Being charged with a Napa Valley domestic violence crime can make you feel like your world is coming apart. It’s not just that you’re facing criminal charges, but that one of the people you love the most is claiming that you hurt them in such an irreparable way that they felt the need to involve the police and use the criminal justice system to punish you. At least, that’s what many people think.
In reality, someone can be charged with domestic violence with or without the consent of the alleged victim. The second the police believe that they have entered a situation in which domestic violence occurred, it’s up to them and the prosecutor – even if the victim outright says that they don’t want to press charges!
Because of this, and because of the serious nature of these types of charges, it is of vital importance that anyone dealing with a domestic violence case gets an attorney experienced in this specific area of the law as soon as possible.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Napa Valley
The legal definition of violence is when one person inflicts, threatens to inflict, or attempts to inflict any kind of damage onto another person, whether it is physical or psychological. This kind of violence can become domestic violence if the people involved are engaged in any kind of domestic relationship. People think they understand what this means, but most don’t.
Far beyond child and spousal abuse, domestic violence applies to violence perpetrated against:
What this means is that you can be accused of domestic violence for any damaging act taken against someone you live with or with whom you are involved (or were previously involved) in a relationship.
How Domestic Violence Is Charged in Napa Valley
This is one of the most unfortunate things about modern domestic violence charges. In a perfectly understandable effort to protect people from being abused, domestic violence laws have been made significantly stronger and more enforceable over the last generation. The intentions behind this change were fantastic, but in reality they have led to countless trumped up charges of domestic violence where very little damage is often done.
What happens is that two people will get into an argument that gets so out of control that one of them calls 911. Most of the time, all that they want is a way to calm the situation down. But chances are that when police arrive, someone will be arrested and charged.
Who this happens to is up to the subjective opinion of the officers answering the call after they hear both sides plead their case, and it doesn’t matter at all if the “victim” doesn’t want the other person to be arrested. The police will choose a side that is “wrong” and that person will likely be facing a charge.
The other horrible thing about domestic violence is that it is an area of the law that breeds false charges by nature. Since the parties involved always have close relationships, it is all too common that one person will simply get angry at the other and claim domestic violence as a way to punish them. Police see this far too often with angry spouses, significant others, children, and even in child custody disputes, but their job isn’t to decide guilt or innocence, just make the arrest.
Penalties Associated with Napa Valley Domestic Violence
Like with all crimes, the penalties that you could face for a domestic violence charge will vary depending on your previous criminal record and how serious the injuries were that you allegedly inflicted. In general, though, you will likely have to deal with fines, restraining orders, anger management classes, and community service. More serious crimes can even face time in prison.
Many counties even require those convicted of domestic violence to spend a minimum of 30 days in jail and attend a class for domestic battery that lasts for an entire year. But the worst part is what being convicted of domestic violence can do to your reputation and personal life. You might lose custody of your child, and having the conviction on your permanent record can make it much more difficult to find a job and make a living.
That’s why it’s so important to get the right legal help on your side as soon as possible. Only an experienced Napa valley domestic violence attorney can help you to build a defense that will ensure you receive the best possible outcome.
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