Super Lawyers

2019 Super Lawyers Award Recipient (James Dunn)

BBB A+ Rating

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Rating 10/10

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CA DUI Lawyers Association

James Dunn is one of California's only Specialist Members and is a Board Member

CA Association for Criminal Justice

Member of organization dedicated to preserving rights of people accused of crimes.

National Police Accountability Project

Member of organization dedicated to ending police abuse

Domestic Violence Attorneys in San Mateo, Redwood City, Palo Alto and Dublin/Pleasanton

Do I have a case? Have a lawyer evaluate your domestic violence matter.

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Arrested for Domestic Violence in Silicon Valley or the Peninsula?

The Law Office of James Dunn defends domestic violence accusations throughout the Bay Area out of offices in San Jose, Redwood City and Palo Alto, CA.

If you have been arrested for domestic violence, you face tough prosecution from the California legal system which takes domestic violence cases extremely seriously. Aside from an aggressive court system that aggressively pursues offenders, there are also numerous agencies, organizations and task forces that condemn domestic violence and place pressure on prosecutors to gain as many convictions as possible.

When you also consider the fact that emotions run high in domestic violence situations, it becomes clear that these cases can become incredibly difficult. If you face such allegations, you need an attentive and aggressive criminal defense attorney who has experience in domestic violence cases.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence can take many forms, all of which can be considered a type of abuse or harassment from one partner to another in an intimate relationship. This can include cohabitants, spouses, domestic partners and others. Unlike assault and battery charges, domestic violence does not always involve physical abuse or contact.

Other common forms of domestic violence can include:

In any situation, alleged offenders face harsh social stigmas that can affect the outcome of cases. In order to ensure that your criminal proceedings are conducted fairly and that you receive the legal support you need, it is vital that you have legal representation.

In the state of California, domestic violence is seen as one of the most offensive criminal acts someone can commit, or even just be accused of committing. Prosecutors are motivated by social stigma to secure a conviction in light of any evidence. There are also government agencies and public organizations that are dedicated to penalizing domestic violence offenders; when a domestic violence case arises, they will do all they can to support the prosecution in its efforts.

If you have been accused of domestic violence, you must first accept the reality that the criminal justice system has been unbalanced out of your favor. Second, you must realize that you can take action and even the playing field again with the help of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer like San Jose Domestic Violence Attorney James Dunn.

Why choose to work with us? Take a look at some of our accolades:

  • Over 1,000 cases seen to completion
  • Nearly 100 trials successfully handled
  • “Superb” 10/10 Avvo Rating (Attorney Dunn)
  • 18+ years of collective legal experience

Domestic Violence Definitions in California

In order for a criminal act to constitute domestic violence, it must be carried out by one person against someone close to them. People who can be targeted by domestic violence includes parents, former and current spouses, children, significant others, and even roommates. California State law enforcement and the criminal justice system can be quite zealous when it comes to catching and prosecuting those accused of domestic violence because they believe such acts have the opportunity to cause more harm than a random act of violence, such as assault and battery or burglary.

Actions that can constitute domestic violence include:

  • Using violence or threatening to use violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking or voyeurism
  • Persistent emotional harassment

Penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions

The criminal justice system can be motivated to get a conviction out of a domestic violence case, regardless of what has actually occurred. Even if your accusations stem from a misunderstanding, exaggeration, or flat-out false report of abuse, you will face the same penalties if convicted.

Legal penalties can include:

  • Up to $6,000 in fines
  • Restitution paid to alleged victim
  • One to four years’ incarceration
  • Lengthy probation

More than being hit by legal penalties, people convicted of domestic violence in California face other forms of punishment not addressed by the criminal justice system. They may be shunned by neighbors, friends, and family members, preventing them from enjoying their day-to-day lives; they may lose child custody rights, keeping them from seeing their children; and they may even be overlooked when submitting a job or rental application. It is also common for a restraining order to be issued, stopping the accused from going certain places or seeing particular people, even before the domestic violence case closes.

Defend Yourself With Our Help

Many domestic violence cases can boil down to one person’s word against another’s – this is especially true in domestic battery cases, in which no physical evidence of harm is necessary for a conviction. If you want a fair day in court, you will want to team up with our San Jose domestic violence attorneys from the Law Office of James Dunn. We are advocates of the constitutional idea that penalties must never be harsher than the alleged crime permits, and that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

California Domestic Violence Charges

According to the California Penal Code § 273.84, District Attorney offices throughout the state receive support for establishing spousal abuser prosecution units. This means that many counties, including San Mateo, have the resources to focus on strictly prosecuting alleged offenders. Some of the more prevalent domestic violence charges in California include:

Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant

C.P.C. § 273.5 makes any physical injury to a spouse or domestic cohabitant a crime. This can include any physical contact that results in a “traumatic condition,” which may include visible injuries such as bruises and cuts. Penalties can range depending on the severity of the crime, and can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Fines of up to $6,000, probation, participation in diversion programs, and imprisonment for up to one year in county jail or four years in a state prison are possible punishments.

Domestic Battery

As defined by C.P.C. § 242, battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon another person. C.P.C. § 243(e), explicitly prohibits battery against a domestic partner. Unlike corporal injury charges, domestic battery laws do not require visible injuries. Domestic battery charges are penalized by harsh fines, including additional fines to battered women’s shelters, participation in a batterer’s treatment program and up to one year in a county jail.

In addition to these charges, the firm is prepared to defend against allegations of criminal threats, unlawful kidnapping, child endangerment, domestic violence relating to sex crimes, and any other domestic violence charge you may be facing.

The emotional tension, harsh prosecution and other extenuating circumstances involved in domestic violence cases require a strong defense. Furthermore, you may need help in requesting to have the temporary restraining order against you lifted. The fact of the matter is that domestic violence allegations can often happen to innocent people. Turbulent relationships can result in false accusations and the potential for life altering consequences. In addition, many alleged offenders act out of self-defense, which can complicate both the defense and prosecution of a case.

Temporary Restraining Orders

Sharp attention to investigations, testimony and evidence are a necessity for building strong cases. At the Law Office of James Dunn, attorney Dunn can evaluate your case to determine the supporting evidence in your favor and work swiftly and intelligently to build your strong defense. If you would like to discuss your case with attorney James Dunn, contact the firm today.


Half the Cost, Twice the Work

Jim Dunn fixed my previous lawyers blunders, literally cost half as much, didn’t charge me until my case was settled. He got me the best possible outcome after miscommunications with the courts, mostly my previous lawyer was to blame. There were countless little things that Jim did that won’t get named here, but he visited me in Jail on a Sunday evening, he fixed the miswriting of the court scribe, a last minute catch on Jim’s part, my case was first, his pay was second. I like him, he is personable, he called to check on me, I could call him and actually reach him, not go through a secretary and hope to be reached in the same day like my last lawyer. I would definitely hire him again and even form a partnership to become the family lawyer. If you have a run in with with law, you want Jim Dunn on your side, he only tells you the truth, and genuinely wants to help you!

Reviewer: Charlie M. — September 4, 2015 – San Mateo, CA