Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers Serving all of Sonoma County
Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence (IPV), is defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one partner against another in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation. The average amount of time spent behind bars for a domestic violence conviction in California is 6 years. Domestic violence is serious. If you find yourself facing domestic violence charges in Santa Rosa, reaching out to a Santa Rosa Domestic Violence Defense Attorney is crucial to clearing your name and avoiding serious legal penalties.
Domestic violence should not happen to anybody, ever. But it does and when it does, there is help. Maybe you have lived with abuse, maybe it happened just once; maybe you are even being falsely accused of domestic abuse. Whatever your situation may be, if you have been charged with domestic violence in Sonoma County you need to contact a Santa Rosa domestic violence defense attorney at Vandyk Law. Often times the domestic violence charge may be manipulated and the police side with the victim. Our attorneys understand this and will help you fight for your rights whether you are a victim or have been wrongly accused. A wrongful conviction for a violent crime like domestic violence can have a devastating effect on your future. The stigma of a convicted abuser rarely goes away even after a wrongful conviction has been overturned. Don’t let this happen to you.
Domestic violence has many forms including, physical aggression or assault, sexual abuse, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.
- Physical Abuse – Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also indicates denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.
- Sexual Abuse – Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
- Emotional Abuse – Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.
- Economic Abuse – is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.
- Psychological Abuse – Elements of psychological abuse include, but are not limited to, causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.
Under California law, domestic violence laws are governed by how the terms “domestic” and “abuse” are defined in the statutes. To be found guilty of domestic abuse you must commit “abuse” to someone you have a “domestic” relationship with. It is often surprising to many that the alleged victim in the case does not have to be a spouse or family member for the crime to be considered domestic. Under California statute, abuse is defined as intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, sexual assault, or placing a person in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
Most Santa Rosa domestic violence charges can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, and California domestic violence punishment following a conviction varies from case to case. A person charged with a felony can serve significant time in prison, whereas a defendant charged with a misdemeanor may serve only a short jail term or be required to pay a fine, attend counseling, or be put on probation. In California, a domestic violence case is handled by a domestic violence attorney. The prosecutor in your case decides if your domestic violence charge will be a misdemeanor or a felony. How the prosecutor decides to charge you depends mostly on the circumstances of the alleged crime. If there were serious injuries involved, the chance is good that you will be charged with a felony. However, if there were only threats or minor injuries you may get charged with a misdemeanor.
Domestic Abuse Penalties
The punishment for domestic violence cases usually depends on the seriousness of the incident and the prior criminal history of the defendant. Penalties for domestic violence crimes in California include:
- Penal Code section 243(e)(1) – one year county jail
- Penal Code section 273.5 – one-year county jail for misdemeanors; for felonies, 3 years state prison or 7 years state prison if the defendant has a prior conviction for domestic violence; if the GBI enhancement is alleged then the charge becomes a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law.
- Penal Code section 273.6 – one-year county jail for misdemeanors with a minimum of 30 days if there’s a physical injury; 3 years state prison if there’s a prior conviction for this offense within 7 years and there’s an act of violence or a credible threat of violence.
- Penal Code section 273a – one-year county jail for misdemeanors; 6 years state prison for felonies if the circumstances are likely to produce great bodily injury or death
- Penal Code section 273d – 6 years state prison normally; 10 years state prison under certain circumstances
A good Sonoma County domestic violence lawyer will protect your rights and mitigate or eliminate the domestic violence penalties. When selecting a lawyer, it is important that you choose one who not only has domestic violence defense experience but also has current knowledge of all of the civil consequences that can occur.
Vandyk Law offers our extensive skill in helping resolve these disruptive and difficult charges with immediate legal involvement. Our firm has faced accusers or alleged victims who were attempting to:
- Demonstrate their authority or power over their alleged perpetrators by using “victimhood” as a means of manipulation.
- Provide incriminating reports of abuse during a child custody battle in order to win favor from the courts or bar visitation.
- Enact revenge against a spouse or romantic partner.
Our firm has successfully assisted many against domestic violence charges of all types. If you have been accused of domestic assault involving a spouse, former spouse, domestic partner, parent, or a person whom you live with, you need a capable Santa Rosa Domestic Violence Defense Attorney who can defend your rights.
Domestic Abuse and Obtaining Restraining Orders – a Santa Rosa Domestic Violence Defense Attorney at Vandyk Law can help
Our Santa Rosa criminal defense attorneys have the experience and legal knowledge that you need to help you obtain a restraining order if someone in your family is exhibiting dangerous and abusive behavior. Restraining orders can be obtained with the help of an attorney and the California courts. We will do everything we can to uphold the rights of families and children throughout the state of California, and we will aggressively work to maintain your legal rights when you or a loved one has been a victim of domestic abuse.
A restraining order is a court order that can protect you from being physically abused, threatened, stalked, or harassed. A civil restraining order also can give you custody of your children, order visitation and child support, provide you with court orders regarding your property and pets, and, depending on the circumstances, require the abuser to move out of your home. A civil restraining order is a good idea even if you have a criminal protective order because it can last longer and give you and your family different kinds of protection. If you are in need of legal representation regarding a restraining order, contact a Santa Rosa Domestic Violence Defense Attorney at our firm today.
Four types of restraining orders are available in California: domestic violence restraining orders; civil harassment restraining orders; elder or dependent adult abuse restraining orders and workplace violence restraining orders.
You can ask for a domestic violence restraining order if:
- Someone has abused you, and
- You have a close relationship with that person (married or registered domestic partners, divorced, separated, dating or used to date, have a child together, or live together or used to live together – but more than just roommates), or you are closely related (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law).
A restraining order can help you in many ways. The restrained person can be ordered to stay away from you, your children, and any other household residents, disarm the restrained, pay child support, move out of the house, and other restrictions. A judge can create a restraining order by the next day, sometimes even sooner, at no cost to you. While it is not mandatory, hiring an attorney is recommended, especially if you have children. We can help you file your restraining order as soon as possible.
Charges of domestic violence and California orders of protection are taken very seriously in the court system and should be treated seriously by all parties. You need legal advice and representation as soon as you have a question about charges of domestic violence in Santa Rosa. At Vandyk Law, our attorneys can help our clients by both obtaining restraining orders and by defending them.
Restraining Order Defense
If a restraining order has been issued against you it is crucial that you contact a Sonoma County criminal defense attorney who can advise you of what you can and cannot do and what you should and should not do. Violation of a restraining order can result in being jailed, even if the victim named in the restraining order asked you or invited you to be in their presence or residence. When a restraining order is for domestic violence sexual abuse, the accused will end up having to leave their home and will be restricted from even seeing the children or the spouse/domestic partner. Even if the police are summoned but the victim retracts the complaint afterward, a restraining order may still be issued by police forcing the accused to leave the premises.
At the Santa Rosa, California-based Vandyk Law, we have represented countless clients who have been served with restraining orders. We know how restraining orders work and we know how to protect your rights. We will build the most compelling possible case to support your position and work to return you to a normal life as quickly as possible.
Contact Santa Rosa Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Carolyn Vandyk Today
If you have been accused of domestic violence or related charges call Vandyk Lawk in Santa Rosa today to schedule a consultation with a Santa Rosa criminal defense lawyer who can explain the domestic violence laws in California and how they apply to your situation. We offer a free legal consultation.
We serve clients throughout Santa Rosa and Sonoma County. Our clients are our top priority. You can be assured that your case will be evaluated with honesty and integrity. You will always be able to speak with the attorney you are working with throughout your involvement and we are committed to providing you with excellent service.