Domestic violence may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor in Los Angeles and California. In most cases, whether or not this crime is prosecuted as one or the other has to do with the severity of the injuries received by the victim as well as with the criminal past of the accused. Those charged with this crime have no opportunity to have the charges dropped if it is being prosecuted as a felony. The state will prosecute the charges whether or not the victim wishes to have the case brought into court.
Police officers in Los Angeles have tremendous leeway when domestic violence is suspected. They may seize any weapons in the house, including firearms, separate the couple and police officers are empowered to determine whether any injuries observed at the scene are the result of domestic violence. If one finds themselves in a situation where a partner or spouse is erroneously or knowingly claiming that domestic violence was perpetrated against them when this is not the case, one is in a situation where extremely harsh consequences could be meted out if one does not immediately contact a lawyer who is qualified to offer defense in these cases.
Misdemeanor domestic violence in California does not need to involve a married couple. Cohabitating couples, couples who are merely dating and couples who have mutual children are all covered under domestic violence legislation. Additionally, a range of activities other than actual physical violence can be prosecuted as misdemeanor domestic violence in California. For instance, stalking, harassment and threats can all be construed as acts of domestic violence. Even if one is charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, the penalties can be extremely severe and can have life-changing consequences even if the individual accused was no abuser and if the charges were completely false.
Some of the consequences of misdemeanor domestic violence include prison terms, community service or physical labor, a year of mandated counseling and various fines. If one finds themselves in a situation where they are being accused of acts of domestic violence, the most important thing to remember is to call one’s attorney and to not answer any questions put to one by arresting officers. One should always be cooperative and friendly to the officers and keep in mind that, if they do not have a lawyer, that domestic violence is a specialty field which requires specialty representation.