If you are convicted on a domestic violence related offense and placed on probation by the court, you will be ordered to complete a 52 week batterers' program known as the Batterers' Intervention Program (BIP). The terms and condition of probation for a domestic violence offense are covered under California Penal Code Section 1203.097.
In Los Angeles County criminal courts, domestic violence related incidents are taken seriously and can result in harsh legal consequences if you are convicted. This not only includes potential jail time and large fines, but also three years of probation with strict conditions outlined in PC 1203.097.
Additionally, a criminal protective order will be issued with its own set of conditions. You could also be ordered to complete community service hours. In some cases, the court might order you to enroll in a drug and alcohol treatment program or even attend anger management classes. You could also be ordered by the court to pay a minimum fee of $500 and other fines could be required.
It should be noted you will lose your gun rights after a domestic violence conviction. However, the most time consuming consequence of being placed on probation for a domestic violence conviction is when the court orders you to enroll and complete the Batterers' Intervention Program. After your conviction, you must enroll in an approved program by Los Angeles County Probation within 30 days.
This one-year program requires you to attend a two-hour class once per week and has to be successfully completed within 18 months. Your attendance in the classes are very important as you will only be allowed 3 absences which must be for good cause.
Furthermore, you are responsible for paying the fees for the program, which can be modified based on your ability to pay. The goal of BIP is to help you understand the issues that caused your domestic violence incident and to stop abuse in the future. If you fail to successfully complete the class, it can result in a probation violation.
If you have been accused of any type of domestic violence related offense, such as spousal abuse, you need to consult with the top-rated California criminal defense lawyers at Eisner Gorin LLP right away. As you can see above, a conviction can have a life-altering impact on your professional and personal life.
Let our law firm review the details of your DV case and provide you with legal options moving forward. Now that we have covered a general overview of the California Batterers' Intervention Program, let's take a closer look at the details below.
When the Batterer's Intervention Program is Required
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony case of domestic violence in Los Angeles County, such as domestic battery or corporal injury on spouse, you will typically be placed on probation. Under California Penal Code Section 1203.097, the batterer's intervention program will be required as part of your terms of probation when the victim is listed under California Family Code Section 6211, which defines domestic violence abuse against:
- A current or former spouse
- Someone you are dating are formerly dated
- Someone with whom you are living with or formerly lived with
- Someone who is the parent of your child
Under California law, if the victim of your domestic violence falls under this list above, you MUST be placed on probation for a minimum of 3 years – and the batterer's intervention program is a condition of that probation.
It's important to note there doesn't have to be actual physical abuse or injuries for the court to order the BIP. In certain domestic violence cases, the Los Angeles County prosecutor might decide to make an offer of a lesser offense like disturbing the peace under California Penal Code Section 415.
However, in exchange for a guilty plea of this reduced charge, you would still have to successfully complete the 52 week batterers' program class and be subjected to the legal requirements covered under California Penal Code Section 1203.097.
If your case involved a child endangerment incident in violation of California Penal Code Section 273a, the judge will typically order you to complete a 52 week parenting class, rather than the BIP.
Description of Batterer's Intervention Program
This mandatory program is normally completed through a California state approved provider. It's designed to help people who were convicted of a domestic violence incident identify and change the behavior that caused their conviction. Initially, you will be given a list of approved program providers and you are expected to sign up for the 52 week batterers' program yourself.
It's not free. There are costs associated with the program and you could face penalties missing too many classes or for failing to complete the entire program. It should be noted there are some online 52-week batterers' program. However, don't count on the judge to allow you to take the classes in this manner.
Specifically, these domestic violence classes will focus on what causes domestic abuse, impact on the victim, and changes you need to make to prevent another incident in the future. The Batterers' Intervention Program is designed for both education and counseling using class lectures, group debates, and even individual counseling.
California Penal Code Section 1203.097 describes the judgment and execution of the program as follows:
(a) If you are granted probation for a crime under California Family Code Section 6211, the terms of probation will include (1) A minimum 36 months of probation; (2) A criminal court protective order to prevent acts of violence, threats, stalking, sexual abuse, and harassment; (3) Notice to victim on disposition of case; (4) Booking defendant within one week of sentencing; (5) Defendant pays a fee of $500, but court may waive fee if there is no ability to pay.
Again, the BIP program is intensive and you must meet once a week for a 2-hour class for 18 months. You are only allowed 3 missed classes and only then for good cause. Obviously, you are expected to attend classes sober and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
There are periodic progress reports and a final evaluation. You will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement stating you can't disclose information you learned through the program. Finally, you will be required to show proof of progress in the form of a letter from the program counselor.
Failing to Complete the Batterers' Intervention Program
It's critical to note again the BIP is a mandatory condition of domestic violence probation. This simply means if you don't successfully complete the Batterers' Intervention Program, it's a probation violation and you could face jail time and fines.
In cases where you fail to complete the 52-week program or miss too many classes, the program could terminate you and will send a letter to the court letting them know. The Los Angeles County Criminal Court judge will then issue a probation violation and a bench warrant and could even impose additional penalties.
Under PC 1203.3, the judge can revoke, modify, or even change the order of a suspended sentence if you are found guilty of violating the terms of probation. What does that mean? In basic terms, after you violated probation, the judge can decide there is no reason any longer to “suspend” the legal penalties for your underlying crime of domestic violence. Therefore, since there is suspension, the judge could immediately sentence you to jail time, fines, and other related penalties.
Contact Our Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers
A domestic violence conviction is a serious issue due to the long-term consequences on your professional and personal life. While it's true actual jail time is normally minimal, you could face a one-year domestic violence Batterers' Intervention Program.
For this reason alone, you should consult with our experienced Los Angeles domestic violence lawyer at Eisner Gorin LLP. You need to have a full understanding of potential legal consequences and options before making any important decisions on your case.
Our attorneys will closely review the details to start planning a defense. Are you facing charges for domestic violence? Do you have to attend a Batterers' Intervention Program in LA County?
Our law firm serves clients through Los Angeles County and the San Fernando Valley from our offices located at 1875 Century Park E #705, Los Angeles, CA 90067 and 14401 Sylvan St #112 Van Nuys, CA 91401. Contact our law firm at 877-781-1570.