Domestic violence is taken seriously in California, and you could face multiple charges because of one incident. You need a strong defense to avoid the harshest consequences, which could include incarceration, fines, and more.

Accused of domestic abuse in Folsom, CA? Call Walsh Law at 916-237-8270 or use our online contact form to speak with an experienced Folsom domestic violence defense attorney.

California Domestic Violence Laws

Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, is a pattern of behavior that involves the use of physical force or intimidation to control another person. It can include physical, emotional, sexual, and economic abuse.

In California, domestic violence is defined as abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship. Abuse means intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to themselves, or another.

Types of Domestic Violence Offenses

Multiple offenses fall under domestic violence crimes, including:

  • Domestic Battery (California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) PC): This misdemeanor involves using force or violence against a cohabitant, parent of your child, or current or former spouse, fiancé, or dating partner. You can be convicted of this crime without causing pain to or injuring the alleged victim.
  • Inflicting Corporal Injury on an Intimate Partner (California Penal Code Section 273.5 PC): This misdemeanor or felony offense involves causing physical injury to a spouse, cohabitant, dating partner, or parent of one’s child through an act of domestic violence.
  • Child Abuse (California Penal Code Section 273d PC): This makes it a crime to inflict corporal punishment or injury on a child. This does exclude reasonable spankings, but punishments that are considered cruel or that cause injury are considered child abuse.
  • Child Endangerment (California Penal Code Section 273a PC): This wobbler offense involves willfully causing or allowing a child who is in your care to suffer harm or have their safety or health endangered.
  • Child Neglect (California Penal Code Section 270 PC): This involves a parent willfully failing to provide necessities, including food, shelter, medical care, and clothing, to a minor child. This crime is also a wobbler and may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
  • Elder Abuse (California Penal Code Section 368 PC): This wobbler offense involves inflicting any type of abuse, neglect, endangerment, or fraud upon an individual who is aged 65 or older.

Who Is a Domestic or Intimate Partner?

Domestic violence offenses are typically restricted to domestic or intimate partners. Those include a spouse or former spouse, anyone who lives with or has lived with you, a person engaged or formerly engaged to you, anyone dating or sexually intimate with you, and the parent of your child.

Charges Related to Domestic Violence

Domestic violence charges often involve other offenses as well. They are often charged simultaneously. Some common accompanying charges include:

  • Criminal Threats (California Penal Code Section 422 PC): This involves threatening someone with serious harm. It may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense.
  • Stalking (California Penal Code Section 646.9 PC): This involves harassing or threatening another person to the point at which they fear for their safety or the safety of their family. This may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
  • Aggravated Trespass (California Penal Code 601 PC): This involves making a criminal threat and within the next 30 days entering the alleged victim’s home or workplace to carry it out. It is a wobbler offense as well.

Domestic Violence Penalties in California

Most domestic violence offenses are wobblers, which means they can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the facts of the crime.

Penalties for a misdemeanor can involve up to one year in county jail and informal (summary) probation. Felony offenses can result in time in prison as well as formal probation.

It is also important to understand that domestic violence penalties become more serious if the injury inflicted is considered a great bodily injury.

Other Potential Consequences of Domestic Violence

In addition to incarceration and probation, you may face the following for domestic violence convictions:

  • Community service
  • Restitution to the alleged victim
  • Batterer’s intervention program (domestic violence classes)
  • Anger management classes
  • Loss of child custody rights
  • Loss of gun rights
  • Deportation or inadmissibility to the United States

Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges in Folsom

You may be concerned about your criminal penalties and the social stigma of domestic violence charges. Folsom domestic violence lawyer Chris Walsh knows how the prosecution develops a case, so he can fight against your charges. He used to be a prosecutor, and now he uses his knowledge to defend the accused.

A good defense can help you get charges reduced or dismissed entirely. Some commonly used domestic violence defenses include:

The Injury Was an Accident

If you can prove that the other person’s injuries were caused by an accident, then you should not be found guilty of domestic violence. Domestic violence requires intent to harm. If you did not have intent, then you did not commit the crime.

You Acted in Self-Defense

California law allows you to defend yourself and others with force. Thus, if the other person was threatening you or someone else with imminent harm, then you could have legally protected yourself by using force in return.

You Are Being Falsely Accused

Many alleged victims of domestic violence falsely accuse others because of anger, jealousy, or revenge. If there is a pending family law case (divorce or custody), then they may be trying to get a leg up in that lawsuit. If you can prove the alleged victim is falsely accusing you, then your case may be dismissed.

Domestic Violence Charge FAQs

Can I enter a pre-trial diversion program for domestic violence?

Yes, you may be able to pursue a pre-trial diversion program or deferred entry of judgment (DEJ). If you do not have an extensive violent criminal record, you may be able to take the batterer’s program (domestic violence classes) and your charges may be dismissed.

Can a lawyer help with a restraining order?

We can help you if someone is seeking a restraining order (called a protective order) against you. We can also help if you’re being accused of violating a protective order. In these situations, your civil rights are being restricted because you cannot travel freely. It’s in your best interest to fight a protective order and try to get it removed.

Can I lose custody of my children if I’m convicted of domestic violence?

Many people who are convicted of domestic violence struggle to maintain custody of their children. However, they are still often able to get visitation rights. It should be noted that a conviction is not required for a family law judge to determine there was domestic violence in the home and consider it when deciding custody issues.

Get Help from a Folsom Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

A domestic violence conviction can affect your life as well as that of your entire family. Our Folsom domestic violence lawyers at Walsh Law know what you’re facing. We can help you fight against false accusations and protect your reputation. Reach out to our domestic violence defense law firm so we can get started on your case.

Call 916-237-8270 today or complete our secure contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.


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