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Everyone wishes for a peaceful home life, but that isn’t always reality. Conflict disrupts most homes from time to time. Sometimes, that conflict even elevates to accusations of domestic violence.

If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, you face an uphill legal battle. As you fight stiff legal penalties, you must address negative stereotypes that can influence a jury. 

Let’s face it, juries can be biased against people charged with domestic violence.

That’s why you must hire an experienced domestic violence attorney to fight for you. You cannot handle this charge on your own and expect a successful result. To preserve your freedom and your reputation, you should hire a skilled criminal defense attorney. 

Give the experienced defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, a call. 

Keep reading for six important things to know about California’s domestic violence laws.

What Types of Relationships Are Covered by Domestic Violence Laws?

California domestic violence laws include many relationships:

  • Spouse or former spouse, 
  • A cohabitant or former cohabitant, 
  • A person that the offender dated or is dating, and
  • A person with whom the accused has a child.

If you have any violent or threatening incidents with a person in these categories, they can bring domestic violence charges in California.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence occurs when you cause or attempt to cause bodily injury to someone in the previously listed relationships. 

Domestic violence is not limited to physical injury under California law. The criminal behavior can include threats or emotional abuse as well. Here are some examples of domestic violence:

  • Sexual assault,
  • Threatening your spouse with serious bodily injury,
  • Threatening to harm your significant other’s child,
  • Stalking a dating partner,
  • Harassing your ex-spouse by phone or text,
  • Harming a family pet, and
  • Speaking in a demeaning and obscene way to your partner.

If you have engaged in any of these acts, you should call a domestic violence attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can attempt to get your domestic violence charges in California reduced or dismissed.

What Is the Punishment for Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence often takes the form of a battery charge in California. 

Battery is the intentional use of force or violence upon someone. This unlawful use of force does not have to involve physical contact. Contact through the clothing or contact that does not cause harm or pain is enough for a battery charge. The threat of harm is not battery but can be charged as an assault. 

A battery charge can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the severity of the criminal act.

Battery in a misdemeanor domestic violence context is punishable by: 

  • A fine of up to $2,000 and
  • Up to a year in jail.

If a defendant receives probation, the defendant must attend a batterer’s treatment program for at least one year.

Failing to attend a batterer’s treatment program for at least one-year subjects the defendant to payment of up to $5,000 to a women’s shelter. The defendant may also have to pay for the victim’s mental health services resulting from the offense.

If the battery causes serious injury, the prosecutor may charge you with a felony battery, which can result in up to four years in prison. 

Repeat domestic violence offenders may receive additional penalties.

Know the Facts About Domestic Violence in California

Many homes and families suffer from domestic violence in California. If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, you’re not alone, as these facts show:

  • Twenty people per minute are abused by an intimate partner in the United States. 
  • More than 10 million Americans become domestic violence victims each year.
  • California domestic violence shelters serve almost 5,800 women and children per day.
  • One in three women and one in four men suffer physical violence, sexual violence, or stalking from an intimate partner.
  • Though other types of California homicides decreased between 2009 and 2011, domestic violence fatalities increased by 11%.
  • Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
  • Abusive domestic partners own guns at almost twice the rate of gun ownership in California.
  • Each day, domestic violence hotlines receive 20,000 phone calls.
  • Nearly three-quarters of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner.

What Is a Restraining Order?

California allows victims of domestic violence to apply for an emergency restraining order.

A restraining order is a court order that can help protect people from domestic violence abuse or threats.

A victim can request a domestic violence restraining order if the victim has been abused or threatened with abuse by someone in a domestic relationship (spouse, partner, co-parent, etc.).

What Should You Do If You’re Arrested for Domestic Violence?

If you are arrested for domestic violence, you should request an attorney immediately. The police will try to get you to admit that you abused the alleged victim.

Invoke your right to remain silent, and avoid mistakenly saying the wrong thing. Then request an attorney. After you have asked for an attorney, the police can no longer question you.

What Are Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges?

Sometimes, you may be charged with domestic violence by mistake. Maybe your accuser lied or there was a reason for your actions. Your criminal defense attorney can use these defenses to try to get your domestic violence charge reduced or dismissed:

  • Accident,
  • Self-Defense,
  • False allegations,
  • No injuries,
  • Defense of property, or
  • Lack of evidence.

Your criminal defense attorney will let you know if any of these legal strategies could work for your case.

Get Started on Your Domestic Violence Defense

If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Your freedom and your reputation may depend on it. Call the attorneys at the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, for a free consultation.

Your attorney will listen to your story with compassion and offer you expert legal strategy. The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, have successfully represented criminal defendants for nearly over two decades. They can help you too. Give our experienced criminal defense attorneys a call today.

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

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