According to California law, domestic violence (sometimes called domestic abuse or intimate partner abuse) means causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, and/or sexual assault against a spouse, a former spouse, a person you are dating, a person with whom you are living, a person with whom you used to live and/or a person with whom you had a child. Domestic violence can involve physical injury, or domestic violence can occur merely by threatening words.
The legal definition of an “intimate a partner” for purposes of domestic violence includes husbands or wives, boyfriends or girlfriends, and same-sex partners. Therefore, any intimate partner, no matter the sex, can be a victim of domestic abuse. The law is very broad in terms of how the relationship giving rise to domestic violence is defined.
“Abuse” is likewise legally defined in very broad terms. Each of the following actions, among others, can lead to prosecution for domestic violence or intimate partner violence: hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, threatening with a weapon, threatening without a weapon, hitting with an object, hair pulling, burning, cutting, biting, stabbing and stalking. No matter how slight the physical touching was, the perpetrator of the action can be prosecuted. Some types of domestic violence charges do not even require any physical touching, such as stalking or criminal threats (Penal Code section 422).
California Penal Code section 273.5 is the most frequently charged domestic violence crime. This section provides that anyone who willfully inflicts injury on a spouse, former spouse, or certain other protected people is guilty of a felony. Penal Code 273.5 is explicit that the injury may be either minor or serious in nature, so long as it is caused by physical force. The punishment for those found guilty of violating this crime includes up to one year in county jail, or up to six years in state prison. A conviction for someone who has had prior domestic violence conviction means even more time. Prosecution of domestic violence cases is treated very seriously, and is often specially assigned to District Attorneys that only handle DV cases.
Your intimate partner does not decide whether or not to press charges in a domestic violence case in California. Once the police are involved in the domestic violence situation, you and your intimate partner no longer have the choice of whether or not to prosecute. The decision of whether or not to file criminal charges in a domestic violence case is up to the prosecutor alone. He or she will decide whether or not to bring the domestic violence charge. It is incorrect (and dangerous) to believe that the domestic violence victim has the power to press charges or not; once law enforcement is involved, it is out of their hands.
California Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
No matter what charges you are currently facing, a skilled California criminal defense attorney can help. There are defenses for every criminal charge. In most cases, these domestic violence charges are based on one person’s word. A domestic violence criminal defense lawyer understands that there are two sides to every story. This lawyer can help you gather evidence and proof for your side of the story. Do not think that these charges are hopeless. Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney today to learn how you can save your reputation and keep your record clean. Do not hesitate to call on criminal defense lawyer Darren T. Kavinoky if you would like a FREE case evaluation.