Domestic violence convictions can affect your ability to own or possess firearms or ammunition for the rest of your life.
Furthermore, a child witness, use of a “weapon,” and repeat offenses can elevate a misdemeanor assault to a felony (as can other circumstances), which can result in prison as well as a felony conviction.
Cases can be successfully prosecuted regardless of whether the victim wants to prosecute. The concept of “pressing charges” is fiction. The police decide whether to make an arrest, and the Deputy District Attorney decides whether to file charges. The Deputy District Attorney is required to listen to the victim’s wishes but is not required to follow them.
No-contact and Restraining Orders
If you are arrested for domestic violence, chances are there is a court order restricting your contact with the alleged victim. Generally, only the restrained party (the accused) can be punished for violating this order. Even if the victim initiates the contact, you can be arrested, not the victim. Until the court modifies the order, you need to avoid contact even if it means running the opposite direction or not answering the phone or door. Third party contact (relaying messages through another person) with the victim counts as contact, as do text messages and e-mails. Courts sometimes allow exceptions to facilitate parenting time. Consequences for violating no-contact orders can include a new charge of Contempt of Court and being held in jail until your case resolves.
Victims can request that the Court modify the no-contact order. Usually the Deputy District Attorney objects and there is a hearing with a judge. Judges usually keep no-contact orders in place until the case resolves.