Domestic violence laws in California are designed to prevent in-home violence between family members and intimate partners. Courts across the country take domestic violence seriously, and a conviction for domestic violence could carry significant legal punishments.

Domestic violence versus assault

In California, the difference between domestic violence and regular assault is largely dependent upon the relationship between the individuals and whether they share a residence. Prosecutors can charge people with domestic violence if the person they assault is

  • A spouse or a former spouse of the accused;
  • A resident or former resident of the same home as the accused;
  • The mother or father of the accused’s children; or
  • A person in a romantic relationship with the accused.

In serious instances, prosecutors can opt to charge domestic violence offenders with battery. People who are convicted of battery in California could face up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

Emergency protection orders

In domestic violence cases, victims are entitled to apply for emergency protection orders, and the level of proof required to obtain them is typically very low. There does not necessarily have to be physical violence for a restraining order to be granted; the victim’s fear of imminent harm is usually enough.

Other consequences

Unlike nearly every other misdemeanor offense, domestic violence convictions can cost offenders additional rights; for example, persons convicted of domestic violence will usually be forced to surrender their weapons and will no longer be permitted to purchase firearms. Citizens charged with domestic violence in California may be wise to enlist a criminal defense attorney. Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent an individual might be crucial to securing the most favorable outcome possible.