Legal penalties for domestic violence in California

BY : Chastaine | Jones
Written by: Chastaine | Jones

If you find yourself facing any manner of criminal charge, it can be a stressful and uncertain time. However, domestic violence charges come with a plethora of unique legal and social challenges, even if you did nothing wrong. Plus, because California law treats relationship violence differently, the law compounds the consequences for a subsequent offense.

Domestic violence in California

A lot of actions qualify as domestic violence. In California, state law defines domestic violence in terms of relationships. Spouses or former spouses, a parent of your child or anyone you are or were engaged to all qualify for domestic violence charges. Domestic violence codes are written to curb and break cycles of abuse and violence within relationships.

What are potential consequences?

In California, authorities may charge domestic violence offenses as either misdemeanors or felonies. For misdemeanors, the range of penalties includes a jail sentence of up to 12 months, multi-thousand-dollar fines, probation and more. For felony charges, the same types of penalties are applicable, though some increase in severity. For instance, jail sentences can increase to 4 or more years if a prior conviction exists. Domestic violence felony charges carry higher penalties than typical assault and battery charges.

What are my rights if accused?

If you are facing domestic violence charges, regardless of the nature of the charges, you have rights. Legally cognizable arguments exist to defend you. These include self-defense and protecting or defending another.

Your case and circumstances are unique, and an attorney seasoned with domestic violence defense can discuss your options and defenses. Facing accusations that have the potential to affect your future can be difficult and daunting, but you do not have to face charges alone. You also do not have to make statements to police without consulting an attorney.

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