The Steps to Take Following Suffering Domestic Abuse
According to the California self-help guide, those who have been the victim of domestic abuse or harassment can go through certain steps in the criminal justice system in order to seek redress for the harm. This article will act as a brief summary of some of the major points of the state’s guide. If you are currently in danger, call 911.
What to do following the crime
Most importantly, if you have suffered any sort of abuse and/or are receiving credible threats to life, call 911 and speak with emergency personnel. Calling the police or going to a police station to file a police report can be a huge first step in the journey through the criminal process. Once the police have been notified of an incident of domestic abuse, they write up a report that includes important details about the incident, including photo evidence of the injuries.
Once the police have been called and allegations of domestic abuse or harassment have been made, the victim of the abuse can no longer decide the future course of legal action. This means that the district attorney now has the power and authority to decide whether charges should be filed. If a domestic violence charge is filed, it can either be a misdemeanor or a felony – it all depends on the circumstances of the abuse. The Judicial Council’s self-help guide states that “most domestic violence cases do not go to trial” (source link below) as most people plead guilty or no contest to the domestic violence charges. Each case is different, which is why the probation department provides suggested jail or prison sentences in order to effectively penalize the defendant. Following their jail or prison sentence, the offender could potentially receive parole, which comes with conditions.
It can be incredibly difficult to go through this legal process, which is why it is highly recommended to seek the counsel of experienced criminal attorneys, like those at Law Advocates Group. Experienced counsel can help all parties navigate the system and have their rights properly represented.