Domestic Violence Lawyer In San Diego

Criminal charges of domestic violence are some of the most aggressively prosecuted by the San Diego District Attorney’s Office.  In fact, the District Attorney’s Office has a specialized unit dedicated to the prosecution of domestic violence cases. 

The criminal defense attorney you choose to represent you in a domestic violence case can make the difference between prison or probation or between a felony or a misdemeanor.

As a former prosecutor who spent years prosecuting domestic violence cases as part of a specialized unit, criminal defense attorney Gregory Garrison and his team of legal professionals are uniquely qualified to obtain the best result possible for your domestic violence case. San Diego criminal defense lawyer gregory garrison

The negotiating skills and level of case analysis performed by the Law Office of Gregory Garrison is unparalleled in the San Diego criminal defense community. 

What is domestic violence?

The State of California defines domestic violence, when charged as physical abuse, as the willful infliction of a corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition on one’s current or former spouse or cohabitant, or the mother or father of one’s child. (California Penal Code section 273.5(a)) 

A person can also be charged when they attempt to inflict injury upon one of the people described above.  A “traumatic condition” can be any injury no matter how minor.  The lightest of bruising qualifies as a traumatic condition under California domestic violence law. 

Is Domestic Violence A Felony or A Misdemeanor?

Domestic violence charges can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor.  Whether a felony or a misdemeanor is charged often depends on the severity of the injury, the criminal history of those involved,  and the nature of the relationship between the parties. 

The Law Office of Gregory Garrison has successfully obtained outcomes for their clients in domestic violences cases that included a charge reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor and even outright dismissal of the charges.  Having a San Diego domestic violence attorney who understands the complexities of domestic violence law is essential to achieving the best result possible. 

What is cohabitation?

The term “cohabitation” does not have a clear cut definition under California domestic violence law.  The law provides factors to be considered in making a determination whether two people cohabited together. 

A person can also cohabitant with more than one person at a time.  This multiple cohabitation is possible even if the cohabitation takes place at two different locations simultaneously. 

The factors considered when determining if cohabitation existed are as follows:

  • length of the relationship
  • whether the individuals held themselves out a spouses or partners
  • sharing of incomes or expenses
  • existence of sexual relations
  • the continuity of the relationship
  • common use or ownership of property


Domestic Violence Requires Specific Types of Relationships

In order for charges of domestic violence to be brought, there must exist a certain type of relationship between the person charged and the complaining witness. 

The following types of relationships allow for the bringing of domestic violence charges in San Diego County:

  • married couples (both opposite sex and same sex marriages)
  • two people who were previously married
  • two people in a current or former dating relationship
  • two people who cohabitate (share a residence together)
  • two people who have a child in common


Domestic violence can cover a wide range of charges stemming from a number of factual scenarios including:

  • Harassment via social media
  • Harassing or annoying phone calls
  • Harassing or annoying text messages
  • Stalking
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Verbal threats


Are there Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges?

Yes.  There are a variety of defenses to domestic violence charges.  It is vital to your case to retain a domestic violence attorney who understands these defenses and can use that understanding in negotiating your case with the government or, if necessary, arguing your case to a jury. 

Some defenses to domestic violence charges include:

  • self defense
  • defense of others
  • insufficient evidence
  • act not done willfully (accident defense)


Domestic Violence Penalties in California

The potential penalties for domestic violence in California depend on many factors including whether the charge was a misdemeanor or a felony, the severity of the injury, whether the accused has any prior domestic violence convictions,  whether the accused has other prior convictions, and whether the accused is a United States citizen. 

The potential penalties for felony domestic violence include:

  • imprisonment in state prison for 2, 3, or 4 years, or in the county jail for up to one year
  • loss of right to possess or own a firearm for life
  • standard court costs and fines
  • Criminal Protective Order restricting contact with the victim


The potential penalties for misdemeanor domestic violence include:

  • up to 365 days in jail
  • loss of right to possess or own a firearm for 10 years
  • 20 hours or more of community service
  • standard court costs and fines
  • Criminal Protective Order restricting contact with the victim
  • a 52 week anger management class

Note: these penalties are increased for those who have prior domestic violence convictions within the past 7 years.

The alleged victim can’t drop the charges

In California, the manner in which domestic violence cases are prosecuted has changed over the years.  There was a time when charges of domestic violence would not be pursued where the alleged victim was uncooperative with the prosecution. 

However, this is no longer the case.  Once a call is made to 911 or the police regarding a domestic violence situation, the police will almost always arrest someone.  The District Attorney’s Office makes the decision whether or not to file charges and on whom to file them. 

The alleged victim will not be allowed to drop the charges or to otherwise prevent the government from pursuing the case. 

San Diego Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with domestic violence or you are under investigation for domestic violence, you must act quickly to secure effective representation.  The Law Office of Gregory Garrison and its team of legal professionals are uniquely qualified to defend your rights and obtain the best possible result for your domestic violence case. 

Our team has successfully defended many clients accused of domestic violence and achieved results including dismissals, reduction in charges, and reduction in sentence. 

San Diego criminal defense attorney Gregory Garrison is San Diego’s only criminal defense attorney with 28 years of combined experience as a criminal defense attorney, a former prosecutor, and a former law enforcement officer. 

Contact the Law Office of Gregory Garrison today at (619) 615-4216 to speak to a skilled San Diego domestic violence defense attorney about your case.  The initial consultation is free.