What Constitutes Domestic Violence In California?
Courts take domestic violence charges very seriously. Domestic violence is physical, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse against an intimate partner. Domestic violence can also include threatened abuse.
Under California law, an intimate partner includes:
- A spouse or former spouse
- A cohabitant or former cohabitant
- A romantic partner or former romantic partner
- The mother or father of a shared child
If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, you should read on to learn what constitutes domestic violence in California.
Domestic Violence Crimes In California
In California, there are two main domestic violence crimes with which you can be charged. One is a misdemeanor, and the other is a wobbler. A wobbler can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
However, what defines domestic violence crimes is the intimate relationship between the offender and the victim. That means that certain crimes, no matter the victim, are domestic violence if this special relationship is proven.
Misdemeanor Domestic Battery
Under California’s Penal Code, battery against an intimate partner is a misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. If the jail sentence is suspended, you must complete a batterer’s treatment program.
Misdemeanor domestic battery doesn’t require an injury. You don’t need to leave any visible marks to be convicted of the misdemeanor. Rather, the prosecutor just needs to prove that you willfully touched an intimate partner in a rude or angry manner. This can be as simple as a shove or push.
Domestic Battery – Wobbler Offense
California law also categorizes certain instances of domestic battery as a wobbler offense. The prosecutor must prove that you willfully inflicted corporal injury and caused a traumatic condition.
In common terms, this means that you caused an external or internal injury, like a wound or bruise, no matter how serious. However, the more serious the injury, the more likely you will be charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor. If convicted of the felony, you can receive up to four years in prison.
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
If you are charged with a domestic violence crime, there is a good chance that there is a domestic violence restraining order in place. Usually, we see clients who are subject to an emergency restraining order or a criminal protective order.
After the police arrest you for domestic violence, they can request an emergency restraining order. This is a short, 7-day restraining order that prevents you from having contact with the victim. Then the victim can decide if they want to ask the court for a longer restraining order.
Many prosecutors also ask the court for a criminal protective order when they file domestic violence charges. This is a restraining order effective until the case is over. If you are convicted of the offense, the protective order will be extended for 3 more years.
Violating A Restraining Order
If you violate a restraining order you can be charged with a misdemeanor and may get up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If you injure the victim while violating the restraining order then you must serve at least 30 days in jail, but can get up to a year. You are more likely to serve jail time if you caused injury and have a history of domestic violence.
Consequences Of A Domestic Violence Conviction
If you get convicted of domestic violence there may be consequences beyond jail time and a fine. For example, you might have trouble getting custody of your children, finding employment in certain professions, and getting spousal support.
It’s always best to hire a lawyer to defend you against a domestic violence charge so you can prevent collateral consequences. Domestic violence charges are always serious and complicated. For this reason, we recommend contacting an experienced Los Angeles domestic violence lawyer near you as soon as possible.
Contact the Los Angeles Criminal Defense Law Firm of The Rodriguez Law Group Today For Help
The Rodriguez Law Group – Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
626 Wilshire Blvd Suite 460, Los Angeles, CA 90017, United States