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Frequently asked Questions about Domestic Violence Charges Part 1

Posted by attorney Cameron Bowman
  1. Don’t I have to be married to be convicted of “Domestic Violence" (DV)? No. California Law defines “Domestic Violence" very broadly. Among other things it includes violence by anyone who is living together, is in a dating relationship, or who is the parent of a child in common with the other person. Same sex partners and even former spouses can be charged with “"Domestic Violence". 2. What are the exact charges I could be facing for "Domestic Violence" in California? Some of the usual “Domestic Violence" charges are Penal Code Sections: • 243(e) - Misdemeanor Battery. • 273.5 – Domestic Violence. This can be charged by the D.A. as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the seriousness of the injury and your record. • 422 - Terrorist Threats. This is a threat to commit a crime involving death or great bodily injury. This may be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on the seriousness of the threat and your record. • 273.6 - Violation of a prior restraining order. 3. How easy is it to get arrested for “Domestic Violence" in California? Make no mistake; “Domestic Violence" is a huge and very real problem. Several studies have shown that a woman is much more likely to be assaulted in the home by a spouse than by a random stranger in public. In 2003, there were 48,854 arrests for “Domestic Violence" in California. There is no question that for many years law enforcement turned a blind eye to this growing problem. There is now growing pressure to “get tough" with domestic abuse. Off the record, many police officers will admit that they feel they have to arrest someone if they are called to the scene of a domestic argument. Because of the need to “do something" about “Domestic Violence", DA’s offices often feel forced to continue the prosecution despite the lack of evidence in a particular case. 4. I was arrested for “Domestic Violence". My spouse wants to go court to “drop the charges" against me. Can he/she? One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about “Domestic Violence" cases is that a victim can “drop the charges" against them and thereby get a criminal case dismissed. In California, there is no such thing as having a victim "drop charges." The prosecution of these cases is controlled by the District Attorney's Office, whether or not the victim wishes the matter to be prosecuted.

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