Domestic Violence

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Hands in handcuffs

During an altercation with your significant other, police were called to your home, and you were hauled off in handcuffs. Now what? What rights do you have? How can you protect your best interests in a situation that has seemingly gotten out of hand?

As an experienced trial attorney and defense lawyer for domestic violence cases, I am dedicated to ensuring your rights are protected following a dispute involving household members. I will listen to your side of the story so that I can present your best and strongest defense possible.


Disturbance calls that report domestic violence may often result in police making arrests when they respond to these calls. For instance, if authorities spot marks on someone, somebody will probably be sent to jail. This is true even if no physical contact occurred, you may be arrested if they find what they feel are indicators of physical threats made.

For this reason, a charge of domestic violence is relatively common in California. Fortunately, a San Diego domestic violence lawyer can help you to fight such a charge when and if it escalates to trial.


If you have been arrested on a domestic violence charge, this can have a negative impact on your life in a number of ways. For instance, you may be issued a restraining order that will prevent you from going back home. And if you end up being convicted for this type of crime, you could lose your ability to own firearms, lose your job, and even lose when it comes to child custody situations.

It is paramount that you seek the help of a San Diego domestic violence lawyer when facing domestic violence allegations. A defense lawyer for domestic violence can help to make sure that your rights and best interests are protected from start to finish.


What Are the Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction in California?

It depends on several factors, including whether you are a first time offender, if it’s domestic battery, or if other criminal allegations have been made against you. If you are convicted on a charge of injuring your spouse in California, you may be sentenced to as many as four years behind prison bars, or a year behind county jail bars. You may receive a sentence of 30 days in jail for a misdemeanor charge of spousal battery. You can also expect to lose the right to carry a firearm, as well as be subject to paying fines and/or restitution for the victim.

Is It Possible to Get Domestic Violence Charges in California Dropped?

Getting this type of charge dropped is often difficult, as prosecutors ultimately determine whether charges get dropped or filed. That’s why it’s critical that you hire a defense lawyer for domestic violence to help you to navigate this process. Your attorney can attempt to persuade the prosecution directly to drop the charge against you, or the attorney could try casting doubt on the accuser. Alternatively, the attorney may highlight any conflicting evidence or provide the prosecution with the reality check they need regarding whether they can actually bring a charge successfully.


In your domestic charge case, you may be tempted to plead guilty in an effort to avoid receiving the max penalty or because you don’t think the jury will believe you. However, before you plead guilty, it is wise to speak with a San Diego domestic violence lawyer regarding the legal defenses that might work in your situation.

For instance, with the help of your defense lawyer for domestic violence, you may claim self-defense, where you ended up hurting the victim while trying to protect yourself against him or her. Another potential defense is that of mutual combat, where you may have initiated the altercation but tried to quit fighting and your victim refused to do so. Yet another defense possibility is that you harmed the other party accidentally. Finally, you may claim that the other party falsely accused you of hurting him or her due to the emotional nature of your confrontation.

WHEN TO CONSIDER AN ATTORNEYImage police with close up of handcuffs

You should hire a San Diego domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible after you have been arrested for domestic violence, as anything you say or do could be used to your disadvantage in court. An attorney knows how to protect your best interests during interrogations by police.

A San Diego domestic violence lawyer will also fight for your criminal charge to be either dropped or dismissed based on the lack of proper evidence or the violation of the rights you have in California. Your defense lawyer for domestic violence will additionally help you to develop a solid defense in the event that your case moves forward to trial. You may alternatively be advised to negotiate a plea deal if this will yield the most favorable outcome for you.


If you’re searching for a skilled San Diego domestic violence lawyer, you can rest assured that I, Michael C. MacNeil, will give you the full attention and time you deserve to get you the results you need. I am invested in your case’s outcome and will personally work alongside you to pursue the best one possible given the circumstances surrounding your case. 

I gladly offer free initial case evaluations and can also provide virtual legal help for your convenience and safety at this time.

Contact me today for a free consultation to find out more about how to start protecting your freedom and your future long term.


Browse the following resources for additional tips and guidance related to domestic violence and restraining orders.

Criminal Defense FAQ

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19:29 10 Feb 24
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