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Understanding Domestic Battery Charges in California

 Posted on October 24, 2022 in Criminal Defense

San Jose criminal defense attorneyThe stereotypical image that may come to mind when you hear “domestic violence” is of a man physically attacking a female romantic partner. While this form of domestic violence is fairly common, it is far from the only situation in which domestic battery may be charged. People of any gender may be charged with domestic battery, and the victim need not be a current romantic partner. Regardless of the specific set of circumstances leading up to a domestic battery arrest, the charge remains heavily stigmatized.

The collateral consequences associated with a domestic battery conviction may even be worse than the judicial consequences. You may face struggles similar to those a felon may face in finding a good job, securing educational opportunities, or even finding housing that is acceptable to you. If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is important to take the situation very seriously and find a skilled criminal defense lawyer. 

Domestic Violence Charges Are Based on the Victim’s Identity

Generally, the only difference between a simple assault charge and a more serious domestic violence charge is the victim’s relationship to you. You may be charged with domestic violence if the victim was your: 

  • Current or former spouse - Some defendants are surprised to learn that they can be charge with domestic violence even if they are divorced from the victim and no longer related. 
  • Current or former cohabitant - Even without a marriage relationship, a person you live with or used to live with may count as an appropriate victim for a domestic violence prosecution. 
  • Fiancé - A former fiancé with whom you broke off the engagement may count as well. 
  • Romantic partner - Assaulting any current or former romantic partner may lead to domestic violence charges. 
  • Co-parent - Even if you never had a romantic relationship, the mother or father of your child is covered under California’s domestic violence statute. 

What Actions are Considered Domestic Violence?

If the victim is appropriate for a domestic violence charge, then any battery against that victim may be considered domestic violence. In California, battery is defined as any “willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” Acts that may be considered battery include things like hitting, pushing, slapping, or pulling on hair or clothing. Using a weapon against the victim may lead to harsher charges, including a possible felony. 

Contact a Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Lawyer

Fuller Law Firm is experienced in defending those accused of domestic violence offenses. Our skilled Palo Alto domestic violence attorneys will strive to minimize the impact this case will have on your life. Contact us at 408-234-7563 for a free consultation. 




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