Domestic Violence

The intimate and complicated nature of personal and dating relationships can sometimes lead to arguments and disputes resulting in criminal charges and severe consequences. The criminal defense lawyers at Hamasaki Law understand the complicated and sensitive nature of representing individuals facing domestic violence charges. The charges can affect more than just the relationship between the client and the accuser. Whether the charge is based on a false accusation, a minor altercation, or an incident requiring medical attention, it is crucial that individuals facing these kinds of charges have a dedicated criminal lawyer. Many acts of domestic violence are similar to other types of criminal charges, such as assault and battery. However, when the act is committed against someone with whom the defendant has a close personal relationship it can be charged as a domestic violence offense. This can expose you to a more severe punishment.

At Hamasaki Law, we will guide you through the criminal process from the moment we are contacted until your matter is resolved. Our lawyers will take the time explaining your various options, and we will work together to determine the best approach to fighting your case. Contact us now to discuss your case and let us help you through this difficult process.

Common Domestic Violence Offenses

The criminal defense lawyers at Hamasaki Law have extensive experience handling a variety of domestic violence offenses all over the Bay Area, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Sonoma Counties. Some of the most common charges are domestic battery, corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant, child abuse (physical abuse on a child), child endangerment, criminal threats, failure to provide care/child neglect, and violation of a restraining order.

  • Domestic Battery
  • Criminal Threats
  • Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant
  • Failure to Provide Child Care/Child Neglect
  • Child Abuse (Physical Abuse on a Child)
  • Elder Abuse
  • Child Endangerment
  • Violation of a Restraining Order

Penal Code Section 243(e)(1)

Domestic battery is a misdemeanor that occurs when the defendant inflicts force or violence on the victim. The victim may be a girlfriend/boyfriend, former/current spouse, co-parent, cohabitant, intimate partner, or fiancé. There is no requirement that the victim suffer visible injury.

Elements – What elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt?

In order to be found guilty of a domestic battery the prosecution must show:


1) Willfully touched another person;
An action is willful if it is done willingly or on purpose. You need not have intended to break the law, cause injury, or gain an advantage. You can touch another person directly or indirectly. Touching another person can include touching something attached or closely connected to the person. A touching can also be causing an object to touch the person or causing another person to touch a person.


2) That touching was harmful or offensive; and
A touching that is harmful or offensive need not cause pain or injury. Instead, it is when the touching is done in a rude or angry way.


The person you touched was either:

  • A person with whom you are cohabitating;
  • The parent of your child;
  • Former spouse, fiancé, fiancée, or person you used to date; OR
  • Current spouse, fiancé, fiancée, or person you are dating;

Penalties – What are the penalties of a Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) violation?

A conviction for domestic battery can result in up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $2,000. If you are not a US Citizen, there are also grave immigration consequences. In most circumstances, a DV crime will make you deportable and make you ineligible in most circumstances.

Defenses – What are the defenses to a Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) violation?

Common defenses to domestic battery include:


  • Self-Defense or defense of others

    You have a claim of self-defense or defense of others if you:


    (1)Reasonably believed that you or someone else was in imminent danger of suffering bodily injury or being touched unlawfully;

    (2)You reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against that danger; and

    (3)You used no more force than reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.


  • Act was not willful

    One of the elements of "domestic battery" is that your actions were willful. If your actions were accidental, not willful, this may be a defense to the charge.


  • False accusations

    Because intimate relationships are complicated in nature, it is not uncommon for an arrest to be made based on false allegations fueled by anger, jealousy or revenge. A good criminal defense attorney is critical in ensuring that false accusations do not result in a conviction.


If you need help getting someone you know released from custody, contact Hamasaki Law today for a free consultation.

Penal Code Section 422

Criminal threats is a form of domestic violence where the offender intentionally threatens serious harm and causes the victim to be fearful. (Pen. Code, §422.). The threat doesn't necessarily have to be verbal, and can also include email, or text messages. This offense may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

The penalties for a misdemeanor criminal threat may result in up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $1000, while a felony criminal threat can result in up to 5 or more years in jail and fines may exceed $10,000.

Penal Code Section 273.5

Corporal injury offense is a form of domestic battery that causes a visible physical injury (even if the injury is minor) to a current/former spouse, co-parent, or cohabitant. Unlike domestic battery, this charge requires the victim to be an intimate partner.

Elements – What elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt?

In order to be found guilty of Penal Code section 273.5, the prosecution must show you:


1) Willfully inflicted a physical injury,
An action is willful if it is done willingly or on purpose. You need not have intended to break the law or cause injury.


2) On an "intimate partner", and
A person is an intimate partner if it is your:

  • Spouse or former spouse,
  • Cohabitant or former cohabitant,
  • Fiancé, fiancée, or someone with whom you have had a previous engagement or dating relationship, or
  • The mother or father of your child.


3) Caused a traumatic condition.
Traumatic Condition: A traumatic condition is a wound or other bodily injury caused by direct application of physical force. The wound or injury can be relatively minor and need not be serious in nature. Examples include a small cut, bruises, internal bleeding, or a sprain.

Caused: Cause means that that the condition was the natural probable consequence of the punishment/injury, the condition was the natural and probable consequence of the punishment/injury and the condition would not have occurred without the punishment/injury.

Penalties – What are the penalties of a Penal Code Section 273.5 violation?

Corporal injury on an intimate partner is a wobbler offense meaning that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Whether the district attorney decides to charge the offense as a felony or a misdemeanor depends on your criminal history and the facts of the case.

If it is a misdemeanor, it is up to one year in county jail and a maximum fine of $6,000 and you will likely be put on probation. If it is a felony, the fine is state prison of a term of 2, 3, or 4 years and a maximum fine of $6,000 and you will likely be put on probation.

If you have prior convictions for other domestic violence offenses, this will increase the maximum felony prison sentence and the maximum fines you can be required to pay.

If you are not a US Citizen, there are also grave immigration consequences. In most cases, a DV crime will make you deportable and ineligible for change of status.

Defenses – What are the defenses to a Penal Code Section 273.5 violation?

Common defenses to corporal injury on an intimate partner include:


  • Self-Defense or defense of others
    You have a claim of self-defense or defense of others if you:

    (1)Reasonably believed that you or someone else was in imminent danger of suffering bodily injury or being touched unlawfully;

    (2)You reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against that danger; and

    (3)You used no more force than reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.


  • Act was not willful

    One of the elements of "corporal injury on an intimate partner" is that your actions were willful. If your actions were accidental, not willful, this may be a defense to the charge.


  • False accusations

    Because intimate relationships are complicated in nature, it is not uncommon for an arrest to be made based on false allegations fueled by anger, jealousy or revenge. A good criminal defense attorney is critical in ensuring that false accusations do not result in a conviction.


Penal Code Section 270

Elements – What elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt?

In order to be found guilty of Penal Code section 273d, the prosecution must show you are:


1) The parent of a minor child;
A minor is any person under 18 years of age.

2) You failed to provide necessities for the child;
Necessities include clothing, food, shelter, medical attendance or other remedial care. If you are providing your minor child with treatment by spiritual means, such treatment will constitution "other remedial care" if it is in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination.


3)Your failure was willful and without a lawful excuse.
An omission or failure is willful if it is done willingly or on purpose. You need not have intended to break the law or intended to withhold a necessity from your child. If there is proof that you failed to provide necessities, it is assumed your failure is willful. Lawful excuses include someone who does not have the money to provide for her child, and is diligently looking for a new job.

Penalties – What are the penalties of a Penal Code Section 270 violation?

Child abuse may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If it is charged as a misdemeanor you can face up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Whether it is charged as a misdemeanor or felony depends on the facts of the case and on your prior criminal history.H owever, it is highly unlikely you will be charged with a felony child neglect unless you have been previously convicted of child neglect.

Defenses – What are the defenses to a Penal Code Section 270 violation?

Common defenses to child neglect include not acting willfully or having a lawful excuse like not having the financial means to provide the necessary care. In situations like these, a good criminal defense attorney is necessary to gather the necessary evidence and convince the judge or jury.


Penal Code Section 273d

Child abuse is defined as inflicting "corporal punishment" on a child if the conduct is "cruel or inhumane" and causes any type of injury. This can occur when a parent, guardian, or child caregiver commits a violent or sexual act against a child. Reasonable physical discipline by a parent (i.e. a spanking) will not constitute a violation of this statute. However, even when the adult does not intend to cause injury or causes no injury at all, intentionally assaulting a child where there is no physical contact is still considered abusive.

Elements – What elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt?

In order to be found guilty of Penal Code section 273d, the prosecution must show you:


1) Willfully inflicted cruel or inhuman physical punishment or injury on a child;
Willful: An action is willful if it is done willingly or on purpose. You need not have intended to break the law, cause injury, or gain an advantage.

Child: A child is any person under 18 years old.

Cruel or inhuman: The law does not define what punishments or injuries are "cruel and inhuman. However, some examples might include burning a child, throwing something at a child, or shaking a child.

2) The punishment or injury inflicted caused the child to suffer a traumatic physical condition; AND
Traumatic Physical Condition: A traumatic physical condition is a wound or other bodily injury caused by direct application of physical force. The wound or injury can be relatively minor and need not be serious in nature. Examples include a small cut, bruises, internal bleeding, or a sprain.

Caused: Cause means that that the condition was the natural probable consequence of the punishment/injury, the condition was the natural and probable consequence of the punishment/injury and the condition would not have occurred without the punishment/injury.

3) You were not reasonably disciplining the child.
It is not illegal to reasonably discipline a child. For example, it is not unlawful for a parent to spank a child for disciplinary purposes with her hand or another object so long as the punishment is necessary and not excessive relative to the circumstances.

Penalties – What are the penalties of a Penal Code Section 273d violation?

Child abuse may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Whether it is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the facts of the case and your prior criminal history. A misdemeanor can result in up to one year in jail while a felony can result in two, four or six years in prison. A maximum fine of $6,000.00 can be imposed. Whatever your sentence, you will also likely be given probation. Probation may require you complete a counseling program or pay restitution. A criminal protective order may also be ordered to stay away from the child.

Under certain circumstances, if you have a prior penal code 273d conviction, you can receive a four-year sentence enhancement. It is important to note, that a felony 273d is a strike offense.

Defenses – What are the defenses to a Penal Code Section 273d violation?

Common defenses to child abuse include:


  • Injuries caused by something other than punishment or injury

    Children are very active and it is not uncommon for them to get cuts, scrapes or bruises from wrestling each other, tripping, or playing contact supports. If your physical contact with the child did not cause the injury, you have not omitted child abuse.


  • Act was not willful

    One of the elements of child abuse is that your actions were willful. If your actions were accidental, not willful, this may be a defense to the charge.


  • False accusations

    Because intimate relationships are complicated in nature, it is not uncommon for an arrest to be made based on false allegations fueled by anger, jealousy or revenge. A good criminal defense attorney is critical in ensuring that false accusations do not result in a conviction.


  • You were reasonably disciplining your child

    You have the right to reasonably discipline your child physically. Your physical punishment is lawful so long as it is both necessary and reasonable under the circumstances.


Child Abuse (Physical Abuse on a Child)

Penal Code Section 273a

Child endangerment is the charge of willfully allowing a child to experience harm or to place the health or safety of the child at risk. This can include a wide array of situations in which an adult caregiver fails to adequately protect a child or places the child in a dangerous, unhealthy, or inappropriate situation.

Child endangerment can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony and penalties vary accordingly. Those convicted of misdemeanor child endangerment can face up to one year in jail, one year probation, $1000 fine, and possible loss of parental rights. Those convicted of felony child endangerment may face one to ten years in prison, probation, fines up to $10,000, and possible loss of parental rights.

Penal Code Section 368

Elder abuse is the crime in which one willfully or negligently imposes unjustifiable physical pain and/or mental suffering on a person who is 65 or older. (Pen. Code, §368.). Physical abuse is the most common form of this crime, but other examples include: sexual abuse, emotional abuse (i.e. yelling, threatening, or harassing), neglect by failing to provide basic needs that the person is responsible for providing to the elderly person, or financial abuse when a person has access to financial documents or bank accounts and uses the money for personal gain.

This is another offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Those convicted of felony elder abuse may face two to four years in prison and/or a fine up to $6000. If the victim suffers great bodily injury, then the prison sentence may increase by an additional five to seven years.

Penal Code Section 273d

Child abuse is defined as inflicting "corporal punishment" on a child if the conduct is "cruel or inhumane" and causes any type of injury. This can occur when a parent, guardian, or child caregiver commits a violent or sexual act against a child. Reasonable physical discipline by a parent (i.e. a spanking) will not constitute a violation of this statute. However, even when the adult does not intend to cause injury or causes no injury at all, intentionally assaulting a child where there is no physical contact is still considered abusive.

Elements – What elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt?

In order to be found guilty of Penal Code section 273d, the prosecution must show you:


1) Willfully inflicted cruel or inhuman physical punishment or injury on a child;
Willful: An action is willful if it is done willingly or on purpose. You need not have intended to break the law, cause injury, or gain an advantage.

Child: A child is any person under 18 years old.

Cruel or inhuman: The law does not define what punishments or injuries are "cruel and inhuman. However, some examples might include burning a child, throwing something at a child, or shaking a child.

2) The punishment or injury inflicted caused the child to suffer a traumatic physical condition; AND
Traumatic Physical Condition: A traumatic physical condition is a wound or other bodily injury caused by direct application of physical force. The wound or injury can be relatively minor and need not be serious in nature. Examples include a small cut, bruises, internal bleeding, or a sprain.

Caused: Cause means that that the condition was the natural probable consequence of the punishment/injury, the condition was the natural and probable consequence of the punishment/injury and the condition would not have occurred without the punishment/injury.

3) You were not reasonably disciplining the child.
It is not illegal to reasonably discipline a child. For example, it is not unlawful for a parent to spank a child for disciplinary purposes with her hand or another object so long as the punishment is necessary and not excessive relative to the circumstances.

Penalties – What are the penalties of a Penal Code Section 273d violation?

Child abuse may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Whether it is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the facts of the case and your prior criminal history. A misdemeanor can result in up to one year in jail while a felony can result in two, four or six years in prison. A maximum fine of $6,000.00 can be imposed. Whatever your sentence, you will also likely be given probation. Probation may require you complete a counseling program or pay restitution. A criminal protective order may also be ordered to stay away from the child.

Under certain circumstances, if you have a prior penal code 273d conviction, you can receive a four-year sentence enhancement. It is important to note, that a felony 273d is a strike offense.

Defenses – What are the defenses to a Penal Code Section 273d violation?

Common defenses to child abuse include:


  • Injuries caused by something other than punishment or injury

    Children are very active and it is not uncommon for them to get cuts, scrapes or bruises from wrestling each other, tripping, or playing contact supports. If your physical contact with the child did not cause the injury, you have not omitted child abuse.


  • Act was not willful

    One of the elements of child abuse is that your actions were willful. If your actions were accidental, not willful, this may be a defense to the charge.


  • False accusations

    Because intimate relationships are complicated in nature, it is not uncommon for an arrest to be made based on false allegations fueled by anger, jealousy or revenge. A good criminal defense attorney is critical in ensuring that false accusations do not result in a conviction.


  • You were reasonably disciplining your child

    You have the right to reasonably discipline your child physically. Your physical punishment is lawful so long as it is both necessary and reasonable under the circumstances.


Child Abuse (Physical Abuse on a Child)

Penal Code Section 273a

Child endangerment is the charge of willfully allowing a child to experience harm or to place the health or safety of the child at risk. This can include a wide array of situations in which an adult caregiver fails to adequately protect a child or places the child in a dangerous, unhealthy, or inappropriate situation.

Child endangerment can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony and penalties vary accordingly. Those convicted of misdemeanor child endangerment can face up to one year in jail, one year probation, $1000 fine, and possible loss of parental rights. Those convicted of felony child endangerment may face one to ten years in prison, probation, fines up to $10,000, and possible loss of parental rights.

California Penal Code Section 273.6

It is common to have a restraining order in place when facing or convicted of domestic violence charges. In California, it is unlawful to intentionally violate the terms or conditions of a restraining order or a protective order. At Hamasaki Law, we will guide you through the process from the moment we are contacted until your matter is resolved. We will spend the time with you explaining various options and strategies and we will work together to determine the best approach to fighting your case. Contact us now to discuss your case and let us help you through the process

Elements – What elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt?

In order to be found guilty of violating a restraining order or protective order you must have:


1) Issued a legal protective order,
2) you knew about the order, and
3)You intentionally violated that order

Penalties – What are the penalties of a Penal Code Section 273.6 conviction?

The penalties of a conviction for intentionally violating a restraining order or protective order vary depending on whether or not there were injuries and whether you have prior convictions for violating a restraining order or protective order.


Misdemeanor Restraining Order Violation


If you are convicted of a misdemeanor restraining order violation, you can be sentenced up to one year in county jail and fined up to $1,000.00. The judge can also impose other terms on your sentence like substance abuse counseling, anger management, domestic violence classes or restitution.

If there is physical injury and it is your first violation of a restraining order, you must serve a minimum of 30 days in county jail and the fine maxes out at $2,000.00. If it is your second conviction for a restraining order violation within the year and there was physical injury, the minimum sentence is 6 months county jail, up to one year and a fine of up to $2,000. Alternatively, your second offense within a year may be charged as a felony.

Under certain circumstances, courts can stay the minimum jail time requirement so long as you have spent 48 hours in custody for the 30-day minimum or 30 days in custody for the 6-month minimum. A criminal defense attorney may be able to persuade the judge to stay the remainder of the minimum by presenting mitigating factors on your behalf, explaining your remorse, showing that you are making progress or having completed progress, or other mitigating circumstances.


Felony Restraining Order Violation


Under certain circumstances, a restraining order violation because a "wobbler" offense. This means that under certain circumstances the district attorney has the option of charging it as a misdemeanor or a felony. It is a wobbler and may be charged as a felony if:


  • It is your second violation within seven years and this offense involves violence or a credible threat of violence – OR –
  • It is your second conviction within one year and there is physical injury.

If it is charged as a felony, you can be sentenced to up to one year in jail and probation or you can be sentenced to a term of either 16 months, 2 years or 3 years and are subject to fine up to $10,000. The judge can also impose certain conditions like counseling or restitution.

Defenses – What are common defenses to a violating a restraining order or protective order charge?

Below are common defenses to a violating a restraining order or protective order charge:

  1. The judge did not legally issue a protective order or the order was illegal. An order is illegal if the court did not have the authority to issue the order (i.e. it lacked jurisdiction) or if there was no legal basis to issue the order. If you believe there was no legal basis for the order to be issued, talk to a criminal defense attorney before willfully violating the order.


  2. You did not know about the restraining order.
    If you did not know about the restraining order, you could not have intentionally violated it. When a restraining order is issued, the person against whom the order is imposed must be given notice. Notice can be oral or written. For example, if a police officer tells you at the time of issuing an emergency protective order. if a judge tells you the terms in court, or if you are given a written copy of the order. If you were not in court when the order was made, it was sent to the wrong address, or served on the wrong person, you may not have been given proper notice and cannot be found guilty of violating a restraining order.


  3. You did not intentionally violate the order.
    You cannot be found guilty of violating the order if you did not do so intentionally. For example, if you run into the person you are supposed to avoid at a grocery store unknowing that he would be there. So long as you leave immediately and do not speak with the person, you cannot be found to have violated the order because your contact was accidental. It is important to note, that if the person you are supposed to stay away from contacts you first or shows up at your house, you cannot respond. Even if the person says that she no longer wants the order in place. You must still comply with the order. The judge is the only person who change the restraining or protective order.


  4. The accusations against you are false.


If you are someone you know has been charged with violating a restraining order or protective order, call Hamasaki Law today.

CALL US TODAY. OUR ATTORNEYS ARE HERE FOR YOU.
415-525-4245