Domestic Violence Charges

I am charged with domestic violence. What am I looking at in terms of consequences? 

Domestic violence (“DV”) cases are prosecuted much more vigorously today than they were several years ago.  Prosecutors now have special units assigned to these cases, and the court system has designated courts just to handle these type cases.  Additionally, the state legislature has written into law mandated sentences that require, if convicted, participation in a 52-week domestic violence program that is time-consuming and costly.  

Most often on these cases the accused person is booked into jail on a felony (if there is any visible injury) requiring a minimum $25,000.00 bail, yet rarely are those cases prosecuted as felonies.  In a significant number of these cases, the alleged victim does not want the case prosecuted, especially where someone else has made the 911 call – a neighbor, perhaps – which has prompted law enforcement to respond to the residence.  In these situations, it is important for the alleged victim to promptly contact someone in the DA’s domestic violence unit – located on the 5th floor of the Vista courthouse – and make it known to them that prosecution is not desired.  

This does not necessarily mean that the case will be “dropped” as the D.A. can still prosecute against the alleged victim’s wishes, but in close cases, the D.A.’s office does take into account the desires of the alleged victim, and this can result in a rejection of prosecution.  If the case is rejected, the arrested person is entitled to a “Certificate of Detention” from the arresting agency, designating the police action as a “detention,” and not an arrest.  While, unfortunately, this relief does not include the erasure of the booking records, it does entitle the arrestee to answer in the negative on a job application, etc., as whether he or she has ever been “arrested”. 

In conjunction with the potential criminal prosecution, the alleged victim may seek a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) against the accused individual.  If properly served with the TRO papers this requires the individual to dispose of all firearms and then appear in court to defend the imposition of the TRO being made permanent.  If criminal charges are pending at the time of the TRO hearing, the accused individual is compelled to “take the 5th Amendment” and thus cannot properly defend against the TRO, which usually results in a continuance of the hearing.  The issuance of the TRO can also adversely affect the divorce proceedings, which often times is the next step in the litigation by the alleged victim. 

DV cases often involve several different court proceedings and can be somewhat tricky if not handled properly.  Having an attorney on this type of case shortly after the arrest can sometimes result in no charges being filed, which can save money and avoid the necessity of future court appearances .  For this reason alone, it is obviously highly recommended that an attorney be hired as soon as possible.


I do not charge for initial consultations and my reasonable fees are determined by the seriousness of the charges.  Selecting the right attorney is a very important decision that can significantly affect your future.  Do not take this decision lightly.  I can help you, as I have done for hundreds of clients in the past.

The information contained herein is not intended to be advice concerning your individual situation, but rather is general in nature. Please rely upon your own attorney's advice regarding your specific case.

© 2015 Attorney Richard Muir
630 Alta Vista Drive, Suite 205, Vista CA 92084

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