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California Domestic Violence Attorney

Domestic Violence Frequently Asked Questions

Consequences of a First Offense Domestic Violence charge?

A person charged with domestic violence or spousal abuse may be shocked to learn that if convicted they will be required to attend a 52 week batters treatment program (domestic violence counseling). California Law makes attendance mandatory for anyone convicted of domestic abuse.

In addition, on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence you can be incarcerated in the county jail for up to 1 year in jail.

If you are accused of a felony you can be incarcerated in the state prison for up to four years in state prison.

Probation

A person who plead guilty to a charge of domestic violence will also be placed on probation for a period of 3-5 years for a misdemeanor or felony case.

What is the length of time for Domestic Violence Counseling? (aka Batters Treatment Program)

The typical Domestic Violence Counseling class is 52 weeks in length. This usually comprises a meeting once per week. The class meets one time per week. Defendants ordered to do the class will be held to a very stringent attendance policy which may allow for only 2 unexcused absences. Violation of the attendance policy often results in being expelled from the class and ordered back to court.

There is also counseling called Level One. This class is typically is 12 hours.

There is also counseling called Level Two. This class is typically 24 hours.

Your attorney should always fight to have your charges reduced to some non-domestic violence charge which would make you eligible for a shorter class. This would save you countless hours of time and a substantial amount of money. We have been extremely successful in having charges dismissed or reduced to a non-domestic violence charge.

The Law Office of Roland X Tiemann are experts in the area of domestic violence law and have unsurpassed knowledge about how to have these charges dismissed or reduced.

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What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence law, also referred to as Spousal Abuse law, Wife Abuse, Husband Abuse, Child Abuse or Elder Abuse is when a person willfully inflicts bodily injury, resulting in a traumatic condition, upon another person with whom they are cohabitating. Under California Law, domestic violence is a crime regardless of gender. When responding to a domestic violence call, police officers are required to write a police report when a domestic violence incident occurs. With probable cause, police officers can make an arrest and submit their report for felony or misdemeanor prosecution.

I was arrested for Spousal Abuse but my wife was upset and says that she made a mistake when she called the police. Can she have the domestic violence charges against me dropped?

No, only the District Attorney can drop the domestic violence charges against you and this is unlikely to occur. The prosecutor, not the victim, makes the charging decision. A victim of domestic violence or spousal abuse often attempts to recant the statement they made to police in order to have the wife abuse, husband abuse, or partner abuse charges dropped against an abusive partner. In the past, this has led to a cycle of continuous abuse. The District Attorney's Office prefers to file charges and let the courts decide issues of domestic violence.

Can I be prosecuted for Domestic Violence or Spousal Abuse if the victim does not press charges?

YES, Domestic Violence or Spouse Abuse crimes are aggressively prosecuted and even if the victim tells the court and prosecutor they do not wish to "press charges", the case will NOT be dismissed.

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What are some of the routine penalties for the conviction of a Domestic Violence Law or Spouse Abuse?

It depends upon the circumstances of each case. However, first-time offenders are usually placed on probation, required to serve a few days of custody or public work service and complete a batterer's program. As these types of crimes are aggressively prosecuted, jail time is routinely sought even in first offense, non-serious injury cases. Our main goal is to get the charges dropped or reduced to a lesser offense and keep you out of jail! Some others penalties can include probation, significant fines, domestic violence counseling, and anger management classes.

What type of counseling could I be required to attend?

Counseling helps batters learn to examine their lives and understand the reasons for their violent behavior. They learn how to walk away from a potentially explosive situation and resolve problems without using violence. They learn that they cannot control their relationships through violence. Attendance will be monitored by the court. There are numerous locations throughout the county offering different dates and times to make attendance easy. Batterers may pay for counseling on an installment plan. If alcohol or drugs are involved the courts will often order the defendant to attend Alcoholics (AA) / Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. There are no dues or fees associated with AA or NA meetings.

What are the factors in determining any court penalties?

The penalties depend on the conditions of your case; however what will be considered in the case are any prior convictions, whether you are on probation or parole, the viewpoint of the local community and courts towards this type of crime, and any mitigating and aggravating circumstances.

Does the victim have to have a visible physical injury for the defendant to be convicted of Domestic Violence or Spousal Abuse?

No. A criminal battery is defined as the unlawful application of force to the person of another. A hit, punch, or kick is not required, just an offensive touching of another is considered a battery. Verbal spouse abuse or spousal mental abuse if coupled with threats, often called terrorist threats, can also result in an arrest.

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What are some of the defenses for Domestic Violence or Spousal Abuse?

Depending on the specific facts and circumstances of your case, some defenses potentially include self-defense, insufficient evidence, and factual innocence may apply.  We aggressively fight lying witnesses, false evidence, exaggerated charges.

If convicted, what alternatives are there to jail?

Some alternatives can include house arrest, electronic monitoring, probation, community service, anger management classes, etc

Aggressive Domestic Violence Defense

Domestic violence is taken very seriously and aggressively prosecuted in California. If you have been charged with a domestic abuse offense in the State of California, you may be facing a state prison sentence. Even the most common, seemingly harmless conduct can result in a criminal conviction having lasting consequences.  In the past, an argument or fight at home and a call to 911 would end with a visit from the police with no arrest. It has now developed into a full arrest with expensive bail.

You need to seek the advice of an experienced and aggressive criminal attorney immediately. The Law Office of Roland X Tiemann can provide you with the knowledge and experience that is crucial to your defense against domestic violence charges.

In the state of California, an arrest will be undertaken if a domestic violence complaint has been made. The popular belief is that domestic violence charges will be dropped if the accuser who reported the crime changes his or her mind. This in fact couldn’t be further from the truth, and you can be prosecuted even if your spouse or loved one no longer pursues the claim against you.

Domestic abuse is defined as "intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent, serious bodily injury to himself, herself or another." Domestic violence can occur between spouses, partners, former partners or spouses, children, individuals involved in a dating relationship, or the elderly. Society views domestic abuse as a cowardly crime and will often assume that you are guilty by the very fact that you have been charged. In California, law enforcement agencies have the power to arrest you for domestic violence even if the alleged victim disagrees. Even though it may be established that you did not commit the offense, the implied guilt can affect you emotionally and financially for the rest of your life.

If you are arrested for domestic abuse, you must protect your constitutional rights. Make sure that you do not answer any questions until you consult with an experienced criminal attorney. The Law Office of Roland X Tiemann is committed to upholding your rights. We employ an aggressive defense and we work towards getting a reduction or dismissal of the charges against you. Our sole priority is to achieve a resolution that you can live with, without significantly affecting your lifestyle.

The Law Office of Roland X Tiemann understands that law enforcement agencies are particularly sensitive to domestic abuse and tend to press charges regardless of the circumstances leading up to the arrest. We will vigorously defend your rights to a fair and unbiased trial. The Law Office of Roland X Tiemann guarantees that you will receive the undivided attention you deserve.

Domestic violence is a serious matter, and convictions for domestic abuse can be harsh. An experienced criminal attorney may be able to convince a court to impose alternative sentencing, such as probation and counseling, rather than prison time. The Law Office of Roland X Tiemann is armed with the knowledge and experience to build a winning defense.

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CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL STATUTES

California Penal Code Section 243. Punishment for battery generally; Punishment for assault against specified officers or others

(a) A battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(b) When a battery is committed against the person of a peace officer, custodial officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, lifeguard, process server, traffic officer, code enforcement officer, or animal control officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties, whether on or off duty, including when the peace officer is in a police uniform and is concurrently performing the duties required of him or her as a peace officer while also employed in a private capacity as a part-time or casual private security guard or patrolman, or a nonsworn employee of a probation department engaged in the performance of his or her duties, whether on or off duty, or a physician or nurse engaged in rendering emergency medical care outside a hospital, clinic, or other health care facility, and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer, custodial officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, lifeguard, process server, traffic officer, code enforcement officer, or animal control officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties, nonsworn employee of a probation department, or a physician or nurse engaged in rendering emergency medical care, the battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

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(c)(1) When a battery is committed against a custodial officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, lifeguard, process server, traffic officer, or animal control officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties, whether on or off duty, or a nonsworn employee of a probation department engaged in the performance of his or her duties, whether on or off duty, or a physician or nurse engaged in rendering emergency medical care outside a hospital, clinic, or other health care facility, and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a nonsworn employee of a probation department, custodial officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, lifeguard, process server, traffic officer, or animal control officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties, or a physician or nurse engaged in rendering emergency medical care, and an injury is inflicted on that victim, the battery is punishable by a fine of not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or two or three years.

(2) When the battery specified in paragraph (1) is committed against a peace officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties, whether on or off duty, including when the peace officer is in a police uniform and is concurrently performing the duties required of him or her as a peace officer while also employed in a private capacity as a part-time or casual private security guard or patrolman and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties, the battery is punishable by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison for 16 months, or two or three years, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(d) When a battery is committed against any person and serious bodily injury is inflicted on the person, the battery is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years.

(e) (1) When a battery is committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of the defendant's child, former spouse, fiance, or fiancee, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship, the battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment. If probation is granted, or the execution or imposition of the sentence is suspended, it shall be a condition thereof that the defendant participate in, for no less than one year, and successfully complete, a batterer's treatment program, as defined in Section 1203.097, or if none is available, another appropriate counseling program designated by the court. However, this provision shall not be construed as requiring a city, a county, or a city and county to provide a new program or higher level of service as contemplated by Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

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2) Upon conviction of a violation of this subdivision, if probation is granted, the conditions of probation may include, in lieu of a fine, one or both of the following requirements:

  • (A) That the defendant make payments to a battered women's shelter, up to a maximum of five thousand dollars ($5,000).
  • (B) That the defendant reimburse the victim for reasonable costs of counseling and other reasonable expenses that the court finds are the direct result of the defendant's offense.

For any order to pay a fine, make payments to a battered women's shelter, or pay restitution as a condition of probation under this subdivision, the court shall make a determination of the defendant's ability to pay. In no event shall any order to make payments to a battered women's shelter be made if it would impair the ability of the defendant to pay direct restitution to the victim or court-ordered child support. Where the injury to a married person is caused in whole or in part by the criminal acts of his or her spouse in violation of this section, the community property may not be used to discharge the liability of the offending spouse for restitution to the injured spouse, required by Section 1203.04, as operative on or before August 2, 1995, or Section 1202.4, or to a shelter for costs with regard to the injured spouse and dependents, required by this section, until all separate property of the offending spouse is exhausted.

(3) Upon conviction of a violation of this subdivision, if probation is granted or the execution or imposition of the sentence is suspended and the person has been previously convicted of a violation of this subdivision and sentenced under paragraph (1), the person shall be imprisoned for not less than 48 hours in addition to the conditions in paragraph (1). However, the court, upon a showing of good cause, may elect not to impose the mandatory minimum imprisonment as required by this subdivision and may, under these circumstances, grant probation or order the suspension of the execution or imposition of the sentence.

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(4) The Legislature finds and declares that these specified crimes merit special consideration when imposing a sentence so as to display society's condemnation for these crimes of violence upon victims with whom a close relationship has been formed.

(f) As used in this section:

  • 1) "Peace officer" means any person defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2.
  • (2) "Emergency medical technician" means a person who is either an EMT-I, EMT-II, or EMT-P (paramedic), and possesses a valid certificate or license in accordance with the standards of Division 2.5 (commencing with Section 1797) of the Health and Safety Code.
  • (3) "Nurse" means a person who meets the standards of Division 2.5 (commencing with Section 1797) of the Health and Safety Code.
  • (4) "Serious bodily injury" means a serious impairment of physical condition, including, but not limited to, the following: loss of consciousness; concussion; bone fracture; protracted loss or impairment of function of any bodily member or organ; a wound requiring extensive suturing; and serious disfigurement.
  • (5) "Injury" means any physical injury which requires professional medical treatment.
  • (6) "Custodial officer" means any person who has the responsibilities and duties described in Section 831 and who is employed by a law enforcement agency of any city or county or who performs those duties as a volunteer.
  • (7) "Lifeguard" means a person defined in paragraph (5) of subdivision (c) of Section 241.
  • (8) "Traffic officer" means any person employed by a city, county, or city and county to monitor and enforce state laws and local ordinances relating to parking and the operation of vehicles.
  • (9) "Animal control officer" means any person employed by a city, county, or city and county for purposes of enforcing animal control laws or regulations.
  • (10) "Dating relationship" means frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional or sexual involvement independent of financial considerations.
  • (11)(A) "Code enforcement officer" means any person who is not described in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 and who is employed by any governmental subdivision, public or quasi-public corporation, public agency, public service corporation, any town, city, county, or municipal corporation, whether incorporated or chartered, who has enforcement authority for health, safety, and welfare requirements, and whose duties include enforcement of any statute, rules, regulations, or standards, and who is authorized to issue citations, or file formal complaints.

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(B) "Code enforcement officer" also includes any person who is employed by the Department of Housing and Community Development who has enforcement authority for health, safety, and welfare requirements pursuant to the Employee Housing Act (Part 1 (commencing with Section 17000) of Division 13 of the Health and Safety Code); the State Housing Law (Part 1.5 (commencing with Section 17910) of Division 13 of the Health and Safety Code); the Mobilehomes-Manufactured Housing Act (Part 2 (commencing with Section 18000) of Division 13 of the Health and Safety Code); the Mobilehome Parks Act (Part 2.1 (commencing with Section 18200) of Division 13 of the Health and Safety Code); and the Special Occupancy Parks Act (Part 2.3 (commencing with Section 18860) of Division 13 of the Health and Safety Code).

(g) It is the intent of the Legislature by amendments to this section at the 1981-82 and 1983-84 Regular Sessions to abrogate the holdings in cases such as People v. Corey, 21 Cal. 3d 738, and Cervantez v. J.C. Penney Co., 24 Cal. 3d 579, and to reinstate prior judicial interpretations of this section as they relate to criminal sanctions for battery on peace officers who are employed, on a part-time or casual basis, while wearing a police uniform as private security guards or patrolmen and to allow the exercise of peace officer powers concurrently with that employment.

California Penal Code Section 273.5. Infliction of injury on present or former spouse or cohabitant or parent of child; Punishment; Conditions of probation; Issuance of restraining order

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(a) Any person who willfully inflicts upon a person who is his or her spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or the mother or father of his or her child, corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of up to six thousand dollars ($6,000) or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(b) Holding oneself out to be the husband or wife of the person with whom one is cohabiting is not necessary to constitute cohabitation as the term is used in this section.

(c) As used in this section, "traumatic condition" means a condition of the body, such as a wound or external or internal injury, whether of a minor or serious nature, caused by a physical force.

(d) For the purpose of this section, a person shall be considered the father or mother of another person's child if the alleged male parent is presumed the natural father under Sections 7611 and 7612 of the Family Code.

(e)(1) Any person convicted of violating this section for acts occurring within seven years of a previous conviction under subdivision (a), or subdivision (d) of Section 243, or Section 243.4, 244, 244.5, or 245, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four, or five years, or by both imprisonment and a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

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(2) Any person convicted of a violation of this section for acts occurring within seven years of a previous conviction under subdivision (e) of Section 243 shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

(f) If probation is granted to any person convicted under subdivision (a), the court shall impose probation consistent with the provisions of Section 1203.097.

(g) If probation is granted, or the execution or imposition of a sentence is suspended, for any defendant convicted under subdivision (a) who has been convicted of any prior offense specified in subdivision (e), the court shall impose one of the following conditions of probation:

  • (1) If the defendant has suffered one prior conviction within the previous seven years for a violation of any offense specified in subdivision (e), it shall be a condition thereof, in addition to the provisions contained in Section 1203.097, that he or she be imprisoned in a county jail for not less than 15 days.
  • (2) If the defendant has suffered two or more prior convictions within the previous seven years for a violation of any offense specified in subdivision (e), it shall be a condition of probation, in addition to the provisions contained in Section 1203.097, that he or she be imprisoned in a county jail for not less than 60 days.
  • (3) The court, upon a showing of good cause, may find that the mandatory imprisonment required by this subdivision shall not be imposed and shall state on the record its reasons for finding good cause.

(h) If probation is granted upon conviction of a violation of subdivision (a), the conditions of probation may include, consistent with the terms of probation imposed pursuant to Section 1203.097, in lieu of a fine, one or both of the following requirements:

  • (1) That the defendant make payments to a battered women's shelter, up to a maximum of five thousand dollars ($5,000), pursuant to Section 1203.097.
  • (2) That the defendant reimburse the victim for reasonable costs of counseling and other reasonable expenses that the court finds are the direct result of the defendant's offense.

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For any order to pay a fine, make payments to a battered women's shelter, or pay restitution as a condition of probation under this subdivision, the court shall make a determination of the defendant's ability to pay. In no event shall any order to make payments to a battered women's shelter be made if it would impair the ability of the defendant to pay direct restitution to the victim or court-ordered child support. Where the injury to a married person is caused in whole or in part by the criminal acts of his or her spouse in violation of this section, the community property may not be used to discharge the liability of the offending spouse for restitution to the injured spouse, required by Section 1203.04, as operative on or before August 2, 1995, or Section 1202.4, or to a shelter for costs with regard to the injured spouse and dependents, required by this section, until all separate property of the offending spouse is exhausted.

(i) Upon conviction under subdivision (a), the sentencing court shall also consider issuing an order restraining the defendant from any contact with the victim, which may be valid for up to 10 years, as determined by the court. It is the intent of the Legislature that the length of any restraining order be based upon the seriousness of the facts before the court, the probability of future violations, and the safety of the victim and his or her immediate family. This protective order may be issued by the court whether the defendant is sentenced to state prison, county jail, or if imposition of sentence is suspended and the defendant is placed on probation.

California Penal Code Section 273a. Endangering child or causing or permitting child to suffer physical pain, mental suffering, or injury; Conditions of probation

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(a) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, four, or six years.

(b) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions other than those likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health may be endangered, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

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(c) If a person is convicted of violating this section and probation is granted, the court shall require the following minimum conditions of probation:

  • (1) A mandatory minimum period of probation of 48 months.
  • (2) A criminal court protective order protecting the victim from further acts of violence or threats, and, if appropriate, residence exclusion or stay-away conditions.
  • (3)(A) Successful completion of no less than one year of a child abuser's treatment counseling program approved by the probation department. The defendant shall be ordered to begin participation in the program immediately upon the grant of probation. The counseling program shall meet the criteria specified in Section 273.1. The defendant shall produce documentation of program enrollment to the court within 30 days of enrollment, along with quarterly progress reports.

(B) The terms of probation for offenders shall not be lifted until all reasonable fees due to the counseling program have been paid in full, but in no case shall probation be extended beyond the term provided in subdivision (a) of Section 1203.1. If the court finds that the defendant does not have the ability to pay the fees based on the defendant's changed circumstances, the court may reduce or waive the fees.

(4) If the offense was committed while the defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the defendant shall abstain from the use of drugs or alcohol during the period of probation and shall be subject to random drug testing by his or her probation officer.

(5) The court may waive any of the above minimum conditions of probation upon a finding that the condition would not be in the best interests of justice. The court shall state on the record its reasons for any waiver.

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California Penal Code Section 422. Punishment for threats

Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family's safety, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.

For the purposes of this section, "immediate family" means any spouse, whether by marriage or not, parent, child, any person related by

"Electronic communication device" includes, but is not limited to, telephones, cellular telephones, computers, video recorders, fax machines, or pagers. "Electronic communication" has the same meaning as the term defined in Subsection 12 of Section 2510 of Title 18 of the United States Code.

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 DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter. The posts and opinions expressed on this website are solely the personal opinions of The Law Offices of Roland X Tiemann. They do not represent or reflect (nor are they intended to represent or reflect) the positions, opinions, viewpoints, policies and/or statements of any entity in which the Law Offices has any ownership interest, with which they have any contractual or other legal relationship, or which is, was or might be the Law Offices client or customer. This website is not intended to be an advertisement or solicitation for legal services. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Disregard this solicitation if you have already engaged a lawyer in connection with the legal matter referred to in this solicitation. You may wish to consult your lawyer or another lawyer instead of the Law Offices. The exact nature of your legal situation will depend on many facts not known to the Law Offices at this time. You should understand that the advice and information in this solicitation is general and that your own situation may vary.

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