Under California domestic violence laws, it is illegal to threaten, belittle, or hit anyone, including your loved ones. A heated argument with your partner or spouse can easily lead to an arrest and result in a domestic violence case.
Many people argue in relationships. However, not all arguments amount to domestic violence. But if you get into a heated verbal confrontation, and someone calls law enforcement officers, the officers may arrest you if they suspect an act of domestic abuse has occurred or is imminent.
Below, we will define domestic violence and discuss steps you should take if you are facing domestic abuse charges in California. This will help you know when a basic argument crosses the line into domestic violence.
The Legal Definition of Domestic Violence in California
In California, domestic violence occurs when a person in an intimate relationship or within a victim’s domestic circle uses verbal, physical, and emotional control over their partner.
According to domestic violence laws in California, there are many forms of domestic violence. This form of abuse often occurs between individuals who are related by blood or in intimate relationships, such as:
- Domestic partners
- Married couples
- Currently dating or previously dated
Under California’s domestic violence laws, the term “abuse” can refer to one or a combination of the following:
- Harassment and stalking
- Sexual assault
- Attempting or intentionally causing bodily harm
- Disturbing someone’s peace
- False imprisonment
If you are accused of domestic violence in San Diego, California - whether physical, verbal, or emotional, you need a San Diego domestic violence attorney to ensure you get a fair trial. An attorney will protect your rights and help fight for your case to have your charges reduced or dropped.
Domestic Violence Crimes and Penalties in California
Domestic abuse crimes can be classified as felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the circumstances. California law recognizes various domestic abuse crimes, including:
- Battery – California Penal Code Section 243 (e)(1) is deemed a misdemeanor punished by up to a year in jail or a fine of $2000.
- Corporal injury to a spouse – California Penal Code 273.5 is a felony with penalties including up to four-year imprisonment for a first offense.
- Child endangerment – California Penal Code 273a is deemed a misdemeanor, and penalties include not more than six months in jail.
- Child abuse can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony and result in imprisonment for up to six years.
Contact a San Diego Domestic Violence Attorney Today
Domestic violence cases often involve many complex legal and emotional issues, and the judicial process can be difficult to navigate. A domestic violence attorney will protect your rights, fight for justice, and build an aggressive defense to try to have your charges dropped.