Defending Attorneys Charged with Domestic Violence

Posted by Ronald D. HeddingJun 23, 2023

Over the past 30 years, I've defended many attorneys charged with domestic violence cases in Los Angeles. 

This is a crucial time in your life because being arrested, having to post a $50,000.00 bail, and having to appear in court is not only embarrassing, it could have many collateral consequences, including the loss of your professional license to practice law. 

It would be best if you had someone serious.  You need someone who is determined, and you need someone who has experience and has traveled the road you're about to travel. 

I've handled these cases now for over 30 years.  I've worked for the district attorney's office.  I've worked for a superior court judge, and I've worked for the State Bar of California. 

But most important for you is that I've handled hundreds of these cases on the defensive end since the early 1990s.  I know what it takes to be successful.

Review of the Case Details

The first thing we have you do is come in and talk about the case under the cloak of the attorney-client privilege, and we decide what the roadmap will be. What plan will we initiate regarding your case to get you the best possible result?

Domestic Violence Charges in Los Angeles
In domestic violence cases, we need to closely review the details to determine a defense strategy.

Sometimes we're going to fight the case.  We're going to gather evidence.  We're going to investigate, and we're going to be ready to try the case in front of a jury to get you that not-guilty verdict.

Other times, the government and the prosecutors have the evidence against you, and it's a situation where we need to put together a mitigation package with character letters and other things that show that you are a good person. 

We must get moving on this right away and decide right away about what direction we will take. That way, all of our efforts are put into the right strategy. It gives you the peace of mind of taking control of your life and your criminal case.

Another issue that is important for remaining in your home in domestic violence cases is injury.  If the victim has no injury, that puts you in a powerful position to make a reasonable argument to stay in your home while the case is pending in court.

Because most of the time, unless someone's threatening to kill somebody, I see prosecutors struggle to prosecute cases where there's no injury.

Standard Domestic Violence Charges in Los Angeles

Corporal Injury to a Spouse – Penal Code 273.5 PC

California Penal Code 273.5 PC covers the crime of corporal injury to a spouse. It's defined as willfully inflicting a physical injury resulting in a traumatic condition on an intimate partner. Usually, the injuries are visible but could also include internal injuries.

Corporal Injury to a Spouse – Penal Code 273.5 PC
PC 273.5 corporal injury to a spouse is the willful infliction of an injury on an intimate partner.

PC 273.5 says the law will apply if the victim is one or more of the following:

“(1) The offender's spouse or former spouse. (2) The offender's cohabitant or former cohabitant. (3) The offender's fiancé or fiancée, or someone with whom the offender previously had an engagement or dating relationship. (4) The mother or father of the offender's child.”

Some common examples of injuries would include scratches, bruising, swelling, a broken nose, or a concussion. A traumatic condition means a wound or other bodily injury caused by a direct application of physical force.

However, the injuries don't have to be substantial. Minor injuries, such as an abrasion, small cut, or sprained ankle, might be sufficient to secure a conviction.

Under PC 273.5, corporal injury to a spouse is a “wobbler,” meaning the prosecutor can file the case as either a misdemeanor or felony crime.

If convicted of either a misdemeanor or felony case of corporal injury on a spouse and sentenced to probation, which is commonly known as a “suspended sentence,” your probation conditions will typically include the following:

  • Mandatory 52-week batterer's treatment program;
  • Reimbursement of expenses for the victim to attend counseling;
  • Up to a $5,000 payment to a battered woman's shelter.

Protective Order

Another thing that you should be mindful of is that when you appear in court, you will be ordered to stay 100 yards away from your significant other, called a protective order.  That isn't easy if you live with your significant other. 

So, we want to start working on that right away.  We want to start making the moves that put you in the best possible position moving forward.

You've come to the right place.  If you need the best – if your license is on the line, your record is on the line, or your life is on the line, pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding; if you're charged with a domestic case, you're an attorney and need assistance. 

Related Content: