Charges Require an Experienced Domestic Violence Attorney

California law does not have just one solitary statute that outlines domestic violence. Instead, there are a number of crimes that can fall into this classification. This means that a skilled domestic abuse lawyer has training and experience with a variety of crimes that all fit into the domestic violence category.

For those who have been charged with a domestic abuse crime, this expertise is important because prosecutors in California often pursue the most severe sentence possible in domestic cases. The two primary laws that fall under the domestic abuse classification are outlined in California Penal Code Section 273.5 and Section 243 (e) (1). These statutes make it illegal to cause bodily injury to an “intimate partner” or to use violence or force against them, respectively.

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Felony or Misdemeanor Charges Based on Injuries

These offenses can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The prosecutor will make this decision based on the extent of any injuries that occurred during the altercation, the accused’s previous criminal record and other circumstances of the case. If the victim receives open wounds, broken bones or requires hospitalization, the crime will almost certainly be tried as a felony.

In less serious cases or those where the injuries are minor, a knowledgeable domestic violence attorney can often ensure the case is filed as a misdemeanor. California law also has statutes that allow some felony charges to be reduced to a misdemeanor, even after a conviction. A skilled domestic abuse lawyer can offer further advice on this topic as it pertains to specific cases.

Domestic Violence Can Be Verbal

While these laws cover what most people typically think of as “domestic violence,” it isn’t the end of the domestic abuse laws in California. California Penal Code Section 422 makes it illegal to threaten another, and this statute may be used in domestic abuse cases where there has been no physical violence but the threat has been made. Similarly, Penal Code Section 594 may be used to charge a defendant who has vandalized property belonging to their significant other or former intimate partner, even if there has been no injury to their person.

In addition, domestic abuse charges may be filed in situations where the victim isn’t a spouse or significant other. Domestic abuse may even include child abuse and elder abuse, in some cases.

In fact, any crime that involves threats, assault or battery may be considered domestic violence if the victim is any of the following:

-Current spouse

-Former spouse

-Current or former lover

-Current or former dating partner


-Previous cohabitant

-Mother or father of defendant’s child

-Child in the defendant’s care

Under California law, domestic abuse is taken very seriously. Some district attorneys even have special units who are tasked with focusing on these crimes and prosecuting them to the maximum extent of the law. Having an aggressive, skilled domestic abuse lawyer is a key factor in achieving a favorable result against these prosecutors.

At the Law Offices of Grant Bettencourt, we will work diligently on every case to ensure our clients are treated fairly and receive the most favorable result possible in court. Call (925) 788-7178 or use our form link below to schedule a time to talk to Grant about your case.