Being accused of domestic violence is a serious offense, where you should seek the help of an attorney immediately. Also referred to as domestic abuse, this charge entails a violent dispute between adults who share the same household. Typically, it’s spousal but also includes family members or roommates. While most people think of this act as physical, it can also be psychological, as in threatening the person or using derogatory language.
If you’ve been accused of this act, it’s important to be armed with the right knowledge to understand your situation, the potential consequences if you’re found guilty and what an experienced attorney can do to help.
What Consequences Am I Facing?
If you’re found guilty, the potential legal consequences may include one or a combination of the following:
- Jail time or prison sentence: On average, terms range from one to four years. The duration of the sentence depends on the specifics of the case, your own history, and how the lawyer argues on your behalf.
- Monetary fines: The fines can be minor or upward of several thousand dollars.
- Damages: In addition to monetary fines, one of the consequences could include an obligation to pay for losses suffered by the victim, including hospital stays, medical treatments, and pain and suffering.
- Restraining orders: A judge can issue a temporary or permanent restraining order in cases of abuse. These TROs typically require the defendant to stay a certain distance away from the victim, and often prohibits communication.
- Custodial rights: If children are involved, the defendant can lose custody. Also, in the case of spousal abuse, the courts may also rule that the defendant loses custody in order to protect the children from a potentially violent environment.
- Required rehabilitation courses: Usually this is some type of anger management course.
- Other consequences: In some cases, the defendant may lose a driver’s license, be evicted from their home, or forfeit the right to bear firearms.
What Defenses Are Available?
If you’ve been wrongly charged in Orange County, your lawyer will likely use one of the following five defenses:
- Lack of Proof: If there are no witnesses, and it’s a “he said/she said” scenario, it’s up to the prosecutor to provide proof that a crime was actually committed by the accused. Your attorney will work diligently to poke holes in an incomplete story in order to protect your innocence.
- Wrong suspect or mistaken identity: The defendant may claim that someone else committed the abuse, and can work to prove his or her innocence. This can be done with a solid alibi proving the suspect was nowhere near where the incident occurred.
- Deliberately false accusations: It’s not unusual for someone to accuse a person based on spite or a similar type of motivation.
- Self-defense: The defendant can claim that they were defending themselves or protecting their children.
- Consent: This situation is rare, but can happen. There are occasions when the other party consented to a violent act.
How Our Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyers Can Help
Domestic violence is an offense where having an experienced lawyer on your side is critical. Whether you’ve been wrongly accused or need help dealing with the charges against you, having an advocate who is on your side will ensure the best possible outcome. Contact our Orange County office today for a free consultation with one of our domestic violence attorneys.