Accusations of domestic violence or abuse can be upsetting and even life-changing. If you have been accused of child abuse, battering a spouse, or other domestic assault or abuse crimes, getting strong representation may be crucial to prevent a conviction and protect your rights. San Francisco domestic violence lawyer David Uthman realizes that intimate relationships are complicated and may be difficult at times. He has the experience to provide trusted legal guidance in these sensitive situations, as well as aggressively defending against a domestic violence charge when needed. David Uthman also assists people who have been charged with DUI, non-domestic assault, and other criminal offenses in the Bay Area.California Domestic Violence Offenses
The California Penal Code contains several distinct offenses related to domestic violence. In general, the laws prohibit physical force or threats of violence against people who share an intimate relationship, as defined by law. These crimes include domestic battery, corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant, child abuse or endangerment, child neglect, and elder abuse, among otheras. Domestic violence situations may also lead to additional charges of offenses such as criminal threats, aggravated trespass, stalking, disturbing the peace, and restraining order violations.
Domestic battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon someone who lives with you, a spouse or former spouse, a fiancé or former fiancé, the other parent of your child, and any person whom you are dating or have previously dated. The alleged force used against the victim does not need to result in a physical injury for a domestic battery conviction. Retaining a domestic violence attorney in the San Francisco area can help you try to avert the penalties for a domestic battery misdemeanor, which may include up to one year in jail, a maximum fine of $2,000, restitution to the victim, and a counseling program.
Corporal injury to an intimate partner is similar to battery, but it is a more serious offense that may be charged as a felony. It is committed when a person willfully inflicts a physical injury directly resulting in a wound or external or internal injury, such as a bruise, a concussion, internal bleeding, or a broken bone. The victim must be currently or formerly one of the following: a spouse, a fiancé, a cohabitant, a dating partner, or the other parent of the defendant’s child. The penalties for a misdemeanor charge of corporal injury may be a maximum of one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $6,000. Felony penalties may include a prison sentence of two, three, or four years and/or a fine of up to $6,000. Furthermore, felony penalties may be enhanced with additional prison time if the injury is considered significant or substantial. The penalties may also be increased if the defendant has prior domestic violence or assault convictions. In some cases, however, a San Francisco domestic violence attorney can argue for the court to use its discretion to suspend the sentence and order probation instead.
Domestic violence laws also specifically address injuries to children. Child abuse is the willful infliction of any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment, or a minor or serious bodily injury caused by physical force. Penalties upon a conviction are varied depending on the defendant’s criminal history and whether the offense is a misdemeanor or a felony. The broad language of the law permits charges to be brought in a number of circumstances, and unlike with other criminal offenses, a judge has discretion to allow allegations of previous child abuse into evidence at trial. As a result, examining the context of the situation in which the injury occurred is crucial in presenting a fair depiction to a judge or jury.
Since the circumstances of each domestic incident are unique, mounting a defense is typically a factual and detail-oriented process. One defense that may apply in a domestic violence case is self-defense. If you used reasonable force against a significant other because it was necessary to defend yourself, or another person, from imminent danger of bodily harm, you have not committed domestic battery. Lack of intent, such as an injury caused by accidental contact, may also lead to the dismissal of some cases. In other situations, a charge may be dropped or an acquittal obtained if the defense can cast doubt on the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses.Contact a Domestic Violence Lawyer Serving San Francisco and the Bay Area
Criminal attorney David Uthman has represented defendants for over 20 years and understands the legal system as both a defense lawyer and a former law enforcement officer. If you are seeking advice on a domestic battery, manslaughter, DUI, or other criminal matter, Mr. Uthman may be able to assist you. He also can guide you through the process of pursuing an expungement if you are eligible for this type of relief. Schedule a complimentary consultation by contacting our office at 415.556.9200 or using our online form.