthouse where your case is pending, the judge sees it and then you’re good.
Progress Reports for Probation
A lot of times, as a courtesy to my clients, I will take the paperwork in for each progress report to show proof that the person is progressing in their batterer’s or domestic violence intervention program until it’s completed and then you don’t have to appear in court usually anymore because that is usually the longest term and condition of anybody’s probation and domestic violence case.
But if you go on the internet and start looking around, you’ll see throughout California there’s these domestic violence programs, and basically what it is is a course, classes where people are being educated on how to control their temper. A lot of times people can’t control themselves.
They get angry with their significant other which is common in relationships and they don’t know how to deal with that angry so they will resort to violence in order to deal with their angry. So, what these programs are supposed to be designed to do is to teach you how to deal with it and cope with that violence so that you won’t physically attack the other person.
You’ll get away from that person and you’ll keep yourself out of harms way so that the police do not come and arrest you again and charge you with a more serious case because now it’s a second-time domestic violence offense and you’re violating your probation, so you’d be looking at a new criminal charge if you were to batter your significant other and the probation violation as well.
Full Protective Orders
So, these batterer’s courses are important also because a lot of times in Los Angeles county the judges are issuing full protective orders against a defendant in a criminal case related to domestic violence, so that means you can’t see your significant other at all.
If you’re caught by the police seeing your significant other or interfering with them in any way, you will violate your probation you will get a new criminal charge.
A lot of times what the judges will do is they will life the full stay-away in the protective order and make it a level one protective order which basically means that you can still see the party, you just can’t do anything violent to them and one of the huge factors that the courts look at is if you’ve substantially done some work in your domestic violence program.
So, if you’ve done half of the 52-week course, you have a pretty strong argument to let the judge lift the full stay-away so you can see your significant other.
If you’re not progressing in your domestic violence program, you have a bunch of absences or you get kicked out of the program, you can pretty much forget getting that protective order lifted.
So, that’s one important thing and that’s why what I do a lot of times in these domestic violence cases is I will have my client start going to the domestic violence classes very early.
Even before they end up going to criminal court so that when we get to criminal court we can try to make a very good pitch to the judge that you shouldn’t have a full stay-away order, that’s where you live, you don’t have the financial means to move to a totally separate area.
But if you’ve got a bunch of domestic violence course classes under your belt going into that first arraignment, it puts you in a much stronger position to try and get a level one protective order where you’re able to still live with your significant other.