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Domestic Violence Criminal Case

The domestic violence criminal case is initiated following the arrest and investigation by the district attorney of the county in which the crime is alleged to have been committed. The domestic violence criminal action is initiated by the district attorney filing a Complaint with the Superior Court. The Complaint is a charging document. A court number will be assigned to the Complaint and the domestic abuse criminal case will be commenced.

The person who was arrested for domestic abuse will now be referred to as the Defendant. This will have the effect of depersonalizing the person who was arrested and charged with domestic violence. The person who complained about being assaulted or battered will be called the victim. The complainant's full name will not be used if they have requested their name to be kept confidential.


The Arraignment is the first criminal court appearance following the domestic violence arrest. The purpose of the Arraignment is for the accused's attorney to be identified, for the accused to be provided a copy of the Complaint and advised of the criminal charges, for custody status to be discussed, Stay Away Order to be issued and served, initial case Discovery to be provided, a Plea of Not Guilty to be entered and to set future court dates.

Pretrial Conference

A Pretrial Conference will be sheduled at the Arraignment of a misdemeanor domestic violence case. The Pretrial Conference is where the district attorney and defense attorney will discuss possible resolution of the domestic violence case. The Judge usually participates in the discussion with the attorneys. The offer is presented to the accused who will have an opportunity to discuss the case with the defense attorney. It may be necessary to set another court date for the accused to consider the offer. The Judge will impose consequences and a Sentence if the accused settles the case.If the accused is unwilling to accept the settlement terms proposed, the case will be set for Trial.

Preliminary Hearing

A Preliminary Hearing or Prehearing Conference will be sheduled at the Arraignment of a felony domestic violence case. A Preliminary Hearing is a probable cause Hearing. At the Preliminary Hearing, the prosecutor will present evidence through live testimony of an investigating officer. The court must determine whether sufficient evidence has been presented to establish that a crime has been committed and whether the person who has been accused committed the offense or offenses.

The accused will be Held to Answer the charges if the Judge concludes there is sufficient evidence to believe that a crime has been committed and that the person who has been charged committed the offense. If the accused is Held to Answer the charges, another court date will be set in a different courtroom where a new charging document called an Information will be filed. The accused will be Arraigned on the Information.

At the second Arraignment, future court appearances will be scheduled. At each court appearance, the attorneys may revisit the possibility of settling the case on the same terms or different terms than were previously discussed. The settlement offer may become worse for the accused if the prosecution believes their case is stronger or the basis for additional charges became apparent at the Preliminary Hearing. The settlement offer may become better for the accused if the prosecution believes their case is weaker than previously believed.


The California Constitution provides that an accused's right to Trial by jury is a significant right. In a criminal case, the jury must be composed of twelve people (a lesser number of jurors may decide a criminal case charged as a misdemeanor unless the parties agree to a lesser number in open court) who must make make a unanimous finding of guilt in order for the accused to be convicted of the charged offenses.


The accused may appeal a misdemeanor conviction by filing a Notice of Appeal within thirty (30) days of sentencing. If the accused has been convicted of a felony, the appeal must be filed within sixty (60) days of sentencing. There is no reason to delay filing the Notice of Appeal. The purpose of appealing a criminal conviction is to bring the reviewing court's attention errors made in the Trial which were improperly prejudicial to the accused.

Experienced Domestic Violence Lawyer

The stakes are high in a California domestic violence case. A criminal conviction for domestic battery or criminal threats in California may result in jail, large fines, mandatory domestic violence counseling sessions which meet two (2) hours weekly for a minimum of one year, mandatory alcohol education classes, personal conduct orders, stay away orders, temporary restraining orders, 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 have only a qualified domestic violence defense lawyer to handle the case from the earliest possible moment.

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 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. The firm accepts only California domestic battery cases, California temporary restraining order actions or California driving under the influence cases.

Contact The Office

An arrest for domestic battery, domestic assault, criminal threats or stalking in California may result in actual jail, large fines, mandatory 52 week batterer's treatment program, mandatory alcohol education classes, and other punishment. For that reason, it is important that you have only a qualified California criminal defense lawyer handling your domestic violence case from the beginning.

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. 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.

If you hire Robert Tayac to handle your domestic violence case, you will know your case is being properly handled by a knowledgeable, experienced, and trustworthy California criminal defense lawyer.

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 can 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 fought. Many people arrested for domestic violence are innocent. A person doesn't have to commit a crime to be taken to jail by the police, especially in domestic abuse cases.

Why Choose Our Firm?

Attorney Robert Tayac Puts a Long, Decorated Career to Work for You
  • Puts Over 20 Years of Experience Toward Your Case

  • Has Trained Other Attorneys in San Francisco

  • Former San Francisco Police Officer & Police Inspector

  • Boasts a Successful Record Achieving the Best Result for His Clients

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