Law Office of Michael L. Fell
900 Roosevelt Irvine, CA 92620
(949) 585-9055

A Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Explains the Difference Between an Argument and an Unlawful Altercation

Although many couples fight during their marriages, not all fights are seen as domestic violence. To end a fight and stop domestic abuse, police enforcement may make an arrest when a couple was simply arguing. This is especially common when concerned neighbors or other parties contact the police to report an incident of violence.

You might be curious as to when a heated debate becomes domestic violence. Many innocent persons who have just disagreed with their partner are accused of domestic abuse. It is advisable to get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer who can represent you if you were detained and accused of domestic assault following a heated disagreement.

To help you understand the difference between an argument and domestic abuse, we'll look more closely at California's domestic violence legislation below. Then contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation.

The definition of domestic violence

Domestic violence generally refers to violent actions or threats of abuse between two persons who are in a close relationship or who are related to one another by blood or marriage. Intimate relationships are defined by California law to include the following situations:

  • Married individuals
  • Household partners
  • Either in a relationship now or in the past
  • Living together or having done so in the past
  • Co-parents who shared custody of one or more children

The following actions are also considered abuse under California law: intentional or careless bodily injury to another person or an attempt to do so, sexual assault Inciting fear by making ominous or harmful threats to a victim, stalking and harassment, and harming someone's property or disturbing their serenity.

It's crucial to keep in mind that abuse in circumstances involving domestic violence is not necessarily physical. Aggressors also maltreat their spouses verbally, emotionally, and mentally.

You need a defense counsel to defend your rights and guarantee a fair trial if you were charged with domestic violence and engaged in any of the actions listed above. Similar to how you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer to fight to have your charges reduced if you didn't engage in any of these actions.

Potential penalties for domestic violence in California

Charges for domestic violence in California may involve a number of offenses, most frequently battery, abuse, threats, and neglect. Misdemeanors and felonies both exist. However, many of these charges are "wobblers," which can be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the facts, the seriousness of the injuries, and the criminal history of the offender. In California, some particular domestic violence offences include:

  • Corporal harm to a spouse or resident is a felony punishable by one to four years in jail for a first offense (CA Penal Code 273.5).
  • Domestic battery is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $2000 fine and/or up to a year in county prison (CA Penal Code 243(e)(1)).
  • Child abuse is a crime punishable by up to one year in county jail or three years in state prison (CA Penal Code 273d).
  • Elder abuse (CA Penal Code 368) is a wobbler that, depending on whether it is tried as a misdemeanor or felony, carries a sentence of up to one year in jail or four years in prison.

Domestic violence is defined by law as an argument that involves or results in any of the aforementioned offences. Stalking, sabotaging a phone line, revenge porn, aggravated trespassing, and publishing harmful material online are among other domestic violence offenses. Contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 now if you have been accused and require a free legal consultation.