Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in California


Under California law, the term domestic violence can encompass a number of different criminal offenses. Though each case and charge is different, a crime will be considered domestic violence if it involves:

  • Physical violence, threatened violence, or abuse;
  • Involving individuals in domestic relationships; which can include:
  • Spouses, family members, parents, and cohabitants

Domestic violence can take many forms, which means there are different charges an individual can face. Additionally, domestic violence charges and penalties can vary in severity based on a number of factors - including whether serious injury was caused, children were involved, and whether defendant's have prior domestic violence convictions. Depending on the facts of a case, these crimes may be charged as misdemeanors or felonies.

Common examples of domestic violence charges in California include:

  • PC 273.5 - This crime refers to the infliction of corporal injury on a spouse or domestic partner. This charge is hinged of victim's suffering physical injury from an intimate partner.
  • PC 243(e)(1) - Known as domestic battery, this charge involves any unlawful touching that is harmful or offensive among domestic partners that can include spouses and former spouses, cohabitants, individuals in a dating relationship, and parents. This charge can be prosecuted without evidence of physical injury; all that is required is force or violence.

Beyond these two common domestic violence crimes, other incidents involving violence or misconduct between domestic relations can also result in criminal charges. Other crimes include violating protective orders, criminal threats, child abuse or child endangerment, and elder abuse. You can learn more about domestic violence on our website, or by speaking with a lawyer from our firm.

At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, we understand the unique and delicate aspects involved in domestic violence cases, as well as the serious penalties at stake. If you or someone you love has been charged with domestic violence, contact our firm for a FREE and confidential consultation.

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