Punishment and Penalties

Ramifications of a Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Charge

If you are charged with a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence you are required to be present for your arraignment. At your arraignment the judicial officer is required to inform you of the charge(s) against you in open court. This means that the court will inform you in front of everyone that you are being charged with a crime of domestic violence.

At the arraignment, the court may issue a restraining order against you which prohibits you from contacting the alleged victim - an order which the district attorney frequently requests. To support their request for a restraining order, the district attorney can recite in open court your prior convictions for domestic violence, other forms of violence or weapons offenses you have sustained and any current protective or restraining order issued by any civil or criminal court against you.

If the court issues a no-contact restraining order against you, the order will require you to move out of your home if you and the alleged victim were cohabitating. Additionally, you will be required to relinquish all firearms in your possession and will be prohibited from owning, purchasing or possessing a firearm while the order is in effect.

Even more troubling is that if you are entering a plea of not guilty to the charge of domestic violence the court may choose to set bail in order to protect the safety of the alleged victim. This would mean that you would be remanded into custody at your arraignment.

Domestic Violence Probation Terms

Persons convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence will be ordered as a condition of probation to enroll in and complete at least one year of domestic violence counseling, which is typically 104 hours long. In addition, the defendant can be placed on a minimum of three years of formal or informal probation, i.e., supervised or unsupervised probation. If a person is placed on supervised probation they will also likely be subject to a search and seizure clause as a condition of probation - which means that the person waives his or her right to be free from unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment. Moreover, persons accused of domestic violence can be ordered to pay up to $5,000 to the battered woman's shelter.

Yet all of these terms of probation are in addition to the fact that the defendant can be sentenced to up to one (1) year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine. To make matters worse, the defendant can be ordered to have no contact with his accuser for up to 10 years, something which San Francisco courts are not shy about imposing.

Hiring the Best Domestic Violence Defense Attorney is Imperative

It matters who is representing you and your case in court. At Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, we are highly effective and experienced Bay Area domestic violence defense lawyers. We spare no expense in terms of our time, effort and devotion that we will afford your case. Contact us today so that we may discuss with you how to avoid the consequences of a domestic violence charge discussed above.