Facing domestic violence charges under California law is a serious matter with significant legal and personal consequences. These charges can result in jail or prison time, substantial fines, restraining orders, and long-term damage to your personal and professional reputation. Convictions can also lead to the loss of professional licenses and permanent marks on your criminal record.

At The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we understand the profound impact these charges can have on your life. Our firm specializes in defending against domestic violence allegations. We are committed to providing aggressive and personalized defense strategies to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact our office at (310) 448-1529 or fill out our online contact form to discuss your case.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence in California?

In California, domestic violence encompasses a range of abusive behaviors, not limited to physical injury. Under California Penal Code Section 13700, domestic violence includes any abuse committed against a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or parent of your child. The following forms of abuse can lead to charges:

Verbal Abuse: This involves using words to harm, threaten, or intimidate the victim. Examples include yelling, name-calling, and threats of physical harm.

Emotional Abuse: Behaviors that undermine the victim’s emotional well-being or sense of self-worth. This can include manipulation, isolation from friends and family, and constant criticism.

Psychological Abuse: Actions that cause mental trauma, such as intimidation, manipulation, or threats. This can include stalking, controlling behaviors, and actions intended to instill fear.

Economic Abuse: Controlling the victim’s access to financial resources, thereby limiting their ability to support themselves and forcing dependence on the abuser. Examples include controlling all household money, forbidding the victim from working, or stealing their money.

Charges can be brought based on these types of abuse, even without physical injury. The law aims to protect victims from all forms of abuse and hold perpetrators accountable.





    Can You Be Charged with Domestic Violence Without Injuring Someone?

    Yes, you can be charged with domestic violence in California even if no physical injury occurs. California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) addresses spousal battery, which is a common charge in these cases. Spousal battery involves the willful and unlawful use of force or violence against a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, fiancé, dating partner, or parent of your child. This statute does not require physical injury. Any offensive touching, however slight, can constitute spousal battery. Examples include pushing, shoving, or grabbing.

    Misdemeanor Charge: Spousal battery under Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) is classified as a misdemeanor. The penalties for a misdemeanor spousal battery conviction can include:

    • Jail Time: Up to one year in county jail.
    • Fines: Up to $2,000.
    • Probation: Informal probation for up to three years.
    • Batterer’s Treatment Program: Mandatory attendance in a batterer’s treatment program for a minimum of one year.
    • Restraining Orders: The court may issue a restraining order prohibiting contact with the victim.

    What Happens When the Police Are Called for Domestic Violence?

    1. Arrival and Separation: Upon arrival, officers will separate the individuals involved to prevent further conflict and ensure they can speak to each person individually.
    2. Assessment and Interview: Officers will assess the situation by interviewing all parties involved, including any witnesses. They will look for signs of abuse, such as visible injuries, damaged property, or signs of a struggle.
    3. Evidence Collection: Police may take photographs of injuries, the scene, and any damaged property. They may also collect physical evidence, such as torn clothing or weapons.
    4. Determining the Primary Aggressor: Officers will attempt to identify the primary aggressor. This decision is based on factors such as the severity of injuries, any history of domestic violence, and statements from witnesses and the involved parties.
    5. Making an Arrest: If the officers determine that there is probable cause to believe that a domestic violence crime has occurred, they will make an arrest. California law mandates arrest in domestic violence cases where there is evidence of a crime.

    Criteria for Determining Abuse and Making an Arrest:

    • Visible Injuries: Signs of physical harm, such as bruises, cuts, or scrapes, even if minor, are strong indicators.
    • Witness Statements: Testimonies from the victim, witnesses, or neighbors about the incident.
    • Prior Incidents: Previous calls to the same address or a documented history of domestic violence between the parties.
    • Behavioral Evidence: Signs of aggression, threats, or admissions of abuse by either party.

    How Do Restraining Orders Work in Domestic Violence Cases?

    Process of Obtaining a Restraining Order Without Physical Injury:

    1. Filing a Request: The victim, or someone on their behalf, files a request for a restraining order at the local courthouse. This request includes details of the abuse, even if it doesn’t involve physical injury. Forms are available at the courthouse or online.
    2. Temporary Restraining Order (TRO): If the court finds that the victim needs immediate protection, it can issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) the same day without notifying the alleged abuser. The TRO typically lasts until a court hearing.
    3. Court Hearing: A hearing is scheduled, usually within a few weeks, where both parties can present their cases. The victim must demonstrate that they have a reasonable fear of future abuse, even without physical injury. Evidence such as threatening messages, witness testimonies, and other abusive behavior can be presented.
    4. Permanent Restraining Order: If the court is convinced that protection is necessary, it can issue a permanent restraining order, lasting up to five years. This order can be renewed and includes specific terms regarding contact with the victim.

    Criteria for Securing a Restraining Order:

    • Reasonable Fear of Harm: The victim must show that they reasonably fear future harm.
    • Evidence of Abuse: This can include verbal threats, harassment, emotional abuse, or any behavior causing fear.
    • Victim’s Testimony: The court considers the consistency and credibility of the victim’s account.

    Injury Domestic Violence

    What Are Common Mistakes to Avoid in Domestic Violence Cases?

    Speaking to the Police Without an Attorney: Attempting to explain your actions to the police without legal representation can lead to self-incrimination. Always exercise your right to remain silent and request an attorney before speaking to law enforcement.

    Contacting the Alleged Victim: Trying to contact the alleged victim, especially if there is a restraining order or protective order in place, can result in additional charges and penalties. Adhere strictly to any court orders, and let your attorney handle all communications.

    Ignoring Court Orders: Failing to comply with restraining orders or other court mandates can result in severe consequences. Follow all court orders meticulously to avoid additional charges and penalties.

    Posting on Social Media: Discussing the case or related matters on social media can be detrimental. Refrain from posting anything related to the case online, as these posts can be used as evidence against you.

    What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions in California?

    Penalties for Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Convictions:

    • Jail Time: Up to one year in county jail.
    • Fines: Up to $2,000.
    • Probation: Informal probation for up to three years.
    • Batterer’s Treatment Program: Mandatory completion of a batterer’s treatment program lasting a minimum of one year.
    • Protective Orders: Issuance of protective orders that can restrict contact with the victim.

    Penalties for Felony Domestic Violence Convictions:

    • Prison Time: Two, three, or four years in state prison. If the victim suffers great bodily injury, the prison term can increase significantly.
    • Fines: Up to $6,000.
    • Probation: Formal probation with strict conditions.
    • Batterer’s Treatment Program: Completion of a year-long batterer’s treatment program.
    • Protective Orders: Issuance of protective orders that can significantly restrict the defendant’s actions and movements.

    Conditions and Consequences of Protective Orders:

    • No Contact: Protective orders may mandate no contact with the victim, which includes physical, verbal, and electronic communication.
    • Stay-Away Orders: These orders can require the defendant to stay a certain distance away from the victim’s home, workplace, or other specified locations.
    • Violation Penalties: Violating a protective order can lead to additional criminal charges, including potential jail time and fines.

    Can Prior Offenses Impact Your Domestic Violence Case?

    Yes, prior offenses can significantly impact your domestic violence case. The prosecution can use evidence of previous offenses to strengthen their case against you.

    Use of Prior Offenses in Prosecution:

    • Pattern of Behavior: The prosecution may introduce prior offenses to establish a pattern of abusive behavior. This can make it more challenging to defend against current charges.
    • Character Evidence: Prior convictions can be used to portray the defendant as having a propensity for violence, which can influence the judge or jury’s perception.

    Relevance of Prior Convictions and Arrests:

    • Recency: Prior convictions and arrests within the last 10 years are particularly relevant, especially if they involve the same victim or similar circumstances.
    • Severity: The nature and severity of prior offenses play a significant role. Recent and serious offenses are more likely to be considered in court.
    • Same Victim: If prior offenses involve the same victim, it can significantly impact the current case, demonstrating an ongoing pattern of abuse.

    Does Voluntary Counseling Help in Domestic Violence Cases?

    Voluntarily enrolling in counseling or anger management programs can be beneficial in domestic violence cases. These actions can demonstrate to the court that the defendant is taking responsibility and making efforts to address the behavior.

    • Demonstrates Remorse and Responsibility: Voluntary enrollment shows the court that the defendant acknowledges the issue and is committed to making positive changes.
    • Potential for Leniency: Judges may view the proactive steps favorably and consider them when determining sentences. This could result in reduced penalties or alternative sentencing options, such as probation instead of jail time.
    • Improvement of Personal Relationships: Participation in these programs can help individuals develop healthier ways of dealing with conflicts, potentially improving personal relationships and reducing the likelihood of future incidents.
    • Compliance with Court Orders: Completing counseling or anger management programs voluntarily can demonstrate a willingness to comply with court orders if such participation becomes a mandatory part of the sentence.

    Scenarios Where Voluntary Programs Might Positively Influence the Case Outcome:

    • First-Time Offenders: Individuals with no prior criminal record who voluntarily seek help may be viewed more leniently by the court.
    • Non-Severe Incidents: In cases where the domestic violence incident was not severe, voluntary counseling can show the court that the defendant is taking proactive steps to prevent future occurrences.
    • Plea Bargain Negotiations: Defense attorneys can use voluntary enrollment in negotiations with the prosecution to potentially reduce charges or penalties.

    What Should You Do If Facing Domestic Violence Charges?

    Comply with Court Orders: Follow all terms of restraining orders, protective orders, or any other court mandates. Violating these orders can lead to additional charges and more severe penalties.

    Seek Legal Representation Immediately: Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. An attorney can provide essential guidance, protect your legal rights, and develop an effective defense strategy.

    Maintain Detailed Records: Keep comprehensive records of all interactions related to the case, including communications with the alleged victim, witnesses, and law enforcement. This documentation can be crucial for your defense.

    What Should You Avoid If Facing Domestic Violence Charges?

    Violating Restraining Orders: Do not contact the alleged victim through any means, including phone calls, text messages, or third parties. Violating restraining orders can result in additional criminal charges and jail time.

    Discussing the Case Publicly: Refrain from discussing the details of your case with friends, family, or on social media. Any statements you make can be used against you in court.

    Engaging in Aggressive Behavior: Avoid any aggressive or retaliatory actions, as these can be perceived negatively by the court and adversely affect your case.

    Disregarding Legal Advice: Adhere strictly to your attorney’s guidance. Ignoring legal advice can lead to mistakes that could worsen your situation and negatively impact your case.

    Contact A Los Angeles Domestic Violence Attorney Today

    For expert legal assistance with your domestic violence charges, contact The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi. With over 20 years of experience in criminal defense, Attorney Arash Hashemi and his team are dedicated to providing professional, effective legal representation. We understand the serious implications of these charges and are committed to providing a solid defense to protect your rights and future.

    Domestic Violence Charge in California - No Injury Required

    Availability for Jail Visits:
    We understand the urgency of your situation and offer jail visits to discuss your case in detail.






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      Disclaimer: The content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is not intended to predict outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those seeking legal advice should consult with a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please contact our law firm directly.