California’s Domestic Violence Laws
In California, a comprehensive set of statutes addresses the issue of domestic violence, covering various aspects of this sensitive matter. One key aspect is Domestic Battery, as outlined in California Penal Code section 243(e)(1). This law prohibits the willful use of force or violence against an intimate partner. The state defines intimate partners to include spouses, former spouses, co-parents, engaged partners, and dating partners. Domestic battery is typically categorized as a misdemeanor in California.
Another significant aspect is Corporal Injury to a Partner, as governed by California Penal Code section 273.5. This law makes it illegal to willfully inflict corporal injury, even if it’s minor, upon an intimate partner. The charges for this offense can vary from misdemeanor to felony, depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries and the offender’s criminal history.
Criminal threats, codified in California Penal Code Section 422, criminalizes threats of serious harm or death made to an intimate partner or any other person, regardless of the intent to act on the threat. Typically, this offense is punishable as a misdemeanor, but it can escalate to a felony if the offender has a criminal history or employs a deadly weapon. In any of these cases, The Tabibnia Law Firm stands ready to provide legal support, drawing upon their industry knowledge and expertise to help individuals fight against these charges and work toward clearing their names.
Understand The Domestic Violence Accusations
Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects families in every part of the state. Although it’s estimated that 70 percent of domestic violence allegations are true, not all reports of abuse and assault reflect reality. False claims of physical and emotional abuse are often made by spouses or domestic partners to get their spouse out of their life, win custody battles, gain possession of property from them or exact revenge if they want divorce. But these baseless claims can still have devastating consequences of being falsely accused of domestic violence can include losing a reputation, strained relationships and even jail time.
Domestic violence has been a problem for so long and women have fought against domestic violence; therefore, most people—including police officers and judges who hear abuse complaints—expect that a woman complaining of being abused is telling the truth.
In fact, police officers and district attorney’s will often take the word of the abused partner as truth. In most cases, laws are biased against the dominant member of a relationship, who, in most cases is male. It is estimated that over 20 million Americans have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence or other forms of abuse.
In California, even if your spouse shows no signs of physical abuse, you can be charged with a misdemeanor domestic violence under penal code 243(e) if the police have filed charges against you.
As a result of false allegations, you may be wrongfully arrested for domestic violence, forced to hire a lawyer to defend you. The consequences of a false accusation of domestic violence could land you in jail and cost you thousands of dollars in legal fees. To avoid being falsely accused of some kind of crime, it is important to understand the law.
The following blog post will discuss how to respond effectively if you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence in California, and what an experienced attorney can do for those who have been wrongly accused of domestic violence with a crime.
Reasons Behind Domestic Violence False Accusations
There can be many different reasons for someone to falsely accuse another of domestic violence. The motives behind such false allegations vary widely and include:
- Revenge or anger towards the accused: In some cases, an individual might make false allegations out of spite, revenge, or anger. This could be due to a recent breakup, ongoing disputes, or personal vendettas. California law takes domestic violence allegations seriously. If someone is found guilty of making a false report out of malice, they could face legal consequences, including potential criminal charges for filing a false police report under California Penal Code Section 148.5.
- Trying to gain an advantage in child custody disputes: Child custody battles can be emotionally charged. Some individuals might believe that accusing the other parent of domestic violence will give them an edge in court. Under California Family Code Section 3044, if a court determines that a party has perpetrated domestic violence against the other party seeking custody of the child or against the child, there is a rebuttable presumption that awarding sole or joint custody to the perpetrator is detrimental to the child’s best interest. However, if the court finds that the allegations were false and made with the intent to interfere with the other parent’s lawful contact with the child, it can consider that act when determining custody.
- Seeking financial compensation or other benefits: Accusing someone of domestic violence might lead to financial gains, such as alimony or spousal support. California Family Code Section 4320 lists factors the court considers when determining spousal support. One of these factors is documented evidence of any history of domestic violence between the parties. However, if the court determines that the claim was made falsely and for financial gain, the accuser might face legal consequences, including potential charges for fraud.
- Misunderstandings or miscommunications: Sometimes, what one person perceives as a threat or harm might be a misunderstanding or miscommunication. California law defines domestic violence under Family Code Section 6203 as abuse perpetrated against a current or former spouse, cohabitant, or someone with whom the abuser has a child. “Abuse” is defined broadly and can include physical harm, threats, or disturbing someone’s peace. If a claim is based on a misunderstanding, it’s essential for both parties to communicate and possibly seek mediation or counseling. The legal system also provides mechanisms to challenge and clarify such allegations.
Consequences of Being Falsely Accused
People have such strong opinions about domestic violence, especially when it’s perpetrated against a woman by a man or against children—that they fail to consider the possibility that an accused party could be innocent.
Once accused of domestic violence, people who know you may find it difficult to believe that the accusation is false. No matter what explanations or evidence that you might offer, they may never fully trust or forgive again. The fact that some people who are charged with domestic violence continue to be treated as innocent until proven guilty shows that this concept of justice is not afforded to everyone.
Domestic-violence accusations, whether true or not, can have serious consequences for the accused.
- You could lose your job if convicted of a crime.
- Criminal convictions affect future employment prospects.
- You may not be able to see your children again because all visits are supervised by court order and only take place in prison or via video-conferencing, so physical contact is impossible during those communications.[Personal family support through letters and phone calls is also difficult].
- And you might go to jail for committing this crime.
- Your reputation could be damaged.
Penalties For False Accusation of Domestic Violence California
If you do not take action to defend yourself against domestic violence allegations in California, the charges can lead to convictions with specific penalties. The severity of these punishments depends on the type of crime for which you are found guilty.
Punishments For Domestic Battery Conviction:
Domestic battery, which is typically classified as a misdemeanor, conviction may result in up to one year in county jail, fines of up to $2,000, a permanent criminal record, and the imposition of a restraining order.
Punishments For Corporal injury To A Partner Conviction:
In California, if an individual is convicted of the misdemeanor charge of corporal injury to a partner, the potential consequences include a jail sentence of up to one year in a county facility, a fine that can reach $6,000, the establishment of a permanent criminal record, and the issuance of a restraining order. On the other hand, if one is found guilty of the felony version of this offense, the penalties intensify. The convicted individual could be sentenced to up to four years in a county jail, be required to pay a fine of up to $6,000, have a permanent criminal record, and be subjected to a restraining order. It’s worth noting that individuals with an extensive criminal history are typically subjected to more severe penalties compared to first-time offenders. The severity of these consequences often varies based on an individual’s criminal history, with repeat offenders typically facing harsher penalties.
Punishments For Criminal Threat Conviction:
In the state of California, if an individual is found guilty of a misdemeanor charge for criminal threats, the repercussions can be significant. The convicted person might serve a jail term of up to one year in a state prison, be levied a fine of as much as $1,000, acquire a permanent criminal record, and be issued a restraining order. Conversely, if the conviction is for the felony version of criminal threats, the penalties become more severe. The individual could face a sentence of up to four years in a county jail, be required to pay a fine that can go up to $10,000, have a permanent criminal record, and be subjected to a restraining order.
What To Do If Falsely Accused Of Domestic Violence?
- Understand the Legal Process
- Collect Evidence to Dispute False Allegations
- Keep your login information private
- Don’t share your login information with anyone
- Reach out to friends or family for support
- Hire An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
- Make sure that you do not violate a restraining order
- Show that you are a responsible and caring parent
- Be prepared to defend yourself
- Stay Calm, Keep focused
- Remember that you are innocent
- Avoid getting into heated arguments
- Call a Trusted Person
- Understand the Legal Process: If you are facing wrongful domestic violence charges, it is important to understand the legal process including potential consequences like jail time, probation and false restraining orders in California. You may also lose custody of your children or visitation rights with them as a result of the conviction. Understanding the legal process and potential consequences can help you develop a comprehensive defense strategy with your attorney.
- Collect Evidence to Dispute False Allegations: In many cases, the best way to prove that your partner’s accusations are false is by gathering evidence (text messages, emails) of your innocence. There are main forms in which evidence of domestic violence can appear. Witness testimony, Medical records that show no signs of abuse, Photos or videos, GPS data and Electronic communications records can all be useful in court, but only as secondary evidence. Surveillance camera footage is the perfect example of primary evidence. The moment you realize that someone is accusing you of domestic violence, start collecting evidence to prove your innocence.
- Keep your login information private: You never really know the extent to which someone with irrational or vindictive behavior will go to frame you. Your accuser could for instance access your cell phone or computer to send messages to her phone and then later file accusations against you saying you sent threatening messages. To avoid such a situation, keep your login information secret.
- Don’t share your login information with anyone: It’s hard to predict how far someone with irrational or vindictive behavior will go in an attempt to frame you. For example, an accuser might access your cell phone or computer to send herself messages—then later file accusations against you, claiming that the threatening messages were from you. To avoid this situation, put your login information in a safe place and don’t share it with anyone.
- Reach out to friends or family for support: Despite their support in other areas of your life, some friends and relatives can turn against you when they believe that you have mistreated your children or spouse. If your partner is making erratic or threatening statements about taking legal action against you, tell your family and friends at the earliest possible moment. They might not be able to help you directly but they will trust that what you say about your relationship is true if this kind of thing happens again.
- Hiring An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer: When you are accused of domestic violence but innocent, your first step should be to secure legal representation. Your attorney’s defense should be to show the court that the charges against you were motivated by revenge. Your partner or spouse could be angry with you for having an affair. If you want to show that the accuser is making a baseless charge, it’s up to you to provide evidence in your own defense.
- Make sure that you do not violate a restraining order: If you have been issued a restraining order, do not break any of its terms or conditions. The accuser may try to get you into a situation where your behavior violates the order and leads to legal action against you. Be aware that your accuser may try to set up a meeting with you, or cite your children on the premises. If this happens, record it and take note of his attempts at contact—it will prove to the court that he/she is not actually afraid of you.
- Show that you are a responsible and caring parent: False accusations of domestic violence or child abuse could lead to you losing custody. Consult a lawyer if there is any question about your parental rights.
- Be prepared to defend yourself: When questioned about a situation, do not change your story or give contradictory accounts of what happened. If you have maintained your innocence since the beginning of a legal case, continue to do so. Listen closely to what your attorney advises you about how best to present that position in court or at an administrative hearing.
- Stay Calm, Keep focused: Remain calm, no matter what happens during the court proceedings. The prosecution will try to make you lose your temper, but keep calm and the judge will be more likely to believe that you are innocent.
- Remember that you are innocent: Remember, you are not breaking the law, and your accuser is. It’s best to focus on clearing your name, instead of worrying about who might be lying. If you can prove that the charges against you are false and make it clear that someone else is responsible for them, then a perjury charge may apply to your accuser. But, how to protect yourself from false domestic violence allegations? The best way to protect yourself from domestic violence allegations is by working closely with an experienced lawyer, who will guide you through the legal process.
- Avoid getting into heated arguments: Do not argue or fight with your partner or former partner. This significantly reduces the chances of facing false accusations. Learning to resolve conflict constructively can help you avoid making an argument worse. If you feel yourself becoming angry during a disagreement, it’s always best to remove yourself from the situation before things get worse. Leaving the house and giving yourself some time to calm down is a smarter choice than getting into an argument. Even a short walk around the neighborhood can make a difference.
- Call a Trusted Person: Remember that you can always call someone you trust if the situation becomes too heated. When you call a friend or family member, they can hear what is going on in the background. In California, It is illegal to record a conversation without the consent of all parties involved. This is a good way to have someone support your side of the story, even if they’re not physically there with you. If they can hear the other person getting angry while you stay calm, they might be able to testify in your favor during the case later on.
How To Defend Against False Domestic Violence Charges
Being falsely accused of domestic violence in California can have profound consequences on an individual’s personal, professional, and social life. The following is how an experienced criminal defense attorney from Tabibnia law firm can assist in such situations:
- Sound Legal Advice: The first step in any legal battle is understanding your rights and the nuances of the law. Mr. Cyrus Tabibnia will provide legal guidance on how to navigate the legal system, what to expect, and how to prepare. This advice is based on the attorney’s knowledge of the law, past case experiences, and understanding of the local legal landscape.
- Effective Defense Strategy: Every case is unique, and thus, a tailored defense strategy is crucial. This involves gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and understanding the specifics of the accusation. Mr. Cyrus would look for inconsistencies in the accuser’s statements, gather alibis, and seek any evidence that can corroborate the client’s version of events. The goal is to build a robust defense that can withstand scrutiny in court.
- Argue on Your Behalf in Court: This is where the attorney’s expertise in litigation comes into play. Mr. Cyrus will represent the client in court, present the evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and make compelling arguments to defend their client’s innocence. An experienced attorney knows how to navigate court proceedings, address the judge and jury, and counter the prosecution’s arguments.
If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, reach out to Cyrus, a domestic violence attorney today to set up a free consultation at our Los Angeles offices and get started with your defense against false domestic abuse allegations. Call: (866) 713-2159
Below are a few common questions you might have. Tabibnia Law Firm will answer all of them:
- Can you expunge a domestic violence charge in California?
- How to win a domestic violence case in California?
- Getting gun back after restraining order California.
- What are new domestic violence laws in California?
- What kind of crimes are considered under domestic violence?
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