What are California’s Laws on Domestic Violence?

California’s laws on domestic violence define violation of these laws as committed when a person inflicts violence or other forms of abuse in a familial or intimate setting. These relationships include a current or former spouse or co-habitant, dating or ex-partner, a parent with whom one has a child. If a child is involved, additional child abuse charges apply.

The prosecutor decides the charges to press depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries, and the abuser’s criminal history especially domestic violence.

The prosecutor can press battery charges using Section 242 of the penal code which defines the willful and unlawful use of force or violence against the person of another.  The battery of an intimate partner of family relations is covered by Section 243(e) (1) of the Penal Code. The prosecutor can also go for felony charges under Section 243(d) if the victim has suffered serious bodily injury. This is a more serious charge.

Domestic violence charges where the violence causes corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition is covered under Section 273.5.

Overview of California Domestic Violence Laws

The laws covering domestic violence are;

  • California Penal Code Sections 240-248 et. seq. (Domestic Violence)
  • California Penal Code Sections 270-273.75 et. seq. (Domestic Violence)

What are the Penalties for domestic violence?

  • Being convicted under Section 243(e) (1) is punishable by a fine of $2,000, I year imprisonment in county jail or both. The court can also hand a probation sentence in return the victim agrees to batterer’s counseling.
  • Being convicted under Section 243(d) is punishable by 1 year in county jail or 2-4 years imprisonment in state prison and a restraining order.
  • Conviction under a felony conviction under Section 273.5 is punishable by 1-year imprisonment in county jail or 2-4 years in state prison, a fine of up to $6,000, or both.

What are Restraining orders?

California law allows a victim of domestic violence to apply for restraining orders which prohibit the abuser from contacting or being in close proximity to the victim. It is not necessary that a victim has suffered physical violence; even emotional abuse is a cause for restraining orders.

Related Charges

Charges that are related to domestic violence charges which could be pressed alongside include:

  • California Penal Code Section 422 (Criminal Threats)
  • California Penal Code Section 591 (Damaging a Telephone Line)

Get legal assistance

A criminal defense lawyer is the best aid when you are facing domestic violence charges. The attorney can argue and have the charges dropped or have you charged on lesser charges and handed a lesser sentence.  To learn more about penal code 273.5 visit the Law Offices of Randy Collins webpage regarding spousal abuse.

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About the Author

Fairfield County, Connecticut Attorney David Volman provided personalized legal representation for Family law, personal injury, bankruptcy, criminal cases, real estate & business law.