Domestic Violence occurs when acts of physical harm are inflicted by one family member on another member of the same household.
A domestic violence charge (California Penal Code Section 273.5) requires the infliction of corporal injury to the other spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or family member. This offense is a wobbler and can be charged as a Felony or Misdemeanor. The charging depends on the physical injury and alleged abuse. Lesser-included offenses include Penal Code Section 243(E) (battery on a domestic spouse or co-habitant) and Penal Code Section 415(1) (disturbing the peace - fighting in public). California Penal Code 243(E). This code section requires unlawful touching of a spouse/co-habitant or family member without the specific requirement of an actual injury. Most individuals charged with domestic violence (California Penal Code Section 273.5) will be charged with both of these code sections alternatively. This is so that the prosecutor can wait for evidence (i.e., pictures, medical records) to see if they can prove the case or need to amend the charges. There are a multitude of consequences for these violations including but not limited to; jail time, fines, community service, anger management classes, domestic violence shelter fees, domestic violence counseling, as well as parenting classes. Furthermore, a conviction for domestic violence and/or a finding of domestic violence in the family court, can result in termination or suspension of child custody/visitation for that parent.
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