Repeating a criminal offense is not an uncommon occurrence. Although domestic violence offenses often result in harsh consequences, some offenders will continue on to commit a second domestic violence offense either against the same victim or another. As with many other California crimes, repeat offenses are punished more severely. The exact punishment for a repeat offense will vary, depending on what the specific offense was, the seriousness of the injuries, and what prior offenses the defendant has on his or her criminal record.
Under California Penal Code 243 (e)(1), a first offense of domestic battery is punishable by up to one year in a county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. A second offense will result in a mandatory minimum 48 hours of jail time. Under California Penal Code 273.5, a first offense of corporal injury to a spouse that results in a traumatic condition, i.e. an injury, is a felony charge, punishable by two, three, or four years in a state prison, or by one year in a county jail, and/or a fine of up to $6,000. A second offense within seven years of the first conviction is punishable by up to one year in a county jail, or two, four, or five years in a state prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. This is the maximum sentence for a second offense under PC 273.5, however all defendants will face a mandatory minimum 15 days in a county jail. With a third offense, the mandatory minimum jail sentence increases to 60 days. These are just the consequences for repeat offense for these two specific domestic violence crimes. If you have been charged with any accompanying domestic violence crimes, your sentencing could increase even more. It is also important to point out that if your domestic violence crime involved serious bodily injury to the victim, it could be considered a strike on your criminal record. Three strikes in California will result in a sentence of 25 years to life. This is just one of the reasons why it is so important to mount a strong defense against a second domestic violence offense.
As you can see, you could face a longer period of incarceration and a substantially larger fine for a repeat domestic violence offense. In addition to these penalties, with any domestic violence offense you could be ordered to pay the victim restitution, donate money to a battered women's shelter, relinquish your firearms, and/or participate in a batter's treatment program. Your second domestic violence offense dose not have to be against the same person as your first for it to be considered a repeat offense, however, it does need to be directed toward a spouse or former spouse, a past or present cohabitant, someone you have been in or are in an intimate relationship with, such as a girlfriend or fiancé, the parent of your child, or someone closely related to you through blood or marriage. It is important to point out that if your previous domestic violence offense resulted in a restraining or protective order that stills stands, you could face additional consequences if you violated the order. You may be charged with contempt of court, meaning you disobeyed the order, and could face additional consequences. This may be on top of a second domestic violence charge on your record. You can face jail time and a fine for violating a restraining order.
Those charged with domestic violence crimes, be it their first or second, can face large fines, incarceration, and it may even affect their custody rights. California takes extra precaution when prosecuting domestic violence offenders. Dedicated prosecution units ensure each case is handled thoroughly and measures such as ordering defendants to participate in a batterers' treatment program or donate to a battered women's shelter are intended to cut down on recidivism. Nevertheless, sometimes defendants go on to commit repeat offenses.
If you are facing a second domestic violence crime charge, it would be wise to speak with an experienced California domestic violence defense attorney. Domestic violence charges are serious and repeat offenders of any crime are subject to harsher consequences. A skilled attorney can evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case and help you strategize a defense that could result in a lesser charge or your charge being dropped. Don't face a second domestic violence charge on your own.
Are you in the Visalia or Tulare area and facing charges for your second domestic violence offense? At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we are experienced in domestic violence defense and can help you face your charges. Criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens has successfully represented clients in Fresno, Tulare and Kings Counties for over ten years and will not be afraid to take your case all the way to trial. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensLaw@gmail.com to discuss your case.