Domestic violence charges are based on the relationship between the individuals involved and can encompass a variety of different charges. Many acts of domestic violence are equivalent with other types of criminal offenses, such as assault and battery. However, when this type of criminal offense is committed against someone with whom the defendant has a close personal relationship, it can result in a more severe punishment.
Being charged with a domestic violence offense can affect more than just the relationship between the defendant and the accuser. Even if the accuser withdraws their complaint or does not want to press charges it is unlikely that the case will be dismissed. Whether the charge is based on a false accusation or a minor altercation, it is crucial that individuals facing these kinds of charges have experienced legal representation.
As a domestic violence attorney, 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.
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 from visible injury.
Battery offenses involving people in specified domestic violence relationships face more severe punishments than simple battery. A conviction for domestic battery can result in up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $2000.
This 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. (Pen. Code, §273.5.). Unlike domestic battery, this charge requires the victim to be the defendant's former or current spouse, former or current cohabitant, or the mother/father of the defendant's child. If the victim was a former or current fiancé, or a former or current boyfriend/girlfriend they are not necessarily included.
The penalties for those convicted of corporal injury may include up to four years in prison and fines up to $6,000. These penalties may be even greater if the defendant has prior convictions of assault and/or battery.
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.
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 occurs when a parent, guardian, or child caregiver commits violence, sexual acts, or other damaging acts 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.
Child abuse may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor can result in up to one year in jail while a felony can result in up to ten years in prison.
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.
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.
The crime of violating the terms or conditions of a California restraining order (also called a "protective order") occurs when a judge issues a legal restraining order is the terms of that order are intentionally ignored. (Pen. Code, §273.6.).
Penalties for violating a restraining order vary depending on whether or not the victim suffered any physical injury and whether or not it is the defendant's first or consequent violation.