Domestic Violence

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Have you been arrested, charged, or accused of domestic violence? If so, you will need to work immediately with an experienced, aggressive, and effective San Diego criminal defense lawyer. Only with professional legal representation can you successfully counter the allegations against you.

We are proud of our distinguishing hallmark characteristics:

  • We have more than 40 years of criminal defense experience to our firm's name.
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  • We have secured an impressive track record, including hundreds of successful trial results.
  • We have been named among some of the top-rated trial attorneys in the nation.
  • We have been recognized by numerous prestigious legal organizations.

Bill Nimmo, Attorney at Law, An Association of Sole Practitioners knows what is at stake in these types of criminal matters. In most cases, individuals facing domestic violence charges could have their freedom and their reputation on the line. We do all that is necessary to combat the charges against you and secure a reduction, acquittal, or dismissal on your behalf.

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Understanding the Severity of a Criminal Conviction

Domestic violence cases are prosecuted much more vigorously today than they were several years ago. Prosecutors now have special units assigned, and designated courts have been established to handle these cases. Additionally, the state legislature has created mandatory sentences that require, if convicted, participation in a 52-week domestic violence program that is time-consuming and costly. In conjunction with the potential criminal prosecution, the alleged victim may seek a temporary restraining order ("TRO") against the accused individual.

What is considered to be domestic violence?

A person accused of a domestic violence crime is typically booked in jail on a felony (if there is visible injury) requiring a minimum $25,000.00 bail. However, these cases are rarely prosecuted as felonies.

Some types of domestic violence include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Psychological and emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse

A significant number of cases may involve an alleged victim that does not want the case prosecuted, especially when someone else made the 911 call. In these situations, it is important for the alleged victim to promptly contact someone in the D.A.'s domestic violence unit and make it known to them that prosecution is not desired.

Other Criminal Implications

Making it known that prosecution is not desired does not necessarily mean that the case will be dropped, as the D.A. can still prosecute against the alleged victim's wishes. In close cases, the D.A.'s office takes 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, not an arrest. While this does not remove the booking record, it does entitle the arrestee to say they have not been arrested on a job application or other situations.

False Allegations in Domestic Violence Cases

Domestic Violence cases are another area in the criminal law where there are many false accusations. The chances are, however, unless you want to call your spouse or significant other a liar, that the evidence is pretty good against you. That doesn’t mean you are necessarily guilty, but it does mean that the evidence against you is powerful unless you are prepared to show that your spouse or significant other is either lying or misperceiving the event.

If your spouse or significant other is misperceiving the event, that is a harmless proof trail that you can use to show the prosecution that the case is weak. In the heat of an argument many times a person is wrong about what they saw or heard and you can point that out without causing damage to your case.

As an example, Bill Nimmo was the defense attorney for one case where a husband and wife were arguing loudly about their daughter. When the husband came towards where his wife was in the house they collided at a hallway corner and her glasses were broke in the collision causing red marks around her eye. Of course the police ignored what the parties said and took the husband to jail. While it took a lot of talking, Nimmo was able to convince the prosecutor to dismiss the case. These people were nice folks and had no real record of previous violence.

Even saying your spouse was lying to the police can be done gently. A lot of times, in the heat of an argument, the police are called and words are said that aren’t true. When the argument cools and the effects of alcohol are gone, the complaining spouse feels guilty that he or she made false statements to the police. In this type of domestic violence case, your attorney needs to be careful; your lawyer must walk the line so as not to get your spouse charged with giving false information.

If the parties have no record of violence, and there isn’t a major ongoing problem in the household, you have a good chance of plea bargaining to something other than domestic violence. You are aided in this if there is a problem in the facts like those talked about in the paragraphs above. You may need to plead to domestic violence straight up, but if you can avoid doing so that would be best.

Plea Bargains in San Diego Domestic Violence Cases

If you plead to domestic violence, even as a misdemeanor, you will have problems in the future with firearm possession and ownership. You will also have to attend a 52-week domestic violence recovery program to help manage your anger and understand the dynamics of abuse in the family. And, you may have problems with future employers or anyone that finds out you have a “domestic violence” conviction. You may just have plea to avoid more problems but another person could interpret that you are an “angry” man or a “wife beater.” Your lawyer will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

Some plea bargain strategies include trying to bargain to a simple battery or a simple assault that doesn’t have domestic language attached. You can also attempt to plea to a 647 (disorderly conduct) or maybe a 415 (fighting noise-offensive words). Prosecutors these days hate to move off of the domestic violence sections but with the proper case and with the right DA you may be able to convince them. Also you can try to get the prosecutor to agree to a short anger management program rather than the 52-week program. If you plead to a domestic violence charge, however, a judge will have to find real good cause not to impose the DVRP.

Put 80+ Years of Legal Experience in Your Corner

Domestic violence cases in San Diego County often involve several different court proceedings and can be somewhat tricky if not handled properly. Speaking with a skilled and experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney 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 highly recommended that you hire us as soon as possible.

Do not wait for the prosecution to make the first move. Take action by contacting our San Diego domestic violence and restraining order attorney at (888) 797-1623.