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  • former deputy public defender

    As a former Deputy Public Defender in Riverside County, Mr. Donath has always been on the defense side of the law. 

  • award winning certified criminal law specialist

    Top 100 Trial Attorneys in California 2012-2014, 2008 Trial Attorney of the Year by the Riverside County Public Defender's Office, and dozens of other awards and accolades.

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    Your lawyer should have a passion for defense, not just a passion for money. Reputation, vigor, and determination go a long way in this business.

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Riverside Domestic Violence Attorney

Are you facing charges of domestic abuse or violence in Riverside, CA? These allegations can take a toll on your entire life, from your reputation in the community to your standing at work. Many law-abiding individuals find themselves facing charges of domestic violence and experience the effect it can take firsthand. While the law states that you’re innocent until proven guilty, it doesn’t always feel this way when you’re the one facing legal consequences.

Do You Need a Riverside Domestic Violence Attorney

If you’re dealing with charges of domestic abuse, it is in your best interest to have a Riverside domestic violence lawyer by your side to help you through the process and fight to keep your freedom and rights. Contact the Law Offices of Graham D. Donath, APC in Riverside to schedule a strategic review of your legal options.

Contact Our Riverside office at (951) 667-5293 or use our online contact form.

One of the most important aspects of your legal process will be hiring a Riverside domestic violence attorney to represent your rights at court. When you were arrested, you were informed of your rights, which include the right to a public defender. While public defenders are attorneys who are committed to the rights of their clients, they’re often overloaded with cases. Hiring a domestic violence lawyer that can give your case the attention it deserves is advisable if you can afford it.

Graham Donath only focuses on criminal defense and is one of a few attorneys recognized as a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. Recently, Donath’s domestic abuse client was charged with Spousal Battery resulting in a traumatic condition. The alleged victim suffered serious swelling and bruising to the face. Donath’s client was found not guilty on all charges. 

Why Choose the Law Offices of Graham Donath?

  • Graham Donath has been named one of the Top 100 Trial Attorneys in Southern California by the National Trial Lawyers Organization
  • We have succeeded in hundreds of cases over the years.
  • We offer free case evaluations and free case consultations – call our Riverside office at (951) 667-5293 or fill out an online contact form.
  • You are innocent until proven guilty, and we will do everything in our power to protect your rights and make sure you get a fair trail.

Contact a Riverside Domestic Violence Lawyer

The legal consequences of a domestic violence charge will depend on the nature of the charge and whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony. Both domestic abuse and domestic battery may be misdemeanors under California law.

  • Domestic battery: Includes a fine up to $2,000 and a sentence in county jail up to one year.
  • Domestic abuse: If charged as a misdemeanor, it carries a potential penalty of up to $6,000 in fines and up to a year in county jail.

If charged as a felony, the penalties become more severe. These convictions carry a maximum sentence of two to four years in a California state prison. If you have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, contact Graham Donath he is one of the top Riverside domestic violence lawyers in the Inland empire. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. (951) 667-5293 

Defenses for Domestic Violence Charges

If you’re facing domestic abuse charges, it’s time to act and mount your defense. A riverside domestic violence attorney can help you gather the following to build a strong defense in court.

Gathering Evidence

Your defense hinges on providing enough evidence that casts reasonable doubt on the charges against you. Examples of gathering evidence might include:

  • Taking pictures of your hands if you’re accused of hitting someone. A lack of bruising or swelling could show that you didn’t strike.
  • Evidence that reduces your accuser’s credibility, such as a state of intoxication during the incident. Gathering text messages and videos is also a good step.

Keep in mind, if you’re arrested you might have a no-contact order with the accuser. These no-contact orders can be filed with a restraining order attorney.  Be sure to follow these terms closely. Do not approach your accuser under any circumstance.

Talking to Witnesses

If it’s possible, get witnesses to attest to the incident as evidence. If someone saw a fight occur, can they say that the accused was not actually a victim of violence or threats? If so, take down their contact information and consider having them write a witness statement outlining their observations. Your Riverside defense attorney can provide you with further guidance.

The Aftermath of a Domestic Violence Arrest

  • Posting Bail: Bail for domestic abuse and violence cases are usually high – around $50,000. However, your attorney may be able to negotiate to a fraction of this by convincing a judge that you’ll make it to all your court appearances. Alternatively, a judge may decide to release on you on your “own recognizance,” which means you won’t be required to post bail.
  • Attending the Arraignment: Shortly after being arrested, you’ll attend your first hearing, which is called the arraignment. During this hearing, the judge will read the charges against you and you’ll enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. The judge may also set pretrial conditions and future court dates. It’s essential to have a defense attorney’s guidance while entering a plea and preparing for the trial ahead.
  • Going to Trial: If you entered a guilty plea or no-contest plea, a judge may provide sentencing at the arraignment. However, if you enter a not guilty plea, your case goes to trial. It’s essential to follow your attorney’s instructions during the pretrial and trial period.

The Law Offices of Graham D. Donath can help you with this process. We offer free consultations. We will protect your rights and fight for a fair result. Contact our Riverside office at (951) 667-5293 or use our online contact form.

California Domestic Violence Laws

There are several California domestic violence laws that inform domestic violence charges in the state. Some of the most relevant include:

Penal Code 243(E): “Domestic Battery” or “Spousal Battery”

This section of California law describes domestic battery, which is one of the state’s most common domestic violence crimes. Under California law, domestic battery occurs when one person commits unlawful and willful touching of another person that is offensive or harmful. Domestic battery applies when these acts are against:

  • A spouse or ex-spouse
  • A “cohabitant” or someone you lived with (or used to live with)
  • A fiancé or ex-fiancé
  • The mother or father of your child
  • Any person with whom you do or used to have a dating relationship

A domestic battery may also be referred to as “spousal battery” because of the nature of the relationship involved. You may face a charge of domestic violence even if your partner did not experience any injury – the law only requires the use of force or violence.

The following are examples of actions that might give rise to domestic battery charges:

  • Pushing a spouse or partner during a fight
  • Pulling his or her hair
  • Grabbing a partner by the shirt

Domestic battery charges are generally misdemeanors under California law.

California Penal Code 273.5: Corporal Injury To Spouse

The second law that informs domestic violence is called “Corporal Injury on Spouse or Cohabitant.” This is a crime that involves the willful infliction of injury or harm that causes a visible, traumatic condition in an intimate partner (listed above). Examples of corporal injury in a spouse or cohabitant include:

  • Squeezing a partner’s arm hard enough to leave bruises
  • Punching, kicking or biting
  • Pushing someone into a glass cabinet that shatters

This crime may also be referred to as spousal abuse or domestic abuse. It’s a “wobbler” under California law, which means it may be a misdemeanor or a felony. The classification depends on the unique circumstances of the case and the defendant’s legal history.

Penal Code 422: Criminal Threats

In some cases, prosecutors may use the criminal threats law to charge a defendant with domestic violence. A criminal threat is defined as threatening to harm someone and that person:

  • Reasonably fears for their safety
  • Received the communication in writing, verbally, or over an electronic device, and
  • Experienced a threat that was unambiguous and specific

You may be charged with a criminal threat even if you have no intention of carrying it out. This too is a wobbler under California law. A misdemeanor conviction carries a sentence of up to one year in county jail, while a felony conviction could mean up to four years in state prison.

Again, domestic abuse charges- whether falling under a wobbler, misdemeanor, or felony- can be confusing and always ensure harsh penalties in California. Our experienced Riverside assault lawyer, Graham D. Donath, has successfully argued to reduce felony charges to misdemeanors or have the assault charges dropped altogether. Call today to schedule your free consultation.

Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped?

Sometimes, an accuser may decide to withdraw their charges, but this action doesn’t necessarily lead to dismissal. Even if an accuser wishes to drop charges, the decision whether to proceed with the case is at the discretion of the prosecution.

A district attorney’s office or another prosecutor can still bring charges, even if the accuser is being uncooperative with the investigation. Since this action is not entirely uncommon in domestic abuse cases (as they, by definition, involve loved ones), prosecutors often decide to proceed with charges.

This highlights the need for anyone facing domestic abuse and violence charges to seek a Riverside attorney versed in domestic disputes and violence immediately. We can help you understand your rights and start your legal proceeding out on the best foot possible.

How Much Does a Domestic Violence Lawyer Cost?

When considering hiring a lawyer for a domestic dispute, cost can be an important consideration. After all, while pursuing your safety is important, finances may make some attorneys fall out of reach of your budget. However, there is often a variety of rates for domestic violence defense lawyers, as the specific details of your case will influence the time and resources necessary. When determining the potential cost of your case, you will likely encounter two main costs: legal fees and trial costs. At the Law Offices of Graham D. Donath, your initial consultation is free of cost. Call our Riverside office (951) 667-5293 or use our online contact form.

Legal Fees

While many other types of cases may involve flat-rate legal fees, this practice is uncommon amongst domestic abuse and violence attorneys. The client’s needs and case type can affect the level of legal involvement necessary, making flat-rates impractical in these circumstances. Instead, your attorney will likely give you a price after hearing the details of your case during your initial consultation.

You can expect the stage of the case and its complexity to come into play. Pricing domestic abuse and violence cases can become a very subjective process, so it’s likely your attorney will give you an hourly rate to determine the final cost of the case from. Some other factors that can influence the hourly rate of an attorney are:

  • The attorney’s reputation and experience
  • Whether you’re working with a solo practice lawyer or a member of a firm
  • Your geographic location

One benefit you have as a client is that most attorneys will offer a free consultation to evaluate your case. During this time, you will likely discuss your estimated legal fees. Consultations are also no obligation, meaning that you can go to another attorney if the one you first talk to isn’t financially feasible for you to hire.

Trial Costs

Sometimes, an attorney can help you resolve a domestic abuse and violence issue in some form of settlement negotiations. However, this isn’t always possible. If your case does end up going to court, you will be looking at additional fees.

Besides the extra time playing into your hourly legal fees, a trial requires discovery, preparation, and hearing time. Often, domestic violence cases can see an increase in cost of $5,000 on average if they head to trial. The amount will, much like your initial legal fees, depend on the circumstances of your case.

Although you cannot always tell if going to trial will be necessary from the beginning of the case, you will not have to head into the situation financially blind. A good domestic assault attorney will work out additional payment arrangements with you prior to heading to the courtroom.

Preparing Your Defense: Questions to Expect From Our Riverside Domestic Violence Lawyers

Our domestic violence defense attorneys will start mounting your defense by asking several questions:

  • Did the accuser fabricate the assault? False accusations occur more often that you might think. If the alleged victim is making up the abuse to gain leverage in a custody or divorce battle, this could form part of your defense. Keep in mind that emotional and psychological abuse are generally harder to prove than physical abuse.
  • Did you do it, or is there someone else in your household that could be responsible? If you have any documentation that could attest to this fact, remember to bring it with you.
  • Do you have any questions? It’s essential that you understand your rights and the legal process that follows an arrest for a domestic dispute. We want to help you, which includes being informed at every step. If you do have any questions, make sure you ask us, so we can properly represent you.

Contact a Riverside Domestic Violence Lawyer | Free Consultations Available

Domestic violence charges can be serious, and they rarely go away. If you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges involving domestic abuse or spousal or partner battery, it’s essential to hire a Riverside domestic violence attorney as soon as possible. Graham Donath specializes in criminal defense law and serves clients in Orange County and the Inland Empire. He has successfully defended clients in both misdemeanor and felony trials and is committed to defending your rights under California law. For more information about our Riverside criminal defense lawyer, please contact us.

Client Review:

“I got arrested after I was accused of domestic violence. I was referred to Mr. Donath by some attorney in court on my first court date and called him. Boy am I glad I did. A few months later and all criminal charges dismissed and all I had to do was pay a fine. I can’t say enough about what a great and trustworthy lawyer he was.” – Jeff W.