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Many states, including California, have made “domestic violence” a separate and distinct crime with its own set of discretionary and mandatory penalties. Because of the way state law addresses this crime, there could be many aspects of being charged with it with which a layperson may be unfamiliar.

If you or someone you care about is facing this type of charge, you may need to consult with a San Leandro domestic violence lawyer to get a full picture of what you may be dealing with. A seasoned criminal defense attorney may be able to help you examine the specific charges you are facing and work with you to develop a personalized defense strategy and pursue a positive outcome. En Español.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence?

Unlike assault, which could occur between strangers, the crime of domestic violence typically involves violent acts committed by one intimate partner to another or one member of a family or household against another member of that family or household. While a domestic violence charge might seem straightforward in California, a San Leandro lawyer would typically disagree.

California Penal Code §13700 dictates that domestic violence is more broadly defined as any abusive behavior aimed at anyone of any age who is “a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.” The term “abuse” may cover not only intentional or careless harm that leads to bodily injury, but also any attempt a person allegedly made to cause such harm or any action that gives someone “reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to himself or herself, or another.”

Given the broad legal definitions that California has adopted, domestic violence charges could be brought whenever any type of abuse occurs between any intimate partners even if they are married or unmarried, living together or formerly living together, dating or formerly dating, and straight or gay. Such charges could be brought even if there was no physical contact between the parties involved in the precipitating incident.

Charges & Penalties a Defendant May Face

Depending on the facts and circumstances that are involved, domestic violence charges might be brought as a felony or a misdemeanor in California. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may be charged with domestic battery. The penalties for anyone who is convicted of or pleads guilty to any type of domestic violence charge may be significant and life-altering.

Examples of potential penalties may include, but are not limited to:

  • 52 weeks of mandatory domestic violence counseling
  • A restraining order
  • Fines as criminal penalties, as well as restitution for the claimant
  • Jail time or prison time, depending on the severity of the allegations
  • Loss of child custody rights
  • Loss of California gun ownership rights

Many domestic violence cases could boil down to one person’s word against another. Depending on the specific facts and circumstances that are involved, it may be possible for the defense to raise certain statutory defenses which may include ulterior motivations, self-defense, or mutual aggression. A domestic violence lawyer in San Leandro could help you determine what defenses may be applicable in your case.

How A San Leandro Domestic Violence Attorney Could Help

If you or someone you love is facing any type of domestic violence charge, it may be important that you consult with a San Leandro domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the specific facts of your case. These cases may center contradicting stories, so ensuring that your side is presented to law enforcement authorities and/or the prosecution appropriately may be critical to the outcome of your case. Call today to get started.

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