Domestic violence is are severe charge and can have grave consequences on your life. Wrongful convictions of domestic violence in Buena Park are not uncommon. The misconception and fear around domestic violence can sometimes lead to unlawful charges by police officers.
If you or your loved one has been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, reach out to us. Our experienced domestic violence lawyers at Simmrin Law Group can help you fight for your rights.
Legal Definition of Domestic Violence in California
You are guilty of domestic violence if you intentionally or recklessly use or threaten to use force against a partner or family member. California laws define domestic abuse under two separate laws:
- Penal Code §13700 – Under the penal code §13700, it’s illegal to threaten to exert force or exert physical force on an intimate partner.
- Family Code – The domestic violence umbrella is expanded to other family members, including blood relatives or through marriage. The family code makes it illegal to exert force or threaten to exert physical force on relatives.
For a free legal consultation with a domestic violence lawyer serving Buena Park, call (310) 928-9347
Who Counts as a Domestic Violence Victim Under the California Law?
For court charges, fines, and penalty purposes, California law extensively defines a domestic violence victim by dividing the list into two categories:
For Custody Disputes
Under the custody dispute list, victims of domestic violence under the California family code include:
- The accused child or children – by blood or through adoption
- Brothers and sisters
- Half brothers and half-sisters
- Stepbrothers and stepsisters
- Nieces and nephews
For Criminal Law
California law defines domestic violence as abuse against an intimate partner. An intimate partner can be:
- A person with whom you share a child
- A current cohabitant (a live-in romantic partner), registered domestic partner, or fiance,
- A former fiance, romantic inhabitant, or married partner
Buena Park Domestic Violence Lawyer Near Me (310) 928-9347
Common Domestic Violence Crimes and Penalties in California
Common crimes associated with domestic violence in Buena Park, California, include neglect, abuse, threats, and battery. Most domestic violence crimes are charged as a wobbler offense under California law. Wobbler is a crime that is charged either as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on:
- The accused criminal history
- The seriousness of the victim’s abuse, such as physical injuries
- Circumstances of the abuse
Some common domestic violence crimes and penalties include:
Penal Code §273.5 Corporal Injury to Spouse or Cohabitant
It’s illegal to inflict corporal injuries on any family member, according to Penal code 273.5. Corporal injuries under criminal law refer to any physical injury which has the potential of causing trauma to the inflicted. The injury should be verifiable and visible, whether minor or severe.
The crime is charged as a felony. As a result, the offense is punishable by one-year imprisonment in county jail, four years in state prison, or a fine of up to $6000, or jail time and fine.
Penal Code §243(e)(1) – Domestic Battery
Domestic battery law under penal code 243(e)(1) makes domestic violence a misdemeanor to inflict pain through violence on an intimate partner. However, unlike penal code 273.5, the domestic battery does not require verifiable injuries.
The punishment for a domestic battery charge includes a fine of $2000, a one-year county jail imprisonment, or both.
Penal Code §422 – Criminal Threats
Under the California criminal threats law, penal code 422, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony if you threaten someone with the intent to cause harm. Domestic violence criminal threats can serve up to one year in jail as a misdemeanor, while felony charges receive four years in prison.
Penal Code §647(j)4 – Revenge Porn
Penal code 647(j)(4) is a type of cyber harassment crime considered a misdemeanor by California law. The law makes it a crime to distribute sexually explicit images or videos without a person’s consent.
Revenge porn causes the victim emotional distress, and it’s punishable with up to one year in a county jail or a $1000 fine.
Penal Code §273d – Child Abuse
Penal code 273d makes it a crime for anyone to inflict pain or injuries to a child through corporal punishment. However, reasonable spanking is excluded under California laws, but any cruel form of punishment resulting in physical injury or emotional trauma is considered child abuse.
For example, hitting a child with a metal rod is not spanking. Child abuse charges result in three years in a state prison or one year in county jail.
Penal Code §368 – Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is a crime under penal code 368, and it can be charged either as a felony or misdemeanor. You are guilty of elder abuse if you commit the following acts against persons aged 65 years and above:
- Committing financial fraud
- Physical or emotional abuse
If the courts charge you with elder abuse as a misdemeanor, you can serve up to one year in jail, but as a felony, the punishment is four years in state prison.
Defense Against a Domestic Violence Charge in California
When arrested for domestic violence, it’s advisable to contact a domestic violence lawyer in Buena Park to help minimize the consequences or get acquitted if wrongly accused.
Legal Defense Strategies
A Buena Park domestic violence lawyer can apply various legal defenses, including claiming that:
- The accused was acting in self-defense or committed the crime while defending another person
- The victim’s injuries are a result of an accident
- The victim’s injuries are not a result of the accused actions
- The victim is falsely accusing the defendant out of spite, malice, or trying to gain the upper hand in an ongoing court case, or child custody proceedings
A Plea Bargain to a Lesser Charge
If guilty of domestic violence, an experienced domestic violence lawyer can ask you to accept a guilty charge to a lesser offense. The lawyer can negotiate a plea bargain on the defendant’s behalf to avoid negative consequences such as the stigma of a domestic violence conviction.
The common lesser offenses a domestic violence defendant may plead guilty to include:
Pleading guilty to lesser offenses has benefits, including:
- Retaining the right to own a firearm
- No deportation for non-US citizens
- No automatic loss of custody
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How Can a Buena Park Domestic Violence Attorney Help?
If you have been accused of domestic violence, a domestic violence attorney in Buena Park can help. We know that a wrongful conviction can mess up your life, and we want to provide you with proper representation for your case. Contact us today to speak with one of our attorneys.