Domestic Violence

What constitutes domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a crime that is defined by law as violence or physical abuse directed toward a spouse or domestic partner and is typically committed by men against women. The definition of domestic violence will vary depending on the context in which the term is used and may describe sexual abuse, physical abuse, or even psychological abuse.

One of the things that you must keep in mind regarding domestic violence is that false accusations take place all the time. Jealousy, bitterness, and revenge can easily lead to false accusations of domestic violence or domestic abuse. If you have been accused, contact the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman as soon as possible. When you involve a criminal defense lawyer from the beginning of your case, you will have the best chance of refuting the charges brought against you.

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California Domestic Violence Laws

California law makes it illegal to use physical force against an intimate partner, and some of the most common domestic violence crimes include the following.

  • Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant: According to Penal Code 273.5, it is illegal to inflict a "corporal injury" resulting in a "traumatic condition". This includes striking an intimate partner in a violent way that brings about a visible injury, even a slight bruise or swelling.
  • Domestic Battery: Penal Code 243(e)(1) says that it is a misdemeanor crime to inflict violence or force on an intimate partner. The term "intimate partner" includes your fianc√©, dating partner, cohabitant, or the parent of your child. This crime does not require visible injury.
  • Child Abuse: California Penal Code 273d makes it a crime to commit child abuse, which includes any act of inflicting "corporal punishment or injury" that is "cruel or inhuman" and causes an injury of any kind.
  • Elder Abuse: It is a crime to inflict physical or emotional abuse, neglect, endangerment or financial fraud on a victim who is 65 years of age or older under Penal Code 368. Elder abuse charges are usually filed against caregivers.
  • Child Endangerment: According to Penal Code 273a, it is a crime to willfully allow a child in your care or custody to suffer harm or be placed in a situation that endangers his/her health. For example, a mother who allows her boyfriend to abuse her young child can be charged with child endangerment.
  • Criminal Threats: Penal Code 422 states that it is a crime to communicate a threat of serious harm to someone if you intend to put the person in fear and if you actually do put that person in sustained fear. Criminal threats and charges relating to them may be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor depending upon the circumstances.

Domestic Violence Penalties

The penalties for domestic violence charges will vary depending on the seriousness of the injury and the defendant's criminal record. Many counties in California impose the following:

  • Minimum jail sentence of 30 days for first-time offenders
  • For a majority of offenders, mandatory attendance at a 52-week domestic battery class

Fighting Your Domestic Violence Charges in CA

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman, our reputation for success in domestic violence cases is well-known throughout the local legal community. In fact, many of our domestic violence cases come to us from referrals from fellow criminal defense attorneys. Our reputation for winning trials means that we can obtain better plea bargains and more dismissals for our clients. Hiring the right lawyer can increase your chances of avoiding a criminal conviction or jail sentence.

Work with an Attorney Who Understands

Additionally, working with a female defense attorney brings a unique perspective to the representation on a domestic violence case. We are never quick to seek a plea bargain if the best interests of our clients would be served by litigation. These cases in particular present certain problems for the prosecution, which an Orange County criminal defense lawyer from our team can use to your benefit. At our firm, we prepare and develop defense strategies designed to take the facts of the case into account, as well as to counteract any evidence against you.

It is important to note that some domestic violence charges are unfairly used for leverage in an impending or ongoing divorce or child custody dispute.

In many domestic violence cases, the accuser has a change of heart and may want to recant his or her initial statement to the police. However, those alleging domestic violence have little, if any, control over getting the charges dropped because the case is in the hands of the prosecutor. In these situations, we can work toward having the criminal charges dismissed and any restraining orders against our clients lifted.

Contact us today for experienced legal representation to help you avoid the serious consequences that you face.