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What qualifies as domestic violence?

Facing domestic violence charges can be an understandably worrying experience, and defendants can find themselves being accused of domestic violence without any physical contact having taken place. There are many myths and misunderstanding about what qualifies as domestic violence in the state of California, but knowing this information can help defendants be better prepared for their court proceedings.

According to the California Courts, domestic violence abuses includes acts of physical violence — whether intentional or as part of an out-of-control situation — sexual violence and threatening and stalking behaviors. It is important to note that physical violence includes much more than hitting the other party. Actions such as pushing or shoving someone, throwing objects or forcibly detaining the person are included under physical violence.

Threatening and stalking behaviors are one of the lesser known forms of domestic violence. Examples of these behaviors include telling the other person you are going to hurt them, a family member or even a pet, causing property damage or excessive and intimidating communication after being told to stop.

A domestic violence conviction is extremely serious, and being charged with domestic violence can show up on a background check years later, even if you were found not guilty or the case was dropped. Domestic violence accusations can also affect any child custody proceedings and can damage your reputation in the community quickly. Understanding the possible defense options for these cases and what the best and worst case outcomes are can help defendants make informed decisions about their cases and minimize the impact the charges may have on their lives in the future.

Source: California Courts, "Domestic Violence" accessed Feb. 06, 2015

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