The consequences of a domestic violence conviction in California include more than just jail time. Penalties for domestic battery in Oakland or the East Bay can include jail, fines, community service, loss of your gun rights, and completing a batterer's intervention program.
The batterer's intervention program is supposed to help defendants avoid violence in the future, to prevent further assault or battery in the home. However, an audit has shown that many people who are required to complete these courses never finish.
If you are facing charges for domestic violence in Alameda County or Contra Costa County, contact an experienced California criminal defense lawyer who can explain your rights and legal options.
California Audit Showing People Don't Attend Domestic Violence Classes
According to the California State Auditor, many of the people who are required to complete the batterer's intervention program do not complete the course. In a report to the governor, Acting California State Auditor Michael Tilden reported that the courts, probation officers, and program administrators often failed to report when batterers failed to appear for classes.
Acting California State Auditor Michael Tilden recommended appointing an oversight agency that could track domestic violence data, establish clear standards, oversee program providers, and supervise offenders.
As a consequence of probation departments and program providers that did not inform the court when offenders violated probation, almost half of offenders never ended up completing the program. Of those who did not complete the full domestic violence programs, 65% returned to abuse or committed an abuse-related crime.
The counties reviewed by the auditor's team included batterer intervention systems in 5 counties, including Alameda County and Contra Costa County.
Who Has to Go to Domestic Violence Classes?
Generally, anyone who is convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or felony domestic abuse will be required to complete a batterer's treatment program, as part of probation. The domestic violence batterers program is a year-long commitment, including attending weekly classes for 52 weeks.
Also known as domestic violence school, the program includes classroom work, group counseling, and individual counseling. Classes are a minimum of 2 hours duration. The domestic violence program sends a quarterly progress report to the courts.
According to the program's policies, defendants are not allowed to skip classes without an approved excuse and only a few individual classes can be missed in the 52-week program. The program can even recommend additional sessions beyond a year.
Do Batterer's Intervention Programs Help?
According to a U.S. Department of Justice report on domestic violence, “Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, and Judges,” completing domestic violence education programs reduces the chance of reoffending. According to one study, reabuse rates for people who completed the program were 14.3% compared to 34.6% for those who did not complete the program.
Can I Avoid a Criminal Conviction After a Domestic Violence Arrest?
East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 39 years of criminal defense experience and understands the consequences for people arrested for domestic violence. Representing individuals and their families in Contra Costa and Alameda County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local domestic violence laws, local officers, and the prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay domestic violence defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.
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