California Domestic Violence
For those charged with domestic violence, our California domestic violence attorneys have decades of experience defending DV charges. We will fight for you.
It is against the law to assault, batter, or criminally threaten anyone, but it is much more serious to commit such crimes against certain people. If the alleged victim is your spouse, fiancé, cohabitant, girlfriend, boyfriend, dating partner, or the parent of your child, California domestic violence laws apply.
Most counties in California have special teams solely for prosecuting domestic violence cases. They can and usually will prosecute even if the alleged victim changes the story or insists he/she does not want charges filed. Even if this is a misdemeanor first offense case, most district attorneys seek jail time for domestic violence convictions.
Innocent People Get Accused
Innocent people get wrongly accused of domestic violence all the time in California, unfortunately.
Accusers often make a false allegation of domestic violence out of jealousy, anger, or to gain an advantage in child custody or divorce proceedings.
Sometimes what was really an accident can appear to the police like a domestic battery, resulting in an arrest. Actions taken in self-defense during a mutual struggle can also lead to an arrest. (Please go to our page on the California laws of self-defense for further information).
Our California domestic violence attorneys know how to investigate the facts and tell your side of the story in court to the prosecutor, the judge, and the jury in cases that go trial.
When you give us the case early enough, we may be able to negotiate with the prosecutors before criminal charges are filed and persuade them to not continue with a criminal case at all.
California Domestic Violence Laws
California domestic violence laws make it illegal to use physical force or to threaten harm against an intimate or domestic partner. These are the most common domestic violence crimes:
Penal Code 273.5 makes it illegal to inflict a “corporal injury” resulting in a “traumatic condition.” An example of this crime is striking an intimate partner violently enough to cause a visible injury, even a minor injury such as a bruise or swelling. Charges for this California domestic violence law can be filed if the victim is a former or current spouse, cohabitant, or the parent of a mutual child.
Under Penal Code 243(e)(1) it is a misdemeanor to inflict violence or force on an intimate partner. “Intimate partner” includes a former or current spouse, fiancé, cohabitant, dating partner, or the parent of a mutual child. This charge can be filed even if there is no visible injury.
Under Penal Code 273d it is criminal to inflict “corporal punishment or injury” on a child if it was “cruel or inhuman” and caused an injury, even a minor injury counts. Reasonable latitude for a parent to spank a child is allowed under California child abuse laws, but those laws draw the limit where the punishment injures the child or is cruel.
Under Penal Code 273a it is criminal to willfully to allow a child in your care or custody to have her/his health or safety endangered or to suffer harm. For example, a mother who permits her fiancé to beat her 7-year-old; or a parent who runs a meth lab in the apartment where the child resides.
Under Penal Code 368 it is a crime to inflict physical or emotional abuse, neglect, endangerment or financial fraud on a person 65 years old or older. The crime is most often charged against caregivers, but anyone who commits these sorts of offenses against a person 65 or older can be charged with this crime.
Under Penal Code 422 it is criminal to communicate a threat of serious harm to someone if (1) you intend to put the person in fear, and (2) you actually do put the person in sustained fear. This charge may be filed as a felony or a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of this crime as a felony, it counts as a strike under California Three Strikes Law.
Domestic Violence and Immigration Issues
California domestic violence laws create a major problem for those who are not citizens of the U.S. Many domestic violence crimes count as “crimes of moral turpitude” and conviction will lead to deportation from the U.S. If you are not a citizen and are accused of any domestic abuse crime, it is very important that you fight the charges and avoid a criminal conviction of these charges. Otherwise you may be deported from the U.S. and have no opportunity to become a naturalized citizen.
California Domestic Violence Penalties & Sentencing
The punishment for convictions under California domestic violence law can be different depending on the seriousness of any injuries, and criminal record of the defendant. Many counties seek at least 30 days in jail even for a first misdemeanor. They also usually require the defendant to attend 52 weeks of domestic batterers class.
To top it all off, a California domestic violence conviction will be on your permanent criminal record. Anytime someone conducts a routine background check they will find the conviction. This can make it hard to get a job, pass the background check for any state professional licensing, or any other benefits.
Call Us for a Free Consultation…
An arrest for alleged domestic violence crimes does not have to lead to a conviction. An experienced California domestic violence lawyer is your best option for successfully fighting the charges. Charges can be reduced or dismissed and your permanent criminal record can be kept clean.
If you or a loved one faces charges of domestic violence and you seek to hire a lawyer to represent you, we encourage you to contact us at the Law Offices of Marc Grossman. We can provide a free consultation in the office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, the San Fernando Valley, Orange County, Long Beach, San Bernardino, Ventura, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, San Diego, and throughout California.