Category: Domestic Violence

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Another NFL Player Domestic Violence Arrest

Sadly, it comes as no huge surprise another NFL football player was arrested for domestic violence.  For some time now, domestic violence has been an increasing problem for the National Football League (NFL). Many advocates to reduce the amount of violence claim the professional football teams are not doing enough to penalize players accused of violence off the field.

Due to this pressure, and significant amount of publicity with violent crime and the NFL, the National Football League recently updated their personal conduct policy to try and address some of the criticism. However, domestic violence by players continues to plague the sport today.

Ray McDonald Dropped from the Bears

The Chicago Bears released Ray McDonald after arresting him on domestic violence charges in Santa Clara, California. McDonald was a major part of the Bears defense strategy for the season, but after this arrest, they chose to let him go.

Police arrested the 30-year-old defensive end after he allegedly assaulted a woman inside his apartment. The incident took place sometime before 4 a.m. on a Monday morning. According to police reportwws, McDonald allegedly broke down a bedroom door to get to his former fiancée and their infant child.  when the polic arrived, McDonald was not on the scene.

The Santa Clara police department issued McDonald a restraining order for the protection of his fiancée and child.

However, on Wednesday, police arrested McDonald for a second time in a week for violating the restraining order.

Santa Clara detectives found him in a Togo’s sandwich shop in Santa Clara and booked him in a San Jose jail. He reportedly made bail, for $5,000. According to his attorney, they did not know about the restraining order.

A History of “Poor Decision Making”

This wasn’t the first time the defensive lineman was in trouble with the law. This was his third arrest in 9 months. In August 2014, police arrested McDonald on suspicion of domestic violence. In December of the same year, he was arrested for alleged sexual assault. McDonald defended the sexual assault claims as being consensual and filed a defamation suit. Although the victim did not file criminal charges, the 49ers dropped him from the team, citing “a pattern of poor decision-making.”

Then, the Bears picked him up. Despite his past arrests, based on a solid conversation, the team trusted he would behave. This did not happen. According to the team General Manager, Ryan Pace:

Bears Tweet 1Bears Tweet 2

Revised Personal Conduct Policy

In late 2014, the NFL teams introduced a revised Personal Conduct Policy. Aimed at addressing domestic violence and sexual assault, the NFL put their heads together to bring about new order . The hope is this new policy will increase accountability and decrease criminal acts. The policy includes funding for counseling of victims as well as violators as well as provides guidelines for independent investigative procedures.

Unfortunately, even with increased penalties, NFL players continue to break the law. The San Diego Union-Tribune keeps a running tally of arrests and citations involving NFL players. There are exactly 38 recorded arrests for crimes more harmful than a speeding ticket in 2015 alone.

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Some Forensic Science Found to be Less Than Scientific

A Test of Bad Forensic Science

Before the advent of DNA testing, U.S. law enforcement relied on a number of different bad forensic science techniques to connect people to crimes. Such as, handwriting samples, microscopic hair analysis, and even bite marks. As may be expected, some of these sciences are not always completely accurate.

Recently, the FBI teamed with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), and the Innocence Project. The teams released an announcement that they concurrently and separately reviewed microscopic hair analysis cases. The result of these cases is disconcerting. In fact, it’s downright alarming.

A Difference of Opinion

According to the FBI’s press release:

“FBI microscopic hair analysts committed widespread, systematic error, grossly exaggerating the significance of their data under oath with the consequence of unfairly bolstering the prosecutions’ case.”

As Slate Magazine so aptly puts it: “The FBI faked an entire field of forensic science.” The result is, according to University of Virginia law professor Brandon L. Garrett, a “mass disaster.

The “faked,” or bad forensic science involved microscopic examinations of hair found at the scene of a crime, as well as the hair of a suspect. In fact, this was a common practice of law enforcement for nearly thirty years. That is, until 2000, when the FBI started examining full DNA rather than just the hair itself. The DNA analysis works much better.

In reality, the microscopic hair examination technique barely worked at all, if ever. Even the Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Science Community called the practice “highly unreliable.” Nonetheless, FBI forensic experts commonly testified in trial that the technique not only worked, but was enough to prove a suspect’s guilt.

Too Many Defendants

According to the FBI’s own report, too many scientists miscalculated the results. Twenty-six out of twenty-eight forensic scientists in the microscopic hair comparison unit “overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors.”

After examining hair found at a crime scene, the scientists compare it to a suspect’s hair in a lab. Upon finding similarities between the two, the forensic scientists often claimed the hairs matched. Unfortunately, these findings made their way to their expert witness” testimony during trial.

This similarity/match testimony happened at a staggering rate. Of the cases that the FBI reviewed to date, 90% of the cases apply. This affected 284 defendants at their trials. This is poor, bad forensic science.

Many of the convicted defendants privy to the unfortunate microscopic hair analysis are serving jail time for felony offenses. For some, the impact was irreversible. According to the FBI’s press release,

“defendants in at least 35 of these cases received the death penalty and errors were identified in 33 of those cases… Nine of these defendants have already been executed.”

The FBI is taking steps to right their wrong. They are notifying affected defendants and allowing federal defendants to make appeals. Normally, this type of practice is not allowed in federal court. However, most of the defendants in question received state court convictions. It is now up to the states to allow these cases to reexamine these cases.

The Kavinoky Law Firm is closely monitoring the situation in California. If you believe bad forensic science practices impacted your freedom, speak with a criminal defense attorney at 1.800.NO.CUFFS. all 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Domestic Violence Accusations and Defense in California

domestic violenceDomestic violence is sometimes called domestic abuse or intimate partner abuse. Under California law, it involved a broad range of legal violations. These include:

  1. Causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, and/or
  2. Sexual assault.

Perpetrators of Abuse

In these cases, the recipient of the violence may or may not fall into a specific category. Such categories may include such relationships as a:

  1. spouse,
  2. former spouse,
  3. relationship partner (person one is dating),
  4. cohabitant (person with whom one is living),
  5. former cohabitant (person with whom one used to live), and/or
  6. person with whom one had a child.

Domestic violence (DV) can involve physical injury, or another consideration includes threatening words.

The legal definition of an “intimate partner” for purposes of DV includes husbands or wives, boyfriends or girlfriends, and same-sex partners. Therefore, any intimate partner, no matter the sex, can be a victim of domestic abuse. The law is very broad in terms about the relationship that gives rise to domestic violence.

What is Abuse?

Similar to “intimate partner,” the term “abuse” is also very broad.

Each of the following actions, among others, can lead to prosecution for domestic violence or intimate partner violence:

  • hitting,
  • slapping,
  • punching,
  • kicking,
  • threatening with or without a weapon,
  • hitting with an object,
  • hair pulling,
  • burning,
  • cutting,
  • biting,
  • stabbing, and/or
  • stalking

Given these points, keep in mind, there is no scale for pain or abuse. No matter how slight the physical touching, the perpetrator of the action is still eligible for prosecution. Some types of domestic violence charges do not even require any physical touching.  In fact, stalking or criminal threats do not involve touch (Penal Code section 422).

California Penal Code Convictions

California Penal Code section 273.5 is the most frequent domestic violence crime.

This penal code section provides that anyone who willfully inflicts injury on a spouse, former spouse, or certain other people is guilty of a felony.  Of course, Penal Code 273.5 is explicit that the injury may be either minor or serious in nature, so long as it is caused by physical force.  The punishment for those guilty of violating this crime includes up to one year in county jail. Moreover, the perpetrator may face even up to six years in state prison. Additionally, a conviction for someone who has had prior domestic violence conviction means even more time.

Prosecution of DV cases involves a very serious approach. Moreover, the cases often find their way to the District Attorney’s desk. These attorneys specifically handle domestic violence cases and likewise carry intense knowledge.

Your intimate partner does not decide whether or not to press charges in a domestic violence case in California. Once the police are involved in the domestic violence situation, you and your intimate partner no longer have the choice of whether or not to prosecute. The decision of whether or not to file criminal charges in a domestic violence case is up to the prosecutor alone. He or she will decide whether or not to bring the domestic violence charge. It is incorrect (and dangerous) to believe that the DV victim has the power to press charges or not; once law enforcement is involved, it is out of their hands.

California Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

No matter what charges you are currently facing, a skilled California criminal defense attorney can help. There are defenses for every criminal charge. In most cases, these domestic violence charges are based on one person’s word.

A domestic violence criminal defense lawyer understands that there are two sides to every story. This lawyer can help you gather evidence and proof for your side of the story. Do not think that these charges are hopeless. Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney today to learn how you can save your reputation and keep your record clean.

Do not hesitate to call on criminal defense lawyer Darren T. Kavinoky if you would like a FREE case evaluation.

Domestic Violence and Divorce in California

Domestic violence accusations are common during a divorce. Some are accurate, some are less than accurate.

22% of divorces today end due to a claim of violence in the relationship. Additionally, 3 million women a year are victims of partner abuse. With this consideration, however, some partners make exaggerated or misleading claims of violence. Unfortunately, some see these claims as a way to gain advantage in divorce and/or custody proceedings.  Many partners lose access to their children as a result of false domestic violence charges. However, with an expert criminal defense attorney on your side, so shall the truth be with your case.

Domestic violence accusations can majorly impact divorce proceedings. Regardless if it is an allegation, arrest or conviction, accusations are impactful.  This is true particularly when it comes to child custody issues. This is a serious danger for all partners processing divorce. However, it is especially harmful for those in the military. A conviction of domestic violence during a divorce will affect child custody and the outcome of a divorce. Unfortunately, it can also cost military personnel their jobs.

While domestic violence is a real issue in many divorce cases, sometimes the accusations are false.

Divorcing couples are often involved in messy disputes. Some cases lead to an angry spouse claiming abuse out of frustration. If you believe you’ve been falsely accused of spousal abuse, do not wait. It’s crucial to seek the help of a qualified legal counsel who will work to protect your rights.

Protective Orders

Also referred to as restraining orders, protective orders are popular grants during a divorce. If granted, a partner may not be able to see his/her children. The accused is likely not able to enter his/her own home or visit his/her children. In some cases, those with restraining orders against them may also find themselves with additional responsibilities. He or she may need to attend counseling or anger management classes.

A parent with a restraining order against him or her will likely have a difficult time fighting for custody and visitation rights to his children. In some cases, restraining orders may last for several years after the divorce. If a partner violates an active protection or restraining order, he can go to jail.

Criminal Charges

An arrest for domestic violence in the state of California may result in criminal charges. A conviction on your record can affect you for years to come. The safest course of action for men accused of domestic violence is to remain calm and obey all restraining orders for the time being. If the accused respects the boundaries of the restraining order, there is hope to drop the charges. Of course, if an expert criminal defense attorney proves the allegations are false, the restraining order is no longer valid.

Domestic Violence Act

As a man with false allegations of domestic violence made against you, it’s imperative that you understand the Domestic Violence Act. Implemented in 1979, the act defines what constitutes domestic violence. According to the legislation, domestic violence is defined as “attempts to cause or intentionally causing bodily injury, and placing a person in fear of ‘imminent serious bodily injury’ by threatening the use of force.” Under the act, it’s easy for women to make false allegations but, with the right criminal defense, you may be able to prove your innocence and protect your rights.

Domestic violence charges can result in severe legal consequences for defendants, including eviction, heavy fines and legal fees, and a permanent mark on your criminal record. Additionally, these charges can affect alimony and child custody. Some courts prevent parents with a history of physical abuse from visiting their children, even under supervision. Some of the normal privileges you’ve grown accustomed to throughout the years may be taken away from you as a result of a false domestic violence charge.

Don’t Fight Alone

During a divorce, things can get ugly. Don’t fight this battle alone. If you find yourself standing on the wrong side of a restraining order, call The Kavinoky Law Firm. We hire only the best attorneys in Los Angeles. We work around the clock to protect your rights. 1.800.No.Cuffs is the number to remember but hope you never need.

Drug Expungement

drug expungementDrug expungement is a popular option for those who worry about life after conviction. It’s not a perfect solution for everyone, but it’s a great option to consider. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you work towards expungement.

A drug charge may keep you from living your life the way you desire. From getting a good job and earning more money to purchasing a home, criminal convictions are no fun. Today, more than 80 percent of employers conduct background checks. Consequently, in today’s volatile job market, a drug charge can make job hunts a challenge. Even if you pass a drug test, the challenge persists.

Expungement refers to the process of sealing arrest and conviction records. Once an arrest is no longer on your record, potential employers or landlords have the right to its disclosure. In turn, it’s relatively easy to expunge your California criminal record. If you are eligible, your record can be clear very quickly.

Expungement Eligibility

There are certain entry requirements to meet if you’re looking for a drug expungement. The list is as follows:

  1. Any mandatory drug treatment is complete,
  2. Probation is complete, and
  3. Any other punishments related to the drug charge completed.

If you meet all of the above requirements, you are eligible for expungement in California. This process, if approved will set your conviction aside or dismissed entirely.

Once California releases your conviction, the crime is no longer on your record. As a result, you’re free from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction. Additionally, you don’t have to answer ‘yes’ on criminal history questions on job applications. Truly, it’s as if the crime did not happen.

Other Rights After Expungement

Although a conviction disappears via expungement, not all rights are the same after a conviction. Regardless of expungement, some rights are revoked indefinitely.

One example is the right to possess a firearm. This right will not restore after expungement. Additionally, you must disclose your criminal history in any application for public office or a position as a peace officer. You must also disclose it for licensure by any state or local agency, or when contracting with the California State Lottery. Lastly, you must disclose when serving on a jury.

Keep in mind, your disclosure should not hurt you. Legally, the disclosure of a conviction cannot in any way result in the denial of employment or benefits.

Denial of Expungement

Certain convictions are not eligible for expungement consideration. Firstly, you may not expunge your conviction if you served your sentence in state prison. Also, depending on the severity of the crime, some just may not be up for clearance. Under California state law, some crimes are more heinous than others. These crimes include serious sex offenses committed against children. Additionally, in some cases, murder and other violent crimes are not eligible.

Expungement Process

Before the court will grant you a drug expungement, there are several steps you and your criminal defense attorney must follow. These include:

  1. Analyzing the case to determine you are eligible for an expungement,
  2. Performing legal research regarding the current and relevant law,
  3. Filing the appropriate paperwork within the proper time frames, and
  4. Attending the hearing in court.

Even if you follow these steps, and the judge grants you a drug expungement, there may still be limitations as to what an expungement can do for you. Expunged convictions can still be used as prior convictions in order to enhance sentencing for future crimes, and can be used as a ‘strike’ for the purposes of California’s three strikes law.

In most cases, juvenile offenders and those who have been arrested or convicted for drug crimes may have an easier time expunging their criminal history. It’s important to note that possession of marijuana for personal use should automatically be erased from your criminal record after two years – this does not apply to convictions for growing, selling, or transporting marijuana.

Hire a Lawyer 

The Kavinoky Law firm hires the best criminal defense attorneys in California. Our excellent and experienced attorneys work hard to fight for their clients’ rights. If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, call 1.800.No.Cuffs for a free consultation. 

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California Resources for Victims of Child Abuse

Children are affected by domestic violence in a number of ways, regardless of whether they are the direct recipients of the abuse or witness abuse between their parents. Children who are raised in homes where incidents of domestic violence are commonplace have more emotional, physical and psychological problems than children who are raised in homes that are violence-free. As a result, these young victims require supportive, nurturing environments in which they can be assured that the abuse inflicted on them isn’t their fault and where they can be free to express themselves without fear.

California offers services, classes, protection and other resources for victims of child abuse and young victims who witness other acts of intimate partner abuse in their home. While dealing with a child who has been victimized can be overwhelming, the compassionate attorneys at the Kavinoky Law Firm can help. They have access to numerous resources for children and their parents and will give referrals for these resources that meet the individual needs of each family.

The national child abuse hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD or accessed on the web at www.ChildHelp.org is a great place to start for a parent trying to help his or her abused child, for an abused child or for a child at risk of being abused to seek guidance. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and, thanks to interpreters, over 140 languages are spoken. Childhelp offers referrals to local community resources, literature, crisis intervention and information on emergency protection issues. They offer a variety of programs, including treatment at live-in facilities, which provide therapy, medical care and on-site schooling for severely abused children. The goal of these programs (and of Childhelp in general) is to provide a nurturing environment in which self-esteem and trust can be rediscovered in a child who has been victimized by child abuse and/or other forms of domestic violence.

Resources for child abuse can be readily accessed on-line and provide information on how to recognize abuse if is it suspected, where and how to report abuse, instructions on how to obtain emergency protective orders and other local referrals, depending on where one lives.

Local children’s courts may also be able to provide a list of local resources for both parents and children who have been affected by child abuse. In addition, many of these courts have Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) that may be able to offer suggestions on where to find additional information and may be able to refer parents and their children to classes for child victims and to classes for parents that teach a parent how to deal with an abused child, to therapists who specialize in working with abused children and to other organizations that may meet a particular family’s needs.

Defense Attorneys for Child Abuse Law

If a parent or anyone else suspects that a child may be suffering from abuse, either personally or by witnessing it, that adult must take action. Contacting a criminal lawyer is a good place to start to find out what legal and/or criminal action is possible. The trusted attorneys at the Kavinoky Law Firm will take the time to sit down and listen to a potential client’s questions and concerns. They specialize in California domestic violence law and, as a result, have the experience and training to help an individual tackle any D.V. related problem. When things are at their worst, the attorneys at the Kavinoky Law Firm are at their best! To discuss a child abuse case, please click here for a free consultation.

Battered Person’s Syndrome and Infliction of Injury

Battered Person’s Syndrome and Infliction of Injury

Infliction of injury, more commonly called “spousal abuse,” is a California domestic violence crime that applies to intimate partners. These partners may be heterosexual or homosexual and married or divorced, living together or formerly living together or have children in common. If an individual willfully inflicts any injury, no matter how minor, upon the body of an intimate partner, he or she can be charged with a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $6,000.

In this, as well as many other intimate partner abuse cases, the condition known as “battered person’s syndrome” (more commonly called “battered women’s syndrome”) comes into play and can be offered as evidence through the testimony of an expert witness by either side. Although it usually refers to a woman, battered person’s syndrome can apply to a woman or a man involved in a heterosexual or homosexual relationship. Battered person’s syndrome is a recognized psychological condition that is used to describe someone who has been consistently and/or severely victimized by his or her partner. It is frequently used in infliction of injury cases either to defend an abused woman or man’s actions or as evidence against his or her abuser if the abused victim later recants his or her allegations. Because this syndrome is frequently introduced in a domestic abuse trial, it is vital to hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer from The Kavinoky Law Firm who is familiar with battered person’s syndrome should it and its effects be introduced into evidence.

The characteristics of this syndrome all focus on the abused believing that the violence is his or her fault. In addition, the syndrome has three distinct phases that include the “tension-building” phase, the actual battery, and the “honeymoon” phase. In order to be diagnosed with battered person’s syndrome, the abused must have gone through all three phases at least twice.

If the abused has committed a crime, battered person’s syndrome may be introduced as a defense in the case. A knowledgeable attorney will likely hire an expert witness to testify that the abused either didn’t have the criminal mental intent that was necessary to commit the crime or that he or she honestly believed that force was needed in a particular situation to avoid a more serious injury or even death. If either of these scenarios sound familiar, it is crucial to contact an attorney immediately to begin building a defense based on this syndrome.

If, however, it is the prosecution who is introducing battered person’s syndrome as evidence against a defendant, it is vital for the defendant to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help exclude that evidence or, at the very least, to rebut it with a defense expert witness. A defense expert witness will help discredit the prosecution’s theory that the “victim” suffers from battered person’s syndrome and will point out that the prosecution is simply using it as an excuse to bolster an otherwise weak case. The prosecution usually introduces the syndrome when the “victim” refuses to testify. The prosecutor argues, through his or her expert witness, that the “victim” is recanting the allegations because he or she fears what might happen if he or she doesn’t. A defense expert will rebut that argument, addressing the many legitimate reasons why an accuser may change his or her story.

The attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm have the training and experience to handle any infliction of injury case. They have successfully defended countless cases with skill and compassion and are well qualified to effectively tackle any and every evidentiary issue that may arise, particularly with respect to battered person’s syndrome. Click here for a free consultation and to secure the best representation available.

Professional Licensing Restrictions and Infliction of Injury

Professional Licensing Restrictions and Infliction of Injury

Willful infliction of injury is a California domestic violence charge, sometimes referred to as spousal abuse, which applies to intimate partners. These partners may be married or divorced, living together or formerly living together or have children in common. The laws apply to both heterosexual couples and same-sex partnerships. If an individual willfully inflicts any injury, no matter how minor, upon the body of an intimate partner, he or she can be charged with a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $6,000. A defendant can face this charge even if he or she barely touched the intimate partner.

When an individual is convicted for this domestic abuse crime, there are several mandatory penalties that will be imposed and other penalties that may be imposed. One of the possible consequences that a defendant convicted of infliction of injury may face is a restriction on his or her professional license.

Under California law, a licensing board may suspend or revoke a license if the license-holder has been convicted of a crime, if the crime is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession for which the license was issued. It does not matter whether the conviction was the result of a jury trial, a guilty plea, or a no contest plea. This suspension or revocation may take place once the defendant is placed on probation, once the conviction has been affirmed on appeal, or once the timeframe within which to file an appeal has ended. In addition, there are several professional licensing boards that maintain their own standards and practices related to disciplining their license-holders that may be even more restrictive.

In order to defend against a professional license restriction, it helps to have an attorney to argue against its application. An attorney has the knowledge and available resources to articulate why an infliction of injury conviction (under most circumstances) is not substantially related to the accused’s “qualifications, functions, or duties” of his or her job. In addition, the skilled attorney may recognize when the defendant’s employer is unlawfully imposing such a restriction in an effort to inappropriately fire their otherwise competent employee.

If either facing an infliction of injury charge or if recently convicted of that charge, hiring an experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer to help guard against a conviction and/or a possible professional license restriction is by far the smartest defense strategy. The skilled attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm have successfully defended countless individuals who have been charged with intimate partner abuse and have helped them keep their families, careers, freedom and dignity intact. When things are at their worst, the attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm are at their best! To discuss a potential professional licensing restriction, or any other legal matter, click here for a free consultation.

Battered Person’s Syndrome and Sexual Battery

Battered Person’s Syndrome and Sexual Battery

Sexual battery is a California domestic violence crime charged against an intimate partner. Intimate partners may be heterosexual or homosexual and married, divorced, living together, have children in common, dating or formerly dating. In this, as well as many other domestic abuse cases, the condition known as “battered person’s syndrome” (more commonly called “battered women’s syndrome”) comes into play and can be offered as evidence through the testimony of an expert witness by either side.

Although it usually refers to a woman, battered person’s syndrome can apply to a woman or a man involved in a heterosexual or homosexual relationship. Battered person’s syndrome is a recognized psychological condition that is used to describe someone who has been consistently and/or severely victimized by his or her partner. It is frequently used in domestic violence cases either to defend an abused defendant’s actions or as evidence against the defendant if the abused victim later recants his or her allegations. Because this syndrome is frequently raised in intimate partner violence trials, it is vital to hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer from the Kavinoky Law Firm who is familiar with battered person’s syndrome should it and its effects be introduced into evidence.

The characteristics of this syndrome all focus on the abused believing that the violence was his or her fault. In addition, the syndrome has three distinct phases that include the “tension-building” phase, the actual battery, and the “honeymoon” phase. In order to be diagnosed with battered person’s syndrome, the abused must have gone through all three phases at least twice.

Sexual battery is referred to as a “wobbler” offense, meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of the individual case. If a person touches an intimate part of another against that person’s will for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or sexual abuse, he or she may be charged with sexual battery as a misdemeanor. “Touching” can be any physical contact – however slight – whether accomplished directly, through the clothing of the accused, or through the clothing of the accuser.

Sexual battery charges can be brought against any intimate partner, even one involved in an ongoing, intimate relationship. When charged as a misdemeanor (with no aggravating circumstances), sexual battery carries a maximum of a six-month jail sentence and a $2,000 fine. However, if the touching takes place while the accuser is unlawfully restrained, institutionalized, seriously disabled, medically incapacitated or unconscious, the jail sentence may increase to a maximum of one year or the crime may rise to a felony, punishable by a maximum of four years in the state prison and a $10,000 fine.

When the prosecution introduces battered person’s syndrome as evidence against a defendant, it is vital for the defendant to have an experienced criminal defense attorney to help exclude that evidence or, at the very least, to rebut it with a defense expert witness. A defense expert witness will help discredit the prosecution’s theory that the “victim” suffers from battered person’s syndrome and will point out that the prosecution is simply using it as a way to bolster an otherwise weak case. The prosecution usually introduces the syndrome when the “victim” refuses to testify. The prosecutor then argues that the “victim” has recanted the allegations because the victim feared what would happen if he or she didn’t. A defense expert will rebut that argument, addressing the many legitimate reasons why an accuser may change his or her story.

The attorneys at the Kavinoky Law Firm have the training and experience to handle any sexual battery case. They have successfully defended countless intimate partner abuse cases with skill and compassion and are well qualified to effectively tackle any and every evidentiary issue that may arise, particularly with respect to battered person’s syndrome. A skilled attorney from the Kavinoky Law Firm can provide a free consultation and outline an aggressive defense strategy designed to protect the accused partner’s rights and minimize the consequences of a sexual battery charge.

Sexual Battery Trial Considerations

Sexual Battery Trial Considerations

Sexual battery can be charged in any California domestic violence case that involves one intimate partner touching the other for purposes of sexual gratification or abuse. The term ‘intimate partners’ include couples of the opposite and same sex who are married, divorced, living together, have children together, or who are dating or formerly dating.

“Touching” in a California sexual battery case can include any physical contact – however slight – even if it occurs through the clothing of either of the partners. This offense can even be charged against an individual involved in an ongoing relationship. Depending on the circumstances, the crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony with penalties of up to one-year in jail or up to four years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

In an intimate partner abuse case, there are several evidentiary issues that frequently arise. Because the consequences of a domestic violence conviction are so severe, it is imperative that the defendant hires a criminal defense lawyer who keeps current with the latest applicable case law and cutting-edge trial strategies. The attorneys at the Kavinoky Law Firm have experience dealing with every aspect of a California domestic abuse case and receive on-going training to make sure that they maintain their reputation for excellence. They know the intricacies involved in all the evidentiary issues that may arise and how to successfully use each to their client’s advantage.

The following are some of the issues that may arise in a sexual battery case:

  • Battered Person’s Syndrome (more commonly called battered women’s syndrome) is a psychological condition that is used to describe someone who has been consistently and/or severely victimized by his or her partner. Although it usually refers to a woman, battered person’s syndrome can apply to a woman or a man involved in a heterosexual or homosexual relationship.
  • Physical evidence can be a huge issue in a sexual battery case. Because this crime doesn’t require that the victim actually suffer an injury, sexual battery can be charged with no physical proof of the touching. Photographs or medical records showing contact or revealing injury are therefore helpful to the prosecution if and when they exist. A skilled defense attorney knows the appropriate arguments to make to try to exclude such evidence.
  • DNA evidence is playing a larger role than ever before in sexual battery cases throughout the country, both to convict the guilty and to exonerate those wrongly accused or convicted.
  • Recanting victims are very common in domestic abuse cases. There are a number of reasons that a victim “recants” (takes back his or her story) during a trial. Because this is so common, the prosecution usually expects that a victim will recant and knows exactly how to proceed under this type of situation.
  • Eyewitness accounts can make or break a case. Either side can subpoena witnesses who were present during the charged incident. A skilled defense attorney will work with defense witnesses to make sure that they tell their version of the events in the light most favorable to the defendant. A good attorney also knows how to effectively cross-examine prosecution witnesses to highlight discrepancies in their accounts.

The prosecution frequently tries to introduce hearsay and 911 calls into the record. Unlike most criminal cases, hearsay and 911 calls are sometimes allowed into evidence in domestic violence cases. This is another reason why it is so important to have an attorney who is experienced in California domestic abuse law, as he or she knows how to effectively argue against their admission.

Domestic violence law is technical and complex, which is why it is critical to hire an attorney who is qualified, skilled and experienced in this area. Contact the unparalleled attorneys at the Kavinoky Law Firm for a free consultation.