Some people are surprised to learn that domestic violence doesn’t have to be between a husband and a wife. It can be between two people in a relationship or who used to be in a relationship. Domestic violence can also involve children and the elderly. Serious penalties can await the individual who caused physical harm or made threats, despite being a male or a female. Police officers can make an arrest and issue a report for misdemeanor or felony prosecution if they have reasonable belief that a wrongful act of violence or threat was made. A recent and very public California domestic violence case involves pop-icons Rihanna and Chris Brown.
Rihanna, 21 was subpoenaed to appear in a Los Angeles court on June 22, 2009 to give her testimony against Chris Brown, 20 for an alleged domestic violence assault that occurred more than four months ago. People.com sought a legal opinion from LA criminal defense attorney, Stephen David Sitkoff, as to whether the prosecution would consider Rihanna a reliable witness. Sitkoff stated, “Prosecutors wouldn’t bring her in to testify if they didn’t think she was going to be a solid witness…if Rihanna was going to change her story out of fear or to protect Brown, it generally would’ve happened by now.”
This preliminary hearing would have established if there was substantial evidence for a trial against Brown and whether his two felony charges-assault and making criminal threats–would be dismissed or reduced.
Brown had previously pled not guilty in the case and was set to appear at the hearing where evidence was to be presented against him. And in which Rihanna was expected to provide a truthful account of what took place on that day of the alleged assault.
Cases of domestic violence and spousal abuse are aggressively prosecuted. Even if a victim doesn’t wish to go to court, assault charges will usually not be dismissed. Although jail-time is strongly sought, even for first-time domestic violence offenders; with the help of a skilled Los Angeles spousal abuse lawyer, those accused of domestic violence can instead get placed on probation, be required to participate in public work service, complete an anger management program, or pay fines. Your domestic violence charges may even be completely dismissed. If you are facing spousal abuse or domestic violence charges, call Sitkoff & Hanrahan for a free consultation.
Update: Late this afternoon, Chris Brown’s attorneys reached a plea agreement in which Brown plead guilty to felony assault by means likely to cause great bodily injury, according to an article. Brown will avoid jail time and instead will be sentenced to five years probation, 180 days of community labor in Virginia, payment of an undisclosed amount of fines, and a year of domestic violence classes. The court will drop a second charge of making criminal threats when the formal sentencing begins on August 5. If Brown violates probation, a four year prison term could be the consequence.