Oakland Domestic Violence Lawyer
California Domestic Abuse Laws
At the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed, our Oakland domestic violence lawyer creates results-driven strategies to fight for those accused of domestic violence. If you were arrested or are being investigated for suspicion of domestic violence, it is essential to have someone on your side who knows how to protect your rights. Attorney Nabiel C. Ahmed is among the most well-respected and accomplished defense attorneys in the Bay Area, with a perfect 10.0 rating on Avvo and thousands of successful cases on his record.
While other lawyers may handle too many cases to give each client enough attention to give them a chance in court, each of our clients is provided with a high level of focus. We recognize that every individual is going through a situation that is unique to them, and our clients are never treated like just another case number. Rather, our Oakland domestic violence attorneys ensure that each client we work with is provided with well-equipped defense and around-the-clock attention.
When a client hires us, we seek a complete understanding of his or her case to explore all of their options. Our firm is known for our highly-effective defense tactics, and we use our record of success to the client’s advantage. More than anything, our Oakland domestic violence lawyers provide our clients with the representation they need to get the best results possible.
California Domestic Violence Laws
According to CA penal code 273.5, it is illegal to inflict "corporal injury" (communicate threats of harm or use physical force to inflict harm) that results in traumatic condition—whether mental, physical, or emotional—being inflicted on an intimate partner. An intimate partner includes:
- spouses & former spouses
- cohabitants & former cohabitants
- anyone whom the offender has dated
- mother or father of offender's child
This is considered a felony in California and the penalties for it may result in between 1 - 4 years in county jail.
California Domestic Violence Penalties
In California, if you are convicted of committing a violent crime against a current or former spouse, a current or former cohabitant, or someone with whom you have a child, you face strict criminal penalties under the laws against domestic violence.
These penalties for domestic charges can include:
- Up to six months in jail for domestic assault (threats of violence)
- Up to a year in jail for simple domestic battery (actual violence)
- Two to four years in jail for domestic battery causing serious bodily injury
The penalties can be even higher if you have previous convictions or are found to have used a weapon.
Penalties for domestic violence in California include:
- Up to 3 years probation
- Completion of 52-week mandatory batter's program
- Protective order protecting the victim
- $400 payment to fund domestic violence programs
- Up to 30 days jail time or alternative work program
- Fees associated with probation supervision
- Community service
- Up to 1 year in county jail for misdemeanors
- Up to $6,000 fines
- Up to $10,000 fines if the conviction occurs within 7 years of a previous offense
These penalties are harsh, impacting your ability to work, provide for your family, and maintain your lifestyle. In addition, if you are not a United States citizen, a domestic violence conviction could result in deportation or a denial of naturalization. As a Oakland domestic violence lawyer, Attorney Ahmed has helped our clients successfully face ICE in court and prevent deportation.
Some of the penalties you may NOT have realized, include:
- You will be forced to promptly surrender any firearms in your possession. Under California law, a broad restraining order prohibiting possession of a firearm takes effect immediately upon issuance of the restraining order.
- You may be required to seek a separate child custody order, your child exchange arrangements will be starkly impacted, and you will likely be obligated to make larger child support payments.
- You could possibly lose your state professional license and have difficulties securing employment. Additionally, many employers will fire anyone with a restraining order issued against them.
- A finding of domestic violence could be used to increase the amount of spousal support you must pay.
- The statements and allegations compiled in the restraining order hearing may result in criminal charges being filed.
- If you violate your domestic violence restraining order, it could result in monetary fines and jail time.
Felony Domestic Violence Penalties in CA
If you are convicted of felony domestic violence, in which the victim was seriously injured, you could also owe the victim restitution for medical bills and will be subjected to prison terms and stricter probation terms. In addition, felony domestic violence convictions could result in a "strike" on your California criminal record. If you accumulate 3 strikes on your record, you will be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
- Felony charges if the victim is seriously injured
- Up to 5 years in prison for felony domestic violence
Probation as a Penalty for Domestic Violence in CA
When a judge issues probation as a sentence for domestic violence, many Defendants feel a wave of relief. After all, probation is certainly better than jail. While this is true, probation carries some unforeseen hardships and can significantly impact your life.
While on probation, defendants are not allowed to own guns. You will also usually have a restraining order or protective order against you. This will reduce your ability to have contact with the alleged victim. If you have children, this alone could significantly reduce your time with your children and may even result in losing custody of your children.
While probation conditions can vary, the majority of probation sentences will require drug testing, completions of domestic violence programs, and fees that can be difficult to pay.
Domestic Violence Charges in California
Domestic Violence – 13700 PC defines domestic violence as any type of abuse committed against a spouse, former partner, cohabitant, or similar individual. This may include physical, emotional, or verbal abuse.
Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant – Penal Code 273.5 addresses the crime of inflicting corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant that results in a traumatic condition. You could be charged with this crime if you hit or strike your partner in a way that causes visible injury. This can include leaving a bruise, a black eye, or a cut.
Domestic Battery – Penal Code 243(e)(1) addresses the crime of domestic battery. It is a misdemeanor to inflict force on a domestic partner. Unlike corporal injury, domestic battery does not have to leave a visible mark.
Child Abuse – Penal Code 273d makes it a crime to inflict injury to a child, especially punishment that is cruel or inhuman. While the law does allow for parents to punish their children and even spank, if that punishment steps across reasonable boundaries, you could find yourself facing child abuse charges.
Child Endangerment – Penal Code 273a addresses the crime of child endangerment. It is illegal to willfully cause your child to suffer harm or endanger his or her safety. This can include allowing others to harm your child or putting your child in a dangerous situation.
Stalking – Penal Code 646.9 addresses the crime of stalking and makes it a crime to repeatedly follow or harass an individual. This includes making a credible threat to put that person in fear or danger.
Violation of Domestic Violence Protective Order – Penal Code 273.6 addresses the crime of violating your domestic violence protective order. If you knowingly violate your protective order and have contact with the victim, you could find yourself facing serious penalties, including jail time.
Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges in CA
A few common defenses to domestic violence charges include:
- False Accusations - If you have been accused of domestic violence, a first line of defense is to look at the accusation to see if the charge is taken out of context and a lack of communication.
- Insufficient Evidence - A domestic violence accusation usually includes visible injuries. However, if there are no previous emergency calls made and no witnesses the charge could prove to be insufficient evidence.
- Acted in Self Defense - If you acted in self defense, you may also be a victim despite your domestic violence charges.
What to Do After a Domestic Violence Arrest in CA
Finding Your Loved One in Jail
After your loved one is arrested for domestic violence in California, they are usually taken to a police station and then to the county jail. In order to properly locate them, you must have the right identifying information, including their full name and date of birth.
Pretrial Release & Bail in CA
Once you have located them, they may be eligible for pretrial release under the promise to appear in court at a later date. This is also known as Own Recognizance Release. In some cases, however, the judge may impose bail as a condition for release. If you need to post bail in order to have your loved one released from jail, you must find a bail agent.
At the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed, our Oakland domestic violence attorneys are experienced in all areas of domestic violence law and can assist you in finding your loved one and posting bail to have them released. You should not proceed further in your defense without first consulting with an experienced Oakland domestic violence lawyer. The next steps are critical and require skilled legal counsel.
Avoid Speaking with Prosecutors
If you are arrested and charged with domestic violence, you have the right to remain silent and should not speak with police or prosecutors without having your lawyer present. Anything you say can—and will—be used against you in court. Do not try to explain what happened. Do not try to get the officer to understand the situation. Simply avoid speaking to prosecutors until your attorney arrives. This way, you avoid accidentally incriminating yourself.
After you have posted bail, the date of the arraignment will be set. During arraignment, you are required to enter your plea: Not Guilty, Guilty, or No Contest. Your attorney will guide you through this process and help you choose the right plea for your situation. During the arraignment or pretrial, the judge will also choose to issue restraining orders, no contact orders, or other types of protective orders. In addition, future dates will be set for conferences and preliminary hearings.
Domestic violence laws are complicated and require the skills and experience of a veteran Oakland defense lawyer. Domestic violence penalties are severe and if you are not careful, you could be convicted of this crime---even if you are innocent.
California Criminal Threats and Domestic Violence in California
Penal Code 422 addresses the crime of criminal threats. It is illegal to threaten another person or put them in fear. Depending on how you threaten an individual, you could be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. In general, using a weapon, for example is treated more seriously than verbal threats.
To be found guilty of making criminal threats, a prosecutor must establish the following elements:
- The defendant willfully threatened to unlawfully kill or otherwise cause serious bodily harm to another person
- The defendant made the threat orally, in writing, with an electronic device, or via a third person
- The defendant intended his or her statement be taken as a threat
- The threat was specific, unconditional, and clear enough that the other person had no reason to think it would not be carried out
- And the other person’s fear was reasonable under the circumstances
California Penalties for Criminal Threats
Depending on the defendant’s criminal history and the facts surrounding the particular offense, someone who makes a criminal threat could be charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor. A conviction for felony criminal threats is punishable by up to three years in prison with an additional year if the defendant made the threat using a dangerous or deadly weapon. Under California’s Three Strikes Law, this offense can be used as a “strike” to be used to exacerbate penalties on future convictions.
Defenses for a Criminal Threats Charge in California
Even if a threat was made, a legitimate defense to a criminal threats charge would include:
- Equivocal, unclear, or unspecific threats
- A threat made by gesture alone without words, text, or writing
- If the threat could not have reasonably caused fear in the recipient
- If the threat did not actually cause fear in the recipient
- If the threat caused only fleeting fear in the recipient
Domestic Violence Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I be arrested for domestic violence in California if I didn't even touch my spouse?
A: The simple answer is yes. If your spouse felt threatened and afraid, then you can still be arrested and charged with domestic violence in the State of California. When police officers arrive, they will often arrest a person on suspicion of domestic violence, even if there is little evidence to support this claim.
Q: I am not a U.S. citizen—what will happen if I am arrested for domestic violence in California?
A: Non-U.S. citizens who have been accused of domestic violence face deportation. An experienced Oakland domestic violence attorney can begin building your defense and work aggressively to protect your right to remain in the country. If you are not a U.S. citizen, contact a lawyer immediately.
Q: What if my spouse changes her mind and wants to drop charges?
A: Even if your spouse recants his or her decision to press charges of domestic violence, it is up to the prosecutor to decide if there is enough evidence to convict. In many cases, prosecutors will continue pursuing the complaint, even when the victim wishes to stop.
Q: I was issued a No Contact Order, but my ex keeps calling me. If she is the one calling, can I talk to her?
A: No. If you have a No Contact Order against you, then you are not allowed to have contact with the alleged victim at all—even if they are the one initiating the contact. You must first have the No Contact Order dismissed. If you call your ex back or accept her contact, then you are in direct violation of your No Contact Order and could be sentenced to jail time.
Q: I am not married but was still charged with domestic violence in California. Is that legal?
A: Yes, in the State of California, anyone who is co-habiting, dating, is a former spouse, or who is the parent of a child in common with that person could be charged with domestic violence. You do not have to actually be married to that person at the time.
Q: Should I try to explain my side of the story to the officers or prosecutors?
A: No. The officers will decide to arrest you or not arrest you based on the evidence they find at the scene and the victim's story. You should request permission to contact an Oakland domestic violence attorney and then refrain from speaking to officers until you first speak to your lawyer. Your lawyer can advise you on the best way to navigate these dangerous waters.
Q: I was arrested for domestic violence. What charges will I face?
A: If you are arrested for domestic violence, you could face a variety of different charges, including: misdemeanor battery, felony battery, violation of restraining order, domestic battery, corporal injury to domestic partner, and more.
Q: Why do people make false accusations of domestic violence?
A: There are numerous reasons why a person would choose to make a false accusation of domestic violence. Oftentimes it is to gain the upper hand in a nasty divorce or child custody case and secure sole custody of the children. Other times they are made simply to punish a spouse, damage their reputation, or cause them pain. Sometimes they are made to get back at a cheating ex and ruin his future. No matter what the reason, a false accusation of domestic violence can have far-reaching consequences for both the accuser and the alleged victim.
In domestic violence cases, even when the victim recants or retracts their statement, the prosecution can still choose to go after the alleged abuser. This means that you could still be convicted of domestic violence, even if your spouse or ex admits to falsely accusing you.
Highly Respected Domestic Violence Attorney in Oakland, CA
At the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed, we are committed to protecting the rights and futures of individuals who have been accused of domestic violence. With over 10 years of experience in the field, our Oakland domestic violence lawyer knows what it takes to build a strong defense that is most likely to help an individual get his or her charges reduced or dismissed. Because of the potential of facing such harsh penalties, it is essential that you reach out to our firm as soon as possible after you have been charged. We stand ready to fight tirelessly on your behalf, regardless of how complicated matters may be.
Helping You Stay Out of Jail
Over the years, our firm has become recognized for our ability to provide our clients with the creative and hard-hitting defense they need to succeed. When clients hire our Oakland domestic violence lawyers, they are provided with the individualized attention and helpful counsel they deserve. If you are facing a domestic violence charge, it is important to know that you are not alone. There are ways to beat these serious charges, but only if you act quickly. We proudly help clients in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Concord, and the surrounding areas!
"Better Than Expected Result"Mr. Ahmed did his thing to make sure I did not spend one day in jail! His ability to explain everything along the way really helped through this stressful episode.- Francisco C.
"Understands and Has Great Communication"He worked hard and diligently while going the extra mile. He was patient and caring during my ordeal and even followed up and checked on me afterwards.- Adarice
"Huge Help to Me and My Family"Nabiel was able to negotiate a great plea and avoid serious charges. This was especially important since we were looking at significant charges despite this being a first offense.- Alex G.
"I recommend Nabiel over the rest!"Mr Ahmed is a very knowledgeable attorney. He went above and beyond to help me with my case. He also gave me sound advice and went over my options.- Marshall