California Domestic Violence Laws 2024- All You Need to Know

Gibbons & Gibbons a law Corporations

Thousands of people are impacted by the reality of domestic violence in California each year. When you have been accused of domestic violence against your children, partner, or other loved ones, it can feel like a dire situation, regardless of whether or not you committed the violent acts. You may feel alone and be afraid that a conviction will ruin your life.

Gibbons & Gibbons are experienced domestic violence defense attorneys in Los Angeles, CA, who can assist you throughout your case. If you committed the violence you are accused of, our team can help you receive a lesser sentence. In the event that you have been falsely accused, the experienced domestic violence attorneys at Gibbons & Gibbons can help prove your innocence.

Domestic Violence Laws in California

In the state of California, domestic violence can be defined in many different ways. The various penal codes that contain domestic violence laws outline different types of domestic violence, including child abuse, domestic battery, child neglect, criminal threats, and revenge porn. If you are charged with domestic violence, it can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specifics of the case.

Who Do Domestic Violence Laws Apply to?

Domestic violence can happen to anyone and negatively affects millions of individuals and families. Many people associate domestic violence with spouses and romantic partners, but there are many other circumstances that could be considered domestic violence. The state of California classifies domestic violence as any harm or threat to a protected person. This can include: 

  • Co-habitants
  • Spouses
  • Children
  • Co-parent
  • Dating or intimate partners
  • Parents
  • Relatives

If you are accused of or charged with domestic violence against any of these parties, it is essential that you have an experienced, dedicated defense attorney on your side. They have a deep understanding of the law, so they will be able to identify holes in the prosecution’s argument, provide evidence of your innocence if necessary, and fight for a better potential outcome.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

In many domestic violence cases, the main goal is to protect the victims from further harm. This is often accomplished through a domestic violence restraining order that will be filed against the accused perpetrator. These orders can bar you from contacting the person who filed, force you to move out of a shared home or make you lose access to weapons such as firearms.

If you are served with papers detailing a domestic violence restraining order against you, it is important that you read the document fully to understand what type of order it is. If you do not abide by the order, then you could be arrested and charged with additional crimes. You will also have to appear in court, where the judge will determine whether or not the restraining order should be extended. An accomplished domestic violence defense lawyer from Gibbons & Gibbons can help you understand and respond to the restraining order properly.

Penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions

There are many different actions that can be classified as domestic violence, from intentional harm against an intimate partner to physical or emotional abuse of an elderly family member. The charges can be relatively minor, such as a misdemeanor for child neglect, or more severe, including felony criminal threats. The penalties for a domestic violence conviction can also vary.

If you are found guilty of felony aggravated trespass, for example, you may be sentenced to as much as three years in jail. Misdemeanor convictions for actions like stalking can carry a penalty of up to one year in jail. An experienced domestic violence defense attorney can help you understand your charges, craft your argument, and provide you with a tenacious defense in court.


Q: What Is the Law on Domestic Violence in California?

A: Abuse or violence between partners or loved ones is taken very seriously in California, and there are several laws in place that define it and determine how it will be addressed. California penal codes define domestic violence as things like child endangerment, corporal injury, domestic battery, stalking, and elder abuse. Charges for any type of domestic violence can either be a misdemeanor or a felony and could result in fines of thousands of dollars or time spent in jail.

Q: What Happens in a Domestic Violence Case in California?

A: Domestic violence cases in California can be handled in several ways, depending on the specifics. If the police are called for a domestic disturbance, then they will make a crime report, remove any weapons from the home, and arrest the accused if there are any injuries visible on the other party. If charges of domestic violence are filed, then you will have to complete the entire legal process to conclude the case. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you craft a strong defense and navigate your case.

Q: What Is the Maximum Jail Time for Domestic Violence in California?

A: The severity of a domestic violence sentence will depend on how severe the act was, whether you were charged with a misdemeanor or felony, and if you have a history of domestic violence charges. For a misdemeanor conviction of spousal battery, you could face a maximum of one year in county jail. Felony convictions for domestic violence, such as assault, could face up to five years in state prison.

Q: Can a Domestic Violence Case be Dismissed in California?

A: It is very difficult for domestic violence charges to get dismissed in California courts once you have been arrested, appeared in court, and your charges have been filed. In order for a domestic violence case to be dismissed, your defense attorney will have to prove that the prosecution will be unable to win their case. That is very difficult to accomplish, so in many cases, it is better to avoid having charges filed at all because of lack of evidence, no injuries, or both parties involved in the altercation.

Trust Gibbons & Gibbons for Your Domestic Violence Defense

Domestic violence charges are very serious and can have a significant impact on your life. You may have to pay serious fines, be sentenced to time in prison, and have your personal reputation and relationships harmed. Whether you committed the violence that you are accused of or need help to prove you are innocent, you deserve an aggressive defense. With over sixty years of combined experience, the team at Gibbons & Gibbons can work with you to create a solid defense and walk you through the entire case. Contact us today for your domestic violence defense.