Many of our clients ask what the difference is between general crimes and domestic violence crimes. For example, why a case will be an assault, and why it in certain situations it will be a domestic violence charge. The courts take domestic violence charges very seriously because the injury or harm is coming from a person that they believe is someone they are close to, they trust, and in certain situations are vulnerable and intimate with.
When a corporal injury is caused against a person and it is deemed as domestic violence, it will be charged under California Penal Code §273.5. Under the relevant code section, there is a list of certain relationships that will determine whether a charge will be filed under domestic violence or otherwise.
The first is that the person being charged and the person injured are married. If your husband, or your wife is the one that causes injury, then it will be domestic violence. It can also be a former spouse, someone from whom you are currently separated, or who you have been divorced from.
It could also be a cohabitant. A cohabitant will be defined as someone who the person being charged lives with. This could be a family member, roommate, or even a friend who is living with the person. Also included under domestic violence will be a former cohabitant. Someone who the person being charged has lived with.
Also included in the domestic violence category is the mother or father of the child of the person being charged.
For example, if a person is being charged for domestic violence against his ex girlfriend, she must either have a child with the person, or she must have at one point lived with the person being charged. If she was not a former spouse, or did not live with the person, or does not have a child with him, then she cannot be considered someone who qualifies for a domestic violence charge.
The statute is very specific as to what qualifies for domestic violence. The relationship the person being charged has with the person injured is crucial to a domestic violence charge. The potential range of consequences are harsher when the injury could potentially be from someone the person injured has a close, intimate relationship with. It is injury in a situation where there should be ultimate trust and protection.
An experienced Los Angeles Domestic Violence lawyer has dealt with thousands of cases concerning this very significant relationship. They can prepare powerful arguments that may reduce the domestic violence charge to that of an ordinary assault, battery or the like.