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State of California Domestic Violence Laws

Men and women alike can be wrongfully accused of domestic violence, and this is a sensitive issue that must be addressed immediately. The domestic violence laws set by the California legislature make it a crime to injure, or threaten to injure, co-habitors, intimate partners, or former partners. Domestic violence charges are very serious, where a conviction can have a lifelong negative impact.

In California, domestic violence charges can come in two forms:

  1. Domestic Battery, charges made pursuant to Penal Code §243(e)(1); or
  2. Domestic Violence, charges for Corporal Injury to a Cohabitant or Spouse pursuant to Penal Code §273.5.

A Brief Overview on Penal Code §243(e)(1)

Regularly referred to as the state’s law on domestic battery, this penal code defines battery committed against an intimate partner as being a willful and unlawful use of force or violence.

Intimate partners can be: Current or former spouse, Current or former partner, Parents, and children.

Domestic battery is charged as a misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine that should not exceed $2,000. It can also carry a sentence of a maximum one (1) year in a county jail.

Domestic Violence Under Penal Code §273.5

A domestic violence charge under P.C. 273.5 is considered a wobbler offense in California. This means that the charge can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, contingent on the specifics of the case, the level of injury inflicted, and/or the defendant’s prior criminal record. Unlike a domestic battery charge, domestic violence charges require the victim to have suffered some form of physical injury.

Domestic violence is committed when a person makes the willful decision to inflict bodily injury on his or her partner. This offense is only limited to the following parties: Current or former intimate partner, Current or former cohabitant, and the child’s father or mother.

The Repercussions of Domestic Violence Convictions in California

In addition to imprisonment, a domestic violence conviction can include: Payment of court fees and fines, Loss of child custody rights, Mandatory domestic violence classes, Restraining orders or protective orders, Loss of state gun rights, Consequences for non-citizens, and a criminal record.

Domestic Violence Defense

Defending against domestic violence charges can include: Establishing that the incident occurred as an accident; Proving that the injuries were not caused by the defendant’s actions; the defendant was defending another from harm; The defendant acted in self-defense; or false accusations have been made.

Contact the Legal Support of a Qualified Domestic Violence Attorney

In some cases, domestic violence will involve false accusations. When this is the case, it is imperative to seek legal representation as soon as possible. With a strong legal defense, it may be possible to negotiate a lesser charge or have the charges completely dropped.

If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence charges, take quick action and obtain the support of experienced legal counsel as soon as possible.

The criminal defense attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP are exceptionally qualified in domestic violence cases in California. When facing domestic violence charges, you should know that a conviction can affect many areas of your life. Obtain the support of a legal defense team you can depend on. Schedule a no-obligation consultation with the attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP today.

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