Domestic Violence In California: The Basics

There are several types of domestic violence that continue to plague American society. Domestic violence is not only defined as violent action within a married couple, but it can refer to any violence perpetrated by a member of a household or person with whom one has an intimate relationship.

According to the California State Courts, domestic violence can include behavior such as:

  • Physically hurting or trying to hurt someone (intentionally or recklessly);
  • Sexual assault;
  • Scaring someone to the point that he or she believes he or she is about to be seriously injured; or
  • Stalking-like behavior includes threatening, harassment, hitting, disturbing someone’s peace, or destroying property.

The violence does not need to be perpetrated by someone with whom you are still living, either. An abuser can be considered someone with whom you had an intimate relationship in the past if he or she continues to engage in abusive behavior even after he or she moves out. Neither does abuse have to be physical in nature for it to be considered domestic abuse and against the law. In California, domestic abuse can be verbal, emotional, or psychological in nature as well. In this case, according to the State Court, an abuser will often use a variety of tactics to maintain control over his victim. Examples of this include degrading comments or forceful exclusion from family activities.

In order to qualify for a court-sanctioned restraining order against domestic violence, a person must prove the person has been abusive and must prove they are currently engaged in an intimate relationship with that person. In this case, an intimate relationship includes:

  • Married or registered domestic partners;
  • Divorced or separated partners;
  • People who are dating or used to date;
  • Partners living together or formerly lived together (this can include platonic roommates);
  • Parents together of a shared child; or
  • A close relation, such as a parent, brother, grandparent, or child.

If you or someone you know has been accused of domestic violence, the most important first step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced Santa Clara County criminal defense attorney today at (408) 898-9770.

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