Peter Blair | March 31, 2023 | Domestic Violence
Domestic violence charges can be a terrifying, overwhelming experience, as the potential consequences are severe. If you or someone close to you is facing a domestic violence accusation, learn about the basics of this type of crime, the potential repercussions, and any defenses that may be available.
What Is Domestic Violence?
According to California law, domestic violence is any form of abuse against an intimate partner.
An intimate partner is defined as a spouse or former spouse, someone you live with, someone you are engaged to, the other parent of your child, or a person you are in a dating, sexual, or intimate relationship with (either currently or formerly).
Common Domestic Violence Charges in California
Many different crimes can fall under the domestic violence umbrella in California. Below we discuss some of them.
Corporal Injury To a Spouse
Under California law, inflicting corporal injury to a spouse is defined as willfully inflicting a wound or injury on your partner, even if the injuries are minor, like a small bruise.
The prosecutor must prove that you intended to injure the alleged victim in order for someone to be convicted of inflicting corporal injury.
Domestic battery is the deliberate use of physical force or violence against any person who is a family member, household inhabitant, or established intimate partner. There is no requirement for physical injury for a conviction, only proof that some form of force or violence was used.
Use of violence or force often includes pushing, shoving, slapping, pinching, hitting, choking, and kicking.
Elder abuse is a serious offense. Many California laws have been put into place to protect those aged sixty-five and over from physical, emotional, and financial harm, with criminal penalties for those found guilty of such offenses.
Criminal threats are defined as threatening harm to any person. It must be established that the defendant intended their words as a threat and that the threat caused the person to be in reasonable fear for their safety.
Criminal threat is a wobbler offense, meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. If charged and convicted with felony criminal threats, it counts as a “strike” under California law.
Stalking, harassment, sexual assault, and other crimes may also be considered domestic violence when committed against an intimate partner or cohabitant.
Common Defenses for Domestic Violence in California
If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, you should understand some of the most common defenses used in these cases. They include the following:
Self-defense is one way to defend against domestic violence charges. This defense claims that the defendant was only trying to protect themself from harm or prevent further harm from being inflicted upon them.
However, this defense will only work if the force used by the defendant was appropriate and reasonable given the situation at hand. Additionally, it must be established that a threat of imminent danger existed.
Another common defense against domestic violence charges is false allegations: the accuser lied about what happened because they had an ulterior motive, such as revenge or spite. In order for this defense strategy to be successful, it is helpful to have evidence that you didn’t actually commit the crime.
This could include an alibi witness – someone who can verify that you weren’t around the alleged victim at the time they claim the incident occurred.
Accident or Lack of Intent
Another possible defense is that the act was an accident. This means that while the defendant may have caused injury, they did so without intent or criminal negligence.
Contact a San Diego Domestic Violence Lawyer for Legal Guidance
If you’ve been charged with domestic violence in California, it’s important that you seek legal counsel immediately. A qualified lawyer can assess your case and support you in navigating the criminal justice system.