Domestic violence is a form of abuse committed against a person who is a spouse or former spouse, or an individual with whom the defendant has had a child or dating relationship. In the context of domestic violence prosecution, a dating relationship means a frequent and intimate association between the two people that is primarily characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement independent of any financial considerations. Thus, in enacting the law punishing perpetrators of domestic violence offenses the legislature intended to provide protection to a broad category of people including children, grandchildren, parents, grandparent, brothers, sisters, or spouses of the accused.
In addition, the law also provides special protection to current and former cohabitants of the accused. Cohabitants are two unrelated persons living together for a substantial period of time resulting in some permanency of the relationship. Interestingly enough, in California a person may cohabit simultaneously with two or more people at different locations during the same period of time, as long as such an individual maintains substantial ongoing relationships with each person and lives with each person for significant periods. As such, an individual may be simultaneously prosecuted and sentenced for multiple domestic violence offenses involving multiple cohabitants.
Actual injury is not necessary to be convicted of this crime. Rather, the slightest of touching can be enough to commit the offense of domestic violence if it is done in a rude, angry or offensive way, and not in self-defense. When the touching does not cause serious pain or injury of any kind, the crime is treated as a misdemeanor, and a person may face fines and imprisonment up to one year in a county jail. However, when as a result of domestic violence another person suffers a serious bodily injury, or the person was likely to suffer great bodily injury, regardless of the actual harm, the stakes become much higher, and the accused may be convicted of a felony offense and sentenced up to seven years in state prison.
This office handles all types of matters involving charges of domestic violence in San Diego County. For a free consultation, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on domestic violence matters, see the following:
- California Laws SB-30 and SB-145 to Allow Domestic Partnership and Alter Rules for Minors - September 29, 2020
- What Is a Reasonable Bond in California? - April 27, 2020
- What to Do If You Are Accused of Rape - March 6, 2020