Domestic violence is considered a serious crime in California, and it can lead to heavy penalties. There is a good reason for treating a domestic violence allegation so seriously, because many men and women experience intimate partner physical violence every year.  However, it is also known that many people become victims of wrongful allegations of domestic violence themselves, especially during divorce proceedings or when child custody issues are at stake. 

We understand how wrongful accusations of domestic violence can ruin your reputation, career, and even end in jail time.   

If you are facing domestic violence charges in California, you should contact one of our experienced attorneys at ANTN Law APC, for a free consultation, and to find out how we can best defend your rights, and, potentially, protect your freedom.

How Is Domestic Violence Defined In California?

In California, domestic violence is defined as any physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse against a current or former “intimate partner.”

More specifically, California Penal Code section 13700 (PC) defines abuse as “intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to “intimate partner” as well as children.

This means that you can face domestic violence charges when the alleged victim reasonably believed that they were going to be harmed by you.  It is not relevant whether you intended to cause harm, what matters is what the alleged victim believed. 

Who Is Considered An “Intimate Partner”?

According to PC, section 13700, the definition of “intimate partner” includes all of the following:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • A person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.
  • Cohabitant or former cohabitant.
    • cohabitant means two unrelated adult persons living together for a substantial period of time, resulting in some permanency of relationship)
    • Factors that may determine whether persons are cohabiting include, but are not limited to:
      • Sexual relations between the parties while sharing the same living quarters
      • Sharing of income or expenses,
      • Joint use or ownership of property,
      • Whether the parties hold themselves out as spouses,
      • The continuity of the relationship, and
      • The length of the relationship

What Are The Common Domestic Violence Crimes And Penalties In California?

Since the definition of domestic violence laws is very broad, the specific facts of your case will determine the type of charges the prosecution can file against you.  Some of the common crimes of “domestic violence” in California include:

  • Domestic Battery (Penal Code 243(e)(1))
    • Domestic battery is a misdemeanor. Punishment can include a fine of up to $2,000, and/or up to one (1) year in county jail.
  • Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant (Penal Code 273.5)
    • PC 273.5 is a felony. Possible penalties for a first offense range from one (1) year in county jail to up to four (4) years in California state prison.
  • Stalking (Penal Code 646.9)
    • Stalking can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony. As a misdemeanor, penalties can include up to one year in jail.  If it is charged as a felony, penalties can include up to three years in prison.
  • Criminal Threats (Penal Code 422)
    • Criminal threats can be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony. If it is filed as a misdemeanor, it can be punished by up to one year in jail. As a felony, penalties can include up to four years in prison.  A felony conviction for criminal threats also constitutes a strike under the California’s “Three Strikes’ law. 
  • Child Abuse (Penal Code 273d)
    • A first offense for child abuse can be punished by up to one (1) year in county jail or up to three (3) years in state prison.
  • Child Endangerment (Penal Code 273a)
    • Child endangerment is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six (6) months in jail. However, if the child is at risk of great bodily injury, the crime can be charged as a “wobbler”, meaning, either a misdemeanor or felony.
  • Child Neglect or failure to provide care (Penal Code 270)
    • Child neglect is a misdemeanor and can be puished by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to one year in jail.
  • Elder Abuse – Penal Code 368
    • Elder Abuse is a “Wobbler”, meaning it can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony. If it is filed as a misdemeanor, it can be punished by up to one year in jail.  If it is filed as a felony, the penalties can include up to four years in state prison.
  • Posting Harmful Information on the Internet (Penal Code 653.2)
    • This crime is filed as a misdemeanor. It can be punished by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail.

The collateral consequences of being convicted of domestic violence in California

If you are convicted of a domestic violence crime in California, you may face collateral consequences, such as loss of custody rights, loss of gun rights, and immigration consequences, including possible deportation or denial of your citizenship application.  Therefore, before pleading guilty, it is crucial that you consult with a knowledgeable California domestic violence lawyer. 

An experienced California criminal attorney will fight for your rights and will at least negotiate a plea that will not result in dire consequences, such as deportation. 

Our attorneys at ANTN Law APC understand the seriousness of domestic violence charges and its consequences and will fight for your case from the investigation stage through trial. 

Call us at 818-210-3554 or fill out the online form below to speak about your case with one of our attorneys 24/7.