Domestic violence is a complex problem, one that reaches many different families, traditional and non-traditional. The common depiction of domestic violence is a husband abusing his wife, however, today domestic violence can affect unmarried couples and others in a variety of different domestic situations. California law recognizes that domestic violence affects many different relationships and so adheres to a broad definition of "domestic" when it comes to laws, rights, and protections. Under California law, domestic violence is violence or abuse directed at someone you have or have had an intimate or close relationship with in a domestic situation. This can include a spouse or former spouse, someone whom you've dated or are dating, someone whom you have been engaged to or are engaged to, someone you live with or someone you used to live with, the parent of your child, a child you have in common with the other person, or anyone closely related to you through blood or marriage.
If your situation does not adhere to these specifications, it may not be considered domestic violence. It could, however, be considered battery or assault. This is an important distinction to make because domestic violence cases are handled a little differently than traditional assault or battery cases are. Domestic violence cases are taken very seriously so as to minimize the risk of potential harm to the victim. Not all instances of domestic violence will result in a criminal charge. Sometimes a domestic violence restraining order may be issued to protect the victim but charges may or may not be pressed. Under a domestic violence restraining order, you can be ordered to do certain things in conjunction with the order to stay away from and not contact the protected person. For example, a domestic violence restraining order can grant the protected person temporary custody of any children you have in common with that person or require that any visitations you do have with your child are supervised. It can also give them control of any family pets and prevent you from coming near or harming them. A domestic violence restraining order can also have financial repercussions. For example, it can order you to pay child support to the victim and require you pay the attorney's fees of the protected person who requested the order. You may also be ordered to pay for the costs of counseling, medical care, and any lost earnings incurred as a result of your actions. An order can also grant the protected person temporary control of any jointly held assets such as a car and order you to pay the bills associated with them. A domestic violence restraining order can also require you to relinquish your firearms, complete a batterer's treatment program, and can order you to leave your house. Domestic violence victims are eligible for certain protections and relief that regular battery or assault victims are not. For example, victims of domestic violence can get free legal help to file a restraining order and may be eligible to reside in dedicated domestic violence shelters. Even if no criminal charges are pressed, if you disobey any part of the domestic violence restraining order, you can be criminal charged and face jail time and fines for each violation of the order.
No matter your domestic situation, if you are facing domestic violence charges, you should speak with a California criminal defense attorney with experience handling domestic violence cases right away. Domestic violence charges are very serious and can set in motion a cascade of negative consequences that can affect your life in many ways. A good attorney knows that not all domestic violence allegations are true and he or she will know how to build a strong defense in your favor. With domestic violence charges, your character will also be on trial. Having a qualified attorney represent you and speak on your behalf can go a long way toward building your credibility and defending your rights in court.
Are you or a loved one facing domestic violence charges and have some questions? Criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens knows domestic violence defense and will fight for your rights. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Mr. Martens has handled thousands of cases and has taken over 50 to trial. Attorney Christopher Martens will not be afraid to take your case all the way to trial to defend your rights. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert DUI defense counsel. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.