What is considered an act of domestic violence?

What is considered domestic violence?

California’s Domestic Violence laws define an “act of domestic violence” with a very broad area of conduct and class of victims. It is not necessary to be married or engaged to an alleged domestic violence victim in order for the law to apply. The California Penal Code defines domestic violence as “abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is:

  • spouse
  • former spouse
  • cohabitant (someone who lives in the same house, apartment, or living area
  • former cohabitant (someone who used to live in the same house, apartment or living area)
  • person with whom the suspect has had a child
  • person with whom the suspect is having a child (pregnant women)
  • person to with home the suspect had a dating relationship with  (See California Penal Code §13700)

Under this definition, you can be charged with domestic violence even if you only dated the alleged victim. No marriage, engagement, children, or living together is necessary.

The law also defines Domestic Violence abuse as “intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to himself or herself, or another.” California Penal Code §13700.

Witness statements, signs of injury (such as bruises, scratches, abrasions, etc.), and party admissions often strengthen the prosecution’s case.

This area of the law can result in serious legal consequences, and proper legal representation early in the case is critical to maintaining your freedom.  Please make an appointment to speak with an attorney at (408) 816-2311.