Domestic Violence Defense

Domestic Violence - Spousal and Cohabitant Abuse
Assault - Battery and Terrorist Threats - Threatening Phone Calls
Intimidation of Victim or Witness - Damage to Phone Line

Robert J. Winston - Stanislaus County, Modesto & Manteca Domestic Violence Attorney

Do the police think you hit, slapped, kicked, bit, etc. your husband, wife, or live-in significant other?  If so, you may be facing misdemeanor or felony "domestic violence charges".  Domestic violence charges in California are very serious matters.  In fact, the Legislature has proclaimed that "spousal abusers present a clear and present danger to the mental and physical well-being of the citizens of the State of California".  In order to deal with this situation, the legislature has passed a whole series of harsh criminal laws.  The following criminal statutes are illustrative:


CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE §273.5.(a)  Any person who willfully inflicts upon a person who is his or her spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or the mother or father of his or her child, corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of up to six thousand dollars ($6,000.00) or by both that fine and imprisonment. (c) As used in this section, “traumatic condition” means a condition of the body, such as a wound, or external or internal injury, including, but not limited to, injury as a result of strangulation or suffocation, whether of a minor or serious nature, caused by a physical force. For purposes of this section, “strangulation” and “suffocation” include impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a person by applying pressure on the throat or neck. (This is the generally-charged "spousal-abuse violation")

CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE §422.  (a) Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison. (b) For purposes of this section, “immediate family” means any spouse, whether by marriage or not, parent, child, any person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree, or any other person who regularly resides in the household, or who, within the prior six months, regularly resided in the household. (c) “Electronic communication device” includes, but is not limited to, telephones, cellular telephones, computers, video recorders, fax machines, or pagers. “Electronic communication” has the same meaning as the term defined in Subsection 12 of Section 2510 of Title 18 of the United States Code. (This is what California law refers to as "terrorist threats")

CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE §591.5. A person who unlawfully and maliciously removes, injures, destroys, damages, or obstructs the use of any wireless communication device with the intent to prevent the use of the device to summon assistance or notify law enforcement or any public safety agency of a crime is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Attorney Robert Winston understands these cases.  He knows that Domestic Violence in California is defined extremely broadly. Here, even "attempting" to cause bodily injury, or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent, serious bodily injury to himself, herself or another can be a felony; and result in a long State Prison sentence.  Of course, the seriousness of the injuries to the victim(s), whether or not guns or other weapons were used, and/or whether or not the alleged perpetrator (you) has a criminal record can markedly increase the crime's seriousness.

And in the Golden State, the "abuse" does not need to happen in the "home" to be Domestic Violence.  It can happen anywhere. What they call "terrorist threats" can be made over the phone, by mail, on the internet, etc. There need not be any broken bones, wounds, cuts, bruises or other physical evidence of abuse in order for you to be arrested and charged with domestic violence or spousal abuse.  Verbal, emotional and psychological abuse can be treated by the court just as seriously as actual physical violence causing real observable injury.

The victim (wife, husband, lover) does not even have to press charges or want you arrested!  They may even want to "drop charges" once you get to court!  In California, law enforcement and the District Attorney are in charge...they’re the ones who press charges against the person who has allegedly committed domestic violence or made threats against another person. This means that even where the named victim says they don’t want to the accused prosecuted, the State can (and usually will) still file and pursue criminal charges.  Prosecutors and police often complain they are constantly working against the "problem" of battered women who do not want to press charges or testify due to fear, intimidation or "misplaced love".  Therefore, law enforcement officers are being trained to focus on the "victim's rights".  The brief victim, witness and suspect statements that they note down at the scene will later be used to evaluate the nature and strength of the case against you.  Your rights as the accused will be of secondary interest only.  Clearly this attitude, which now extends throughout the criminal justice system, places the person accused of Domestic Violence in a very difficult position. Thankfully, Mr. Winston can help.

This is not the type of case you want to handle on your own.  As you can see, the State of California can and does impose very harsh penalties on those convicted of domestic violence.  Having a good lawyer really matters.  Thankfully, with the proper help, not every case that starts as a serious felony will end up that way.  Sometimes, with Mr. Winston’s help, Domestic Violence felonies can be settled as misdemeanors, and sometimes penalties can be limited to probation, community service, court fees and anger management/battery counseling (especially for first-time offenders).  

If you have been arrested for domestic violence, you should contact Mr. Winston; you definitely need a competent attorney to protect your rights. These cases require an aggressive defense by an experienced trial lawyer.  At the Law Offices of Robert Winston, we take domestic violence cases (and your rights) very seriously.  Mr.Winston is available to help you or your loved one accused of these crimes.  He is an extremely experienced attorney.  He has served as a prosecutor and a Judge, and has well over twenty years experience as a criminal defense attorney.

The Law Offices of Robert Winston, in Modesto, California, serves clients throughout Stanislaus County, Modesto and Manteca.

The law firm handles most of its cases on a fixed fee basis. All major credit cards are accepted. Meetings are by appointment only.  Contact us today to arrange an appointment with an experienced Domestic Violence lawyer.

The Law Offices of
509 Fifteenth Street
Modesto, California 95354

Phone: (209) 529-9199
Fax: (209) 529-9307

CALL US NOW (209) 529-9199


The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

Copyright © 2005 by Law Offices of Robert J. Winston. All rights reserved. You may reproduce materials available at this site for your own personal use and for non-commercial distribution. All copies must include this copyright statement.

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