What I notice is that a lot of criminal defendants when they’re being charged with domestic violence and it looks like they’re going to have to take a deal on their case because the prosecutors have good evidence against them.
For example, they admitted everything when the police came to their own; their spouse or significant other has said a lot of bad stuff about them and there’s photographs of injury and there’s independent witnesses who saw what happened — that’s a difficult situation for the defendant.
Now that person is probably going to have to take a deal in the case. So, what they’re trying to figure out is, is there some lesser included charge they might be able to plead to so they don’t get that Penal Code Section 273.5 – domestic violence conviction on their record.
Seeking Lesser Charges Related to Domestic Violence
There are lesser charges that relate to domestic violence. There’s a whole host of them. The issue is whether or not the prosecutors are willing to consider these lesser included offenses in your case.
Again, depending on how good your attorney is in convincing them, what mitigating factors you might have related to your domestic violence case and what problems the prosecutors might have proving the case against you. These are all things that are going to weigh-in to whether you might be able to get a lesser charge.
Examples of lesser included charges are, simply battery – Penal Code Section 242. A simple battery is what they call a harmful or offensive touching. So, you could push somebody, shove them, snatch something out of their hands — there’s a whole host of different things that can happen when it comes to these simple battery cases.
But obviously, these simple battery cases are much better than having a stigma of a domestic violence conviction on your record when an employer looks at it or somebody checking your record. You’d rather have a simple battery which can be more easily explained than to be in a position where you’re trying to explain a domestic violence-related charge.
Disturbing the Peace or Trespassing
Another example of a lesser included offense would be a disturbing the peace, or even a trespassing — these two charges are much less serious than a domestic violence of spousal abuse charge. Disturbing the peace is just making a bunch of noise.
You can much more easily explain that to a potential employer or somebody looking at your background. A trespass is someone going on somebody’s property where you’re not supposed to be. There would be no stigma of a domestic violence related to that particular charge.
So, these are two great lesser included charges. They’re not always easy to get. You’re going to need a lot of good mitigation in your favor like it’s your first offense, nobody was hurt in the case, the prosecutors might have some problems with the case, and then your attorney might have a chance of getting these lesser included offenses of trespassing or disturbing the peace.
Another slightly less serious charge would be a Penal Code Section 243(e)(1), which is basically a domestic violence-related offense, but it doesn’t have anything to do with any visible injuries, so it’s a little bit lesser than a 273.5 where there has to be a visible injury.
Sometimes prosecutors are much more likely to charge this when it comes to a boyfriend/girlfriend situation or girlfriend/girlfriend or boyfriend/boyfriend than if the people are married. So, this would be a better charge. It would be a lesser included offense. It would definitely be something that somebody would be happier with than a domestic violence 273.5 charge – corporal injury to spouse.
So, to get these lesser charges, your attorney is obviously going to have to go to bat for you. You’re going to have to get a mitigation package with character letters and stuff about your work and your history.
Stuff that really makes you look like a good member of the community in order to try to sway the prosecutor give you something less than one of those more serious offenses. But as I’ve indicated in other articles and even in my book, even though you get this lesser charge — if your attorney can work it out for you — you still have some of the ramifications that flow from a domestic violence case.
For example, even if you got a disturbing the peace as a lesser charge, you would likely still have to do a 52-week domestic violence course. That’s what the prosecutors usually want. You’d likely also lose your ability to own, use or possess a gun or weapon for ten years and ammunition.
You’d likely also be put on probation for a period of time. So, just because your attorney can get a lesser charge, there are still certain requirements that the legislature has imposed on people who are originally arrested for a domestic violence-related offense that cannot be gotten out of even if you do get a lesser charge.
This is definitely something you want to talk to your attorney about. This domestic violence charge is obviously a serious one. It has serious ramifications and in order to avoid those ramifications or lessen them, your attorney is going to have to be on guard to do everything possible to help you.
Categorised in: Domestic Violence