California law enforcement and prosecutors don’t take allegations of domestic violence (DV) lightly. Whether by training or simply human nature, they are often predisposed to believing the accuser’s side of the story. Court dockets are full of cases against people wrongfully accused of domestic abuse, and many alleged abusers have had their reputations damaged by false accusations.
At The Law Office of Stein & Markus, we provide strong defenses for clients accused of domestic abuse in Southern California. Our Bellflower attorneys have more than 75 years of combined experience on both the defense and prosecution sides of criminal cases, including hundreds of DV matters. Our goal is to guide you through the legal process, always be there to answer questions, and do everything we can to obtain positive results for you.
Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in California
California law defines “domestic violence” as abuse committed against an intimate partner. A person commits “abuse” when he or she intentionally or recklessly uses or threatens the use of physical force against an intimate partner.
An “intimate partner” means a current or former: spouse; registered domestic partner; fiancé(e); or cohabitant. It also means someone with whom the accused has/had a child and anyone the accused is seriously dating or seriously dated in the past.
Other people—such as children, brothers, sisters, grandparents and other relatives—can also be victims of domestic violence, though under the California Family Code rather than the criminal law. This is important in cases involving custody disputes.
Corporal Injury on a Spouse or Cohabitant
This is the most frequently charged domestic violence offense in California. “Corporal injury” is another term for “bodily injury”. It is illegal to inflict even slight physical injury on an intimate partner. This crime is a felony with possible penalties for a first offense ranging from a year in county jail to four years in state prison, plus fines up to $6,000.
Inflicting force or violence on an intimate partner is a misdemeanor known as domestic battery. This charge can be filed even if the victim has no visible injury, which is the big difference between this law and the corporal injury law above. Penalties include fines up to $2,000 and/or up to a year in jail.
If an intimate partner alleges that you threatened him or her, you can be charged with making criminal threats. This can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on circumstances.
Corporal punishment on a child is a crime in California, with the exception of reasonable spankings. Punishments that are cruel or cause injury are punished by between one and three years in jail.
Additional Domestic Violence Examples
California law is expansive and covers many additional domestic violence-related acts that can result in criminal charges:
- Stalking and cyberstalking
- Violating a protecting order
- Elder abuse
- Revenge porn or posting damaging information online
- Aggravated trespass
Considering All Available DV Defenses
As your attorneys, we will gather all the facts and build the strongest defense we can to protect your rights. In DV cases, common defenses include showing that the injuries resulted from an accident; the victim was injured by someone else; you acted in self-defense; or the accusations are false.
What Our Clients Say
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We’ll Help You Fight Back Against Domestic Violence Charges
If you’ve been accused of domestic violence of any kind in Southern California, The Law Office of Stein & Markus is the resource you need. Our Bellflower-based lawyers will act quickly to protect and preserve your rights and your good name. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys, please call (562) 866-9762 or contact us online today.