Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
Stay Informed. Follow Developments on Our Criminal Defense Blog.

Understanding California's Domestic Violence Laws

Domestic Violence in California includes intentional or reckless domestic assault, sexual assault, threatening harm, harassment, stalking, or other forms of disturbing the peace between two people in, or previously in, a domestic relationship. If you have been criminally charged with any of these behaviors you need a domestic violence lawyer to represent you.

Domestic violence is a serious matter. There are both state and federal laws in place that penalize domestic violence convictions. If you are convicted you may lose your ability to possess firearms, be subject to civil law suits, and face months, or even years of prison time and counseling programs.

Sometimes, unfortunately, people will make false allegations of domestic assault in order to gain an upper hand in a divorce or other legal proceeding. These cases can be difficult to defend, but it is important to realize the consequence of simply taking a plea agreement.

The police and prosecutors have strict guidelines on how they handle domestic assault allegations. There have been lawsuits across the nation against police officers who failed to arrest abusers. There has also been federal laws enacted to strip people convicted of domestic abuse of their right to own or possess firearms.

Domestic violence is not a male only problem. Police are instructed to arrest the primary aggressor in a domestic assault situation. This means that the person who started a fight may not be the one who ends up going to jail. Instead, the one who the officer views as the person who inflicted the most abuse is likely the person going to jail.

In some cases, where there is evidence that both parties were injured, both parties may be arrested for domestic violence. Although this situation is typically discouraged, both people may be charged and need their own domestic violence lawyer.

There are many good defenses to a domestic assault case including self-defense, defense of others, and mutual combat. Factual defenses such as these tend to require a trial as prosecutors may be reluctant to dismiss a case if there is the possibility the two parties may become in such activity again.

Sometimes a neighbor may call the police upon hearing what they believe is a fight between two people. A key to building an effective defense in these cases is to show the pattern and practice of the couple. It is not illegal for couples to argue so long as those arguments do not disturb the peace of others, does not become physical, and no threats are made by either party. If the couple has a history of loud, but not abusive arguing, then they may need to work on their relationship, but have not committed a crime.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your arrest for domestic assault, you need a domestic violence lawyer that understands the complicated legal and factual circumstances that surround these types of cases. You should never plead guilty to a criminal charge without first obtaining a legal opinion about your case. If you have been falsely accused by your partner or family member you should not be alone with them until after speaking to an attorney and learning the best strategies to protect yourself.