California Domestic Violence Attorney
Welcome to the website for California domestic violence lawyer and restraining order defense attorney Robert Tayac. If you, your spouse, partner, relative or someone you know and care about has been arrested for domestic violence (sometimes called spousal abuse, domestic abuse or family violence) or served with a domestic violence restraining order stemming from an accusation of assault, battery or abuse against a spouse, former spouse, domestic partner, cohabitant, former cohabitant or person dated anywhere in Northern California including the Bay Area counties of San Francisco,
Sonoma, please read the material in this website in the
What to do First,
Criminal Case and
Protective Orders sections, then seriously consider calling this office to discuss the matter in confidence with an attorney who specializes in domestic violence defense and restraining order cases.
California domestic violence laws are complicated and the
domestic violence is broad. An arrest involving an allegation of domestic violence typically initiates more than one case. The first case is the criminal case where the person arrested has been charged with a violation of
Penal Code Section 273.5,
626.9 or a similar criminal offense, while a second related case which may be initiated is a civil
restraining order case. Additionally, a domestic abuse incident may result in the couple ending their relationship, which may involve family law proceedings in a separate family law court and involve complicated child custody and property distribution issues. Furthermore, a person accused of domestic violence may be sued in civil court by the person who has alleged abuse.
Anyone arrested for domestic assault or
domestic battery who holds a professional license (attorneys, physicians, nurses, pilots, stock brokers, teachers, or other professionals) or security clearances (police officers, fire fighters, government employees, members of the military or governmnent contractors) are at risk of having the agency which issued the professional license or security clearance initiate yet another case which may impact their license or one or more job critical certifications to practice their profession. As well, anyone owning a firearm or required to carry a firearm as part of their professional responsibilities may be barred from owning, possessing or carrying a handgun, rifle or shotgun.
Additionally, if a person is not a citizen of the United States, conviction of a criminal offense involving violence creates the risk of deportation, denial of naturalization, exclusion from admission or readmission to the United States, denial of the issuance or extension of an H-1B Visa which allows non-United States citizens to work in this country, or denial of an upgrade of status with the immigration authorities.
This law office specializes in representing people who have been accused of domestic abuse or family violence in California. Additionally, this office represents clients in applying for and responding to applications for personal conduct orders or protective orders such as a
Domestic Violence Restraining Order, Termporary
Restraining Order, Peaceful Contact Order, or No Harassment Order.
As one of very few California lawyers who specializes in family violence cases, attorney Robert Tayac is committed to helping couples heal their relationships when they wish to do so or helping one or both parties move on with their lives without the involvement of the criminal courts. He is a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law and a member of the professional organizations whose focus is related to helping those accused of domestic battery and domestic assault, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), and California Public Defenders Association (CPDA).
Domestic Violence Arrest
A domestic violence arrest is typically initiated when police receive a 911 call and and are sent to a home or public place where a couple has been arguing. A criminal
investigation may also be initiated when a health care provider reports that a patient has sufferered injuries consistent with an injury sustained as a result of a domestic violence incident.
California domestic violence laws are strict and California police agencies have policies that require an arrest to be made whenever the legal elements of a criminal offense are present. Initially, the responding police officers must decide who was the primary aggressor. Oftentimes the police are mistaken about who was the primary aggressor because police officers don't usually see the incident, assume the person who called the police was not the primary aggressor, or are biased and assume that a man (when a man is involved) was the primary aggressor. In fact, studies suggest that police are biased towards arresting men in most circumstances. However, sometimes the police arrest both people involved in a domestic violence incident where bidirectional violence was involved.
Police officers are actively conducting a criminal investigation from the moment they receive the radio transmission dispatching them to a location where a domestic violence incident is reported to have occurred. The police dispatcher will relay the information provided by the person who called the police to the responding officers and may provide information about any prior calls from the address or reports involving the named parties. The telephone call to the police is recorded and, oftentimes, the information relayed by the police dispatcher from the 911 caller will influence the attitude and actions of the police officers once they arrive at the scene.
When law enforcement officers arrive at the scene of a suspected domestic violence incident, the couple is being subjected to a criminal domestic violence investigation and incriminating evidence is being collected. Each person's appearance will be recorded on a police report and photographs will most likely be taken of the person arrested, as well as the person who called the police. Special report forms have been developed by California law enforcement agencies which depict simple form figures so that injuries or the absence of injuries may be documented directly on the report. Photographs are often taken of the scene and recordings are typically made of statements made by the person who becomes the focus of the domestic violence investigation. Sometimes the area will be designated as a crime scene and crime scene investigators will respond to take photographs, sketch diagrams, and collect evidence to support a subsequent domestic violence prosecution.
Domestic Violence Prosecutions
The law enforcement officers who responded to the scene of the domestic violence incident are required by California law to prepare police reports and forward copies of their reports to the District Attorney of the county in which the incident is alleged to have occurred. Sometimes a follow up investigation is made by police supervisors, detectives or inspectors, and the case is presented to one or more government domestic violence lawyers employed by the county District Attorney's office who must make a charging decision. Usually, the District Attorney will rely solely on what has been presented in the police reports written by the officers who responded to the incident when emotions were at a peak. The District Attorney must make a decision whether or not to prosecute the case based on the information presented by the police and will usually prosecute the person who has been arrested. Often, the police received only one side of the incident because the person who was arrested declined to make a statement before or after a Miranda admonishment was read by a police officer advising the person arrested of their right to remain silent and their right to a lawyer before any questioning commences.
If the police received only one side of the incident, the District Attorney will only receive one side of the case. The District Attorney may make a mistake in charging a person because their office has only the reports from the law enforcement agency from which to make a charging decision. Once a charging decision has been made, it is unlikely that the District Attorney will drop the charges. In fact, many District Attorney's offices have policies against dropping or dismissing domestic violence cases once they have been charged, even if the complaining witness changes their story or declines to cooperate with the District Attorney's prosecution.
Domestic Violence Criminal Cases
People are vulnerable when they appear in court following a domestic violence arrest to face criminal charges. One common mistake a person can make is to be in a hurry to resolve their case. Pleading guilty or no contest to one-sided allegations at the first appearance (Arraignment) invites an unfair result. A person should be aware of their Constitutional right to be represented by a lawyer at all stages of the proceedings. At the subsequent appearance, called a
Pretrial Conference in a misdemeanor case or Prehearing Conference or Preliminary Hearing in a felony case, a lawyer has the first opportunity of making an informed evaluation of whether settling a case is in the client's best interests or whether it makes sense to proceed through the Preliminary Hearing or to Trial.
Sometimes a particular case requires several appearances prior to Trial and the accused's attorney must be prepared for Trial on each occasion in order to obtain the best possible result. Some cases need to go to Trial and be decided by a jury. If a person is convicted at Trial, it may be in the person's best interests to Appeal the criminal conviction.
Even if a person doesn’t have a strong defense and a No Contest or Guilty plea is inevitable, a person charged with a criminal offense needs an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer who specializes in defending domestic battery and spousal abuse cases. The advice and counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who specializes in domestic violence cases is critical in order to properly evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a particular resolution. In all criminal cases a lawyer should be involved to ensure that the case is properly handled and the best possible result is obtained. Court appointed lawyers are available for the poor. However, court appointed lawyers carry extremely heavy caseloads and may not be the best choice in a case where personal attention and the best result is desired.
While any domestic violence case is serious, the consequences of a domestic violence case causing serious bodily injury or great bodily injury are very severe and may lead to an actual jail or prison sentence. Although there are always defenses which may apply to particular cases, many lawyers may overstate the extent to which these defenses may be available in a particular person's case.
Experienced Domestic Violence Lawyer
The stakes are high in a California domestic violence case. A criminal conviction for domestic battery, domestic assault, or criminal threats in California may result in jail, mandatory domestic violence counseling sessions which meet two (2) hours weekly for a minimum of one year, personal conduct orders, stay away orders, temporary restraining orders, mandatory alcohol education classes, large fines, and other punishment as provided by
Penal Code section 1203.097. For that reason, it is critical that that a person charged with domestic assault, domestic battery, criminal threats or stalking in California have only a qualified domestic violence defense lawyer handling the case from the earliest possible moment.
Contact The Office
Robert Tayac is recognized as being among the top domestic violence lawyers in California and represents clients in criminal cases related to domestic violence, assault and battery, and applications for and responses to restraining orders. Attorneys, investigators and experts working with this highly specialized law office represent clients in the Northern California criminal courts located in San Francisco, San Mateo Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Sonoma and Napa counties. Additionally, lawyers of this law firm represent clients seeking or defending against temporary restraining orders. domestic violence restraining orders and no harassment orders before the superior courts of San Francisco, San Rafael, Redwood City, South San Francisco, Napa, Oakland, Palo Alto, Walnut Creek, San Jose and Santa Rosa. This office accepts only California domestic battery and domestic assault cases, California temporary restraining order actions or California driving under the influence cases.
If you or someone you know has been or may be accused of domestic violence, we invite you to read the information contained in this website and welcome you to call our office and discuss your case with a domestic violence lawyer in confidence. If you prefer, you may submit a confidential case questionnaire which will be reviewed by a member of our firm and receive a prompt response.
Office Locations and Areas We Serve
Mr. Tayac represents clients who have been arrested in the following counties as well as other cities throughout California and is available to meet clients at one of several office locations in Northern California.
This website is about California’s domestic violence laws and the
San Francisco and Bay Area courts.
Domestic violence cases in California frequently must be taken to Trial. Many people
arrested for domestic violence are innocent. A person doesn't have to commit a crime to be arrested by the police taken to jail. This is particularly true in domestic abuse cases.