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What are the penalties for domestic violence in California?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2021 | Domestic Violence |

The perpetrator of domestic violence can be anyone who has a close relationship with their victim. It can take on several forms, from verbal to emotional and physical abuse.

California’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA) is the law that spells out what constitutes domestic violence, who different perpetrators of such acts may be and the penalties court systems may impose for such violations of the law.

What constitutes domestic violence according to California law?

State law describes the following offenses as potentially falling under the umbrella as domestic violence, depending on how they occur:

  • A physical or sexual assault
  • Threatening phone calls or written messages
  • Molestation
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Destroying someone else’s property
  • Battery

The key element here is that the perpetrator of such acts must direct their conduct toward someone close to them.

What’s an immediate consequence of facing domestic violence charges?

It’s likely that you’ll find yourself in a courtroom being arraigned on criminal charges after your arrest. You’ll also likely soon find yourself in front of a different judge who’s considering issuing a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) against you. Your alleged victim (or their parent or guardian) needs to demonstrate proof of the following to be successful in securing a DVRO:

  • Your close familial, blood or residential relation
  • Evidence that you subjected them to domestic violence

A child 12 or older can petition the court for a restraining order without securing their parent’s prior consent.

There are a few different types of protection and restraining orders in California. The initial emergency protection order only lasts at most seven days. An ex-parte or temporary restraining order can remain active for as long as 15 days. A longer-term restraining order may remain in effect for as long as five years, though.

Domestic violence is a criminal charge punishable by a restraining order and prison time. The imposition of a protective order or conviction for such a crime can significantly impact your civil and parental rights and your life in many other ways. This is why you shouldn’t take your charges lightly.