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How Much Will a Domestic Violence Conviction Cost?

When people think about getting convicted for a crime in California, they may focus on going to jail and having a criminal record. However, there are other penalties and consequences you may have to worry about. Even after you are released from jail, you may have to spend up to 3 years on probation, under the watchful eye of the court. 

Paying all the fines, fees, restitution, and costs of a batterer's treatment program can cost more than $10,000. If you consider how much it can cost you to be convicted of a crime, investing in an experienced East Bay criminal defense attorney can be money well spent. If you were arrested for domestic violence in Alameda County or Contra Costa, contact East Bay criminal defense attorney Lynn Gorelick.

Costs of a Domestic Violence Conviction in California

The costs of a domestic violence conviction can depend on the criminal charges and the individual circumstances. Domestic battery is generally punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and up to a year in jail. Domestic abuse resulting in corporal injury is a felony, which can include up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $6,000. 

In addition to jail time and fines, other consequences of a domestic violence conviction can include: 

  • Criminal protective order (CPO)
  • Probation
  • Batterer's treatment program
  • Community service
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Victim restitution
  • Payment to battered women's shelter 
  • Immigration consequences for non-citizens or LPRs

Costs of Probation

Probation for domestic battery in California can result in 3 years of probation. Probation is a type of supervised release where the probationer has to follow certain rules and restrictions as a condition for staying out of jail. According to California Penal Code § 1203, “probation means the suspension of the imposition or execution of a sentence and the order of conditional and revocable release in the community under the supervision of a probation officer.“

The costs of probation can depend on the type of probation and the extent of monitoring and testing. According to the California Legislative Analyst's Office, probation fees can include: 

  • Daily GPS monitoring
  • Monthly supervision fees
  • Installment fee
  • Court mandated reports
  • Drug testing fees
  • Probation violation fees

Probation fees can vary by county and if someone moves from one county to another while on probation, they may also have to pay a county transfer fee. Some probation fees are adjusted based on the ability to pay. For low supervision probation, probation can cost up to $1,000 a year. For high supervision probation, it can cost up to $5,000 per year. Over a three-year probationary period, fees can amount to $3,000 for low supervision and $15,000 for high supervision. 

Costs of Batterer's Intervention Program

The batterer's treatment program is a year-long, 52-week program. Also known as domestic violence classes, this program includes educational components, group counseling, and individual counseling. Classes are a minimum of 2 hours duration every week. The defendant is not allowed to skip classes without an excused absence for good cause. If the program recommends more sessions, the defendant may be required to continue the program through the rest of their probation period. 

The participant has to pay for the costs of the program. Costs depend on the individual program. To find an approved batterer's intervention program in the East Bay, contact:  

For example, the cost of one Batterer's Treatment Program in Oakland includes a $65 registration fee and class fees based on a sliding scale based on income, from $25/week to $100/week. For a year-long program, at the maximum fee, the participant may be looking at more than $5,000 for batterer's treatment program costs. 

Payment to Battered Women's Shelter

Under California Penal Code Section 243(e)(2), upon conviction for domestic battery, “if probation is granted, the conditions of probation may include, in lieu of a fine, one or both of the following requirements:

  • That the defendant makes payments to a battered women's shelter, up to a maximum of five thousand dollars ($5,000).

For any order to make payments to a battered women's shelter, “the court shall make a determination of the defendant's ability to pay. In no event shall any order to make payments to a battered women's shelter be made if it would impair the ability of the defendant to pay direct restitution to the victim or court-ordered child support.” 

Payment of Victim Restitution

Under California Penal Code Section 243(e), upon conviction for domestic battery, “if probation is granted, the conditions of probation may include, in lieu of a fine, one or both of the following requirements:

  • That the defendant reimburse the victim for reasonable costs of counseling and other reasonable expenses that the court finds are the direct result of the defendant's offense.”

If domestic violence occurred between married spouses, the defendant's own property would have to be used to pay restitution before any joint property could be used to make a payment. 

Restitution is payment to the victim of domestic battery for any losses caused by the abuse. Victim restitution can include: 

  • Value of damaged property.
  • Medical expenses.
  • Mental health counseling.
  • Lost wages. 
  • Interest, at the rate of 10% per year.
  • Actual and reasonable attorney's fees and other costs of collection.
  • Relocation expenses, including deposits for utilities and telephone service, rental housing, temporary lodging and food expenses, clothing, and personal items. 
  • Residential security expenses.
  • Home and vehicle modifications if the victim is permanently disabled. 

Oakland and East Bay Domestic Violence Legal Defense

It can be difficult to estimate the total cost of a domestic violence conviction but in some cases, the total could exceed $20,000 or more. A strong legal defense could help you avoid a criminal conviction and the costs that go along with probation, court fines, and restitution. 

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 38 years of criminal defense experience and understands how to approach each domestic battery case for the greatest chance for success. Representing individuals in Oakland, Alameda County, and Contra Costa County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the police, prosecutors, and judges involved in cases just like yours. 

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