In California, the crime of domestic violence took some significant turns on January 1, 2000, when a series of new laws went into effect. Penal Code §836, for example, now requires police officers to arrest offenders who violate domestic violence restraining orders. One problem, however, is that when the police send these cases to the district attorney, there is no equivalent obligation on district attorneys to prosecute the offenders.
Another section of the California Penal Code enables felony or misdemeanor charges to be brought when there is “willful infliction of corporal punishment” in a domestic incident. Such an “incident” involves a victim who is a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabitating, a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, a former spouse, a fiancé or fiancée, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating relationship." Felonies carry the threat of imprisonment in a state facility, while misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in the county jail.
It wasn’t that long ago, of course, that domestic violence was almost always a case of a man being arrested for violence against his wife or former wife, a live-in lover or parents, or even a parent-in-law. In many locales it was a typical Saturday night event that saw the man hauled off to jail. This was often followed by the wife’s Sunday morning visit to ask the police to drop charges.
Today, however, prosecutors are becoming much more reluctant to drop charges – even when the victim recants her story. As a reflection of the times, by the way, it can also involve the victim recanting his story.
There are many more complex issues involved in understanding the law as it applies to domestic violence. The Law Offices of Ronald G. Brower are experienced in all aspects of this law and will apply their knowledge and experience in aggressively presenting your defense.