Andrew M Jennings Attorney at Law
Andrew M Jennings Attorney at Law
vineyard in Santa Maria

Santa Maria Domestic Violence Attorney

Choose the best Santa Maria domestic violence attorney

If you have been charged with domestic violence in Santa Maria CA, you want a Santa Maria domestic violence attorney with lots of trial experience in Santa Maria, treats you with dignity, respect, and defends you aggressively.

I really care about helping you, and for that reason offer a free no-obligation phone call. The call helps us determine if a consultation will best serve you. Aside from providing you guidance that has helped many avoid prison, people often feel relief after the consultation. Domestic violence charges are intimidating.

Without an expert to guide you, it’s easy to feel stressed, uncertain, depressed, confused, overwhelmed, and hopeless. I don’t think you should have to feel that way. But, it is important to seek out a legal professional as soon as possible.

Santa Maria Domestic Violence Attorney Testimonials:

William Redell, Santa Maria Criminal Attorney: “As a Defense Attorney, I can say without any reservation at all, Mr. Jennings provides outstanding service. I would not hesitate to contact Mr. Jennings (and often do) with questions and advice regarding any legal issue. He's the attorney, attorneys turn to when they have questions and need sound legal advice.  Thanks for all your help over the years - you make me proud of our profession” (5-star Google Review)

Terri Dutra, Andrew Jennings’s client: “Attorney Jennings represented me well. He was well informed and available. Thank you!!” (5-star Google Review)

The Quality Defense Agreement

I agree to:

  1. aggressively defend you,
  2. treat you with dignity and respect,
  3. guide you every step of the way

The cost of not calling a professional domestic violence lawyer in Santa Maria

  • You could get a harsher sentence - ​​If you wait to hire private counsel, you may miss the opportunity to present your attorney with facts pointing to innocence before the charge is filed. If your attorney can present those facts to the filing deputy in the DA office, and convince the DA they cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, it could result in the case being rejected for filing. Domestic violence charges are sometimes but not always dropped or reduced if a defense attorney is notified early on of the charge. Are you sure you want to risk prison, social alienation, and poor job opportunities by waiting?
  • You could be wasting time - You’re probably reading this because you care about your well-being and want to pick the right domestic violence lawyer in Santa Maria.  Great work!  But reading is only going to get you so far.  You may be wasting time when you could be getting real answers to your domestic violence questions now by calling me.
  • You could be feeling better - People charged with domestic violence are often stressed and confused.  But, when those people call me they often feel relieved, less stressed, more in control, less depressed, and more hopeful.  Why continue to be stressed and confused about your case when you could call me for understanding and probably some peace of mind?

A Santa Maria domestic violence attorney that understands how you feel

I understand what you are feeling and deeply sympathize.  It’s normal to feel fear, depression, confusion, uncertainty, intimidation and hopelessness when charged with domestic violence.  Domestic violence charges often carry severe consequences like prison, loss of citizenship, job loss, and social alienation.  However, when people like you call me, they often experience relief from feelings of stress because they sense that I care about their future.  They also recognize that I have the qualifications and experience to aggressively defend them.

The benefits of going with a top domestic violence attorney in Santa Maria

  • Tons of trial experience - You receive peace of mind that I’ve defended thousands of people just like you.  
  • Legal community knowledge - You get reassurance that I’m on a first-name basis with the legal community in Santa Maria, and can better predict case outcomes.
  • Communication - You get clarity and understanding of your case and the process.  I return calls within 24 hours, and give you status updates on your case. 
  • Aggressive Defense - You receive aggressive defense as if I was in your shoes.  Your well-being and future are my primary concern.

The three-step domestic violence defense plan

  1. Consultation - After your free call and, if you choose, $40 consultation you decide you'd like me to represent you, we create a plan of action to get you the best possible outcome for your case.  You should experience more hope and less anxiety knowing I’ve got your back.
  2. Defense - I defend you in court, and put our plan into motion.  You benefit from clear instructions every step of the way, my many years of domestic violence trial experience with the Santa Maria courts, and excellent communication. At this step we proceed to a jury trial. Unless we settle the case in a plea deal with the prosecution.
  3. Case closed - Since jury trials are unpredictable, one never knows the outcome. If you are found not guilty of all charges, the case is done. If you are found guilty of charges, or take a plea deal, you will be placed on probation with domestic violence terms. In certain felony cases, people can be sent to prison based on their record and severity of the charges. If those things happen, we can discuss next steps.

Santa Maria domestic violence attorney pricing

To give you the best chances of a favorable outcome for your case, and take the burden off your shoulders of knowing the law inside and out, I charge a flat fee.  Depending on your budget, I also offer payment plans to help you.  In any event, I will do everything I can to make you an offer you are happy with and fits your budget.

The Santa Maria California Courthouse

The Santa Maria courthouse is a part of the Santa Barbara Superior Courts.  Its construction began in 2010, and was built by Vernon Edwards Contruction Inc.  The courthouse’s grand opening was in 2013. 

It is located at 312 E Cook St C .  If you need to call the courthouse, be aware that their office hours are between 9AM and 12PM, and their phone hours between 9AM and 3PM at the time of this writing.  The court’s phone number is (805) 614-6414.

How to reach me for legal guidance

If you have been charged with domestic violence, I know you are the kind of person who wants the best attorney to defend them. In order to do that, you need to get in touch with me as soon as possible.  The problem is there is so much information online, it’s hard to know who to trust.     But I understand your pain - it’s normal.  That’s why I offer a free call and have defended hundreds of people in your shoes.  Here’s how it works:

  1. First we have a free call, and then (if you decide) a $40 consultation to create a plan of action.
  2. Second, I defend you in court according to our plan, either in a jury trial or a plea deal.
  3. Third, the case closes, and I guide your next steps after the trial or plea.

So, give me a call today at 805-688-9217 so you have the best chance of avoiding the stigma of domestic violence charges and start feeling less anxious, more hopeful, and more in control.

Frequently Asked Questions on Domestic Violence

How do you not go to jail for domestic violence in California?
The best thing people that have been charged with DV, that means arrested by the officer, and DA has filed charges, is abide by any court order that bars contact with the protected party. I regularly see people wrongly charged with DV type offenses, but then violate the terms of a stay away order. It is much harder to defend against a violation of a court order.
If you have been charged with domestic violence in Santa Maria California, the best thing to do is contact me as soon as possible. Since you are reading this, I know you care about your future. However, you also don’t want to be pressured. It’s stressful enough to be charged with a crime let alone feel sold to. That’s exactly why I offer a free call to best help you.
Doesn’t it sound better to have a conversation from a seasoned Santa Maria domestic violence lawyer than poke around for hours online? When you talk with me, you’ll find that I truly care about your future and want the best for you. So what are you waiting for - call me today at 805-688-9217.
What qualifies as domestic violence in CA?
Domestic battery (a common form of domestic violence) is when someone commits battery against a current and former spouse or cohabitant, or parent to your children. It can even be with a mother or father, brother or sister. The laws in California regarding domestic battery are found in Penal Code 243(e)(1). Battery, according to Penal Code 242 is “... any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” An example of battery would be striking another person using their hand not in self-defense, and no “traumatic condition” ie an injury, cut, bruise, redness on skin. If you are convicted of domestic battery, it is a misdemeanor.
What is Corporal Injury to Spouse or Cohabitant in California?
However, you could face felony charges for a more serious form of domestic violence like corporal injury to spouse or cohabitant per Penal Code 273(5). The difference between this and domestic battery is the alleged traumatic injury is to the complaining witness. PC 273.5 is a wobbler. That means it can be charged as a misdemeanor, with up to 364 days county jail, or a felony, with a maximum exposure of 4 years in state prison. How it is charged depends on the severity of the injuries alleged and past criminal convictions.
What are the charges for domestic violence in CA?
If placed on domestic violence probation, you will be placed on three years of formal probation. That means reporting to a probation officer at least once a month, and whenever ordered to. You also face fines, jail, (with possible alternative sentencing.) The probation also includes mandatory community service, restraining orders, and batterers treatment programs. Having this conviction can harm job prospects. It also means you will lose your right to bear arms. Because I know you don’t want any of these things to happen to you, it’s important to schedule a free call as soon as possible by calling me at 805-688-9217.
How long does a normal trial take in California?
The sixth amendment to the US Constitution provides all citizens the right to a speedy trial: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial…” After an arrest, the first court hearing you will go to is the arraignment. The arraignment is a court hearting where you learn all the charges brought against you, and allows you to make a plea of guilty or not guilty. On a misdemeanor charge, once you plead not guilty, you have a right to a speedy trial within 45 calendar days if out of custody. If in custody, you have a right within 30 calendar days.
On a felony, once you plead not guilty, you have a right to a speedy preliminary hearing within 10 court days. If you are held to answer, the People must file a charging document within 15 calendar days called an Information. You will have a new arraignment on the Information. Once you plead not guilty again, you have a right to a speedy trial with 60 calendar days, whether in custody or out of custody.
It is also possible to “waive time” and push the trial and other hearings back so your attorney can do proper investigations and make sure they have all available discovery.
What are examples of alternative sentencing for domestic violence in California?
If you are convicted of domestic violence, a skilled domestic violence attorney may be able to negotiate alternative sentencing. Alternative sentencing would allow you to avoid going inside the jail. Here are the typical forms of alternative sentencing for domestic violence in California: Electronic monitoring, and house arrest.
How does electronic monitoring work in California?
Electronic monitoring is a kind of digital prison time that can be served outside jail. The electronic monitor itself is a device typically attached to the ankle. It uses GPS signals to tell law enforcement where its wearer is, and whether they are inside the area they are allowed to be. If the wearer goes outside of the permissible area, the device sends an alert to law enforcement and probation officers. Some people with electronic monitoring are not allowed outside their homes. Others may be allowed to go to work and only certain parts of a city. The areas a person may go depend on each individual case outcome.
what does it mean to be on probation in California?
Probation is a privilege. The law can punish you with lots of jail or prison time if convicted. A grant of probation is an opportunity to show the judge you can abide by the terms of the law. In exchange, the judge agrees not to give you lots of jail or prison time. If you abide by the terms of probation, and do not violate during the probationary period, the judge cannot give you any more jail or prison time.
But if you were to violate the terms of probation: picking up a new criminal offense, failing to report to probation, failure to enroll and complete the Batterer’s Treatment program, failure to abide by the stay away order, you can have a violation of probation alleged and can be punished up to the maximum sentence. Other terms of probation include seek and maintain work if not a student; doing community service; search and seizure, meaning people under probation may also be required to allow their Person, home, vehicle and belongings to be searched and seized by law enforcement without a warrant.
Typically, people on probation need to report bi-weekly or quarterly to their probation officers or the court. And, if any condition of probation is violated, the person on probation could face jail or prison. The two major types of probation are summary and supervised.
What’s a summary probation?
Summary probation (also called informal or court probation) is another way of saying probation for misdemeanor convictions. With summary probation, you are not required to report to a probation officer. It is simply your promise to obey all laws, pay a fine, and possibly serve a smaller jail sentence. If you were to violate those terms, a violation of probation can be alleged and you can face more jail time. Here in California, the maximum time on summary probation for non domestic violence and DUI related charges is one year.
What is supervised probation in California?
Supervised probation (or formal probation) in California is probation for people convicted of a felony. It isn’t eligible to everyone. Whether someone is eligible depends on the severity of the crime and past criminal history. Felons released from prison often undergo supervised probation after their release, called either mandatory supervision or post release community supervision (PRCS). But, sometimes people convicted of a felony can do supervised probation without stepping foot in prison. The duration of supervised probation varies depending on the severity of the crime. For non DUI and DV cases, the usual time on probation is two years.
What is house arrest in California?
House arrest is an alternative sentence typically given only to low-risk offenders. It is meant to reduce recidivism (people committing crimes and going back to prison again) and reduce the prison and jail population. House arrest is basically electronic monitoring, but there’s more you should know about it. People sentenced to county jail instead of prison, and whose home is near where they are sentenced are most eligible.
The house arrest is a jail sentence. But, at the discretion of the sheriff’s department that runs the house arrest program, they can allow people who apply and are eligible to serve their time on house arrest. If for some reason the sheriff does not find you qualify for alternative sentencing, you will have to serve your time in custody When someone serves a house arrest sentence, they typically wear an electronic monitor and report to a probation officer.
Visitors can come to the house, and the person under house arrest might be allowed to leave for work, court hearings, and classes. You will recieve custody credits for your time on house arrest. If the convict doesn’t obey the rules of house arrest, they may face spending time in jail.
How long is the BIP program in California?
The BIP program stands for batterers intervention program, and is a total of 52 weekly sessions. In Santa Barbara County, however, Santa Barbara County is authorized for a pilot program where the probation department can recommend 26 weeks instead of 52. Each week someone in the BIP program meets for two hours of counseling and education. The sessions help attendees understand the causes of domestic violence, how it domestic violence affects its victims, and what changes attendees can make in their life to stop domestic violence from happening again.
What qualifies for a restraining order in California?
There are a few different types of restraining order in California. As we are talking about domestic violence, domestic violence restraining orders involve people that have or have had a close relationship. The restrained party (usually the person convicted of domestic violence) is restricted from harassing, physically abusing, threatening, or stalking the other person. A civil harassment restraining order involves people who don’t have a close relationship. Then there are elder or dependent adult restraining orders to protect the elderly. Finally, there are workplace violence restraining orders to protect people at work.
None of these restraining orders require someone to be convicted of domestic violence - it can be enough sometimes merely to be charged with domestic violence. And in practice, what it means for the restrained party is that they must stay a certain distance away from the other party.
If you have been served a restraining order, please see my restraining order page.
How long is a restraining order in California?
A TRO, or temporary restraining order, can last between 20 and 25 days. If you have been charged with domestic violence recently, you may have received one of these. What happens is someone goes and asks for a TRO from a judge. Then, if the judge decides the person needs protection, they will issue the TRO to the now restrained party. At a later time both parties will attend a court hearing to decide, among other things, if the TRO should be extended. TROs can be extended up to 5 years or more depending on the judge’s ruling.
How do I get my belongings back with a restraining order in California?
If you have received a restraining order in California that prevents you from being in a certain area, it may also prevent you from accessing your stuff. Under some circumstances, you are able to retrieve your belongings from areas the law says you cannot be.
First, you will need to get the judge’s approval to retrieve your items. If the judge approves, they will then issue a property removal order. Then, you need to be accompanied by law enforcement, also known as a civil standby to retrieve your things. However, you also need permission from the protected person or a representative.
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