domestic assault

What is Domestic Assault?

Domestic assault under California law is an act of violence against someone with whom you are in a relationship with or any family member that you have a relationship with. This could be a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend (past or present), fiance, child, any family member, and/or cohabitants. This is a very serious crime since many victims are afraid to report it and it can become ongoing abuse.

Penalties for Domestic Assault

Domestic assault is a wobbler, meaning it can be tried as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. If charged as a misdemeanor the penalties include:

  • Up to a year in a county jail and
  • A maximum fine of up to $6,000.

If charged as a felony the punishments include:

  • Two, three, or four years in a state prison and
  • A maximum fine of up to $6,000.

The punishments increase with a longer sentence if a weapon was used to inflict injury or if you inflicted severe bodily injury upon the victim.

Legal Defenses for Domestic Assault

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help fight the charges of domestic assault. Some of the defenses for this crime include:

You acted in self-defense or in defense of someone else.

This legal defense applies if all of the following are true:

  • You reasonably believed that you or someone else was in immediate danger of suffering bodily injury or being touched unlawfully.
  • You reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against that danger.
  • You used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.

You did not act willfully or with the required intent.

If your actions were accidental or they were misinterpreted by the supposed victim, then you are not guilty of domestic assault. An experienced attorney is needed to make sure that the prosecutor and jury get the full story.

You were wrongfully accused.

This is very common for spouses who are unhappy in their relationship. It is very easy to be falsely accused by someone who is angry, jealous, or wants revenge. It’s important to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer in situations like these.

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