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Domestic Violence Attorneys in Bakersfield, California

A domestic violence conviction can have a significant impact on your life. In fact, being merely accused of domestic violence can ruin your reputation for years or decades—even if those accusations are false.

You should never take accusations of domestic violence lightly, even if you think that the case against you is weak. When facing domestic battery/assault charges, get the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney to fight for you. At Underwood Law Firm, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of the accused in domestic violence cases and helping them achieve the most favorable outcome possible. Our domestic violence attorneys proudly serve clients throughout Kern County, including Bakersfield, Lamont, and the rest of California.

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Domestic Violence in California

Even though domestic violence is quite widespread in California, the state’s Penal Code treats domestic violence very seriously. According to the California Department of Justice, there are about 160,000 calls for domestic violence-related assistance each year.

In California, the term “domestic violence” refers to offenses perpetrated against people with whom an individual shares a close relationship. The severity of domestic violence crimes varies dramatically from one case to another. The crime of domestic violence can be used to describe a single act or several acts of physical, sexual, emotional, or financial violence against someone with whom you share a relationship.

For the purposes of domestic violence law, a victim of domestic violence in California is anyone who is your:

  • Current or former spouse

  • Current or former dating partner

  • Current or former roommate (cohabitant)

  • The other parent of your child

California law recognizes the two most common types of criminal offenses related to domestic violence:

  1. Domestic Battery; and

  2. Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant

When the defendant is being prosecuted for Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant, the prosecution must prove that (1) the defendant willfully inflicted bodily injury and (2) the defendant and the victim shared a close relationship.

Possible Consequences & Penalties

Depending on the circumstances of your domestic violence case and your criminal record, you could face either misdemeanor or felony charges. In California, you can face years behind bars, fines, probation, community service, and counseling if convicted of domestic violence. In addition, you could be barred from contacting the victim of the crime and ordered to stay away from their place of residence.

Other possible consequences of a domestic violence conviction may include enrollment in a domestic violence program, therapy, mandatory alcohol or substance abuse program, and more.

Because the implications of a domestic violence conviction are severe, it is vital to seek legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been accused of domestic violence in Bakersfield, California, or other parts of Kern County. Our results-driven attorneys at Underwood Law Firm are tenacious legal advocates who prepare rigorous defenses against all types of domestic violence charges.    

Possible Defenses

When facing domestic violence charges in California, it is critical to keep in mind that being accused does not mean that you will be convicted. You still have a chance to fight the charges by raising a defense. Some of the possible defense options include:

  • Self-defense or defense of others. If you and your attorney can prove that you were acting in self-defense or were trying to protect a member of your family or household, you might avoid a conviction as long as you used reasonable force to defend yourself or others. However, self-defense may not be used as a defense in your domestic violence case if you started or escalated the fight. For example, if your wife attacked you with a knife and you had to use reasonable physical force to stop her from harming you, you could claim self-defense.

  • Accident (lack of intent). Another defense strategy that is commonly used by people facing domestic violence charges is known as the “lack of intent” defense. In other words, a defendant can be found “not guilty” if they can prove that they caused bodily injury to another family or household member by accident. The California Penal Code requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant acted with intent in order to secure a conviction. For example, if you accidentally hit your wife while opening the door, you cannot be guilty of domestic violence because you did not mean to cause harm.

  • False accusations. You can avoid a conviction if you prove that the accusations against you are false. Unfortunately, there are countless reasons why alleged victims of domestic violence make false accusations. It is important to seek the legal guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you prove that the accuser made false allegations against you and clear your name.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when developing a defense against domestic violence charges. The defense you can use to fight against the charges depends on the facts and circumstances of your case.

Domestic Violence Attorneys Serving Bakersfield, California

A domestic violence conviction can have a profound effect on your life, especially if the alleged offense involves physical assault against a family member. At Underwood Law Firm, we understand the severity of domestic violence charges in California and are committed to vigorously defending clients against domestic battery/assault charges in Bakersfield and throughout Kern County. Reach out to our office to discuss options.