Facing a Domestic Violence Charge in California

Domestic violence charges are incredibly serious in California. Those convicted of domestic violence face serious jail time, a permanent criminal record, and expensive fines. Additionally, your family member can issue a restraining order against you that prevents you from entering your home, being near your spouse, or significant other, or seeing your child. Domestic violence charges come with social stigmas.

Have You Been Wrongfully Accused of Domestic Violence?

Many times, innocent individuals face domestic violence charges. Due to the nature of the offense, it can be difficult for law enforcement officers to determine who the primary aggressor is in some domestic violence situations. If you are facing domestic violence charges in Irvine and Orange County, California, the Law Offices of Lisa A. Kopelman can help. With over 30 years of experience defending criminal charges, Lisa A. Kopelman and her team offer clients effective and thorough representation. Contact our law firm today to learn how our firm can help you fight for your rights.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence in California?

Under California law, domestic violence refers to a set of criminal laws, rather than one singular crime. The following statues criminalize domestic violence in California:

  • Infliction of corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant – PC 273.5
  • Domestic battery – PC 243(e)(1)
  • Child abuse – PC 273d
  • Criminal threats – PC 422 (when the target is one of the specified victims below)
  • Assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to inflict great bodily injury – PC 245(a)(1) (when the target is one of the specified victims below)
  • Any assault or battery when the target is one of the victims specified below.
  • Elder abuse may also be treated as domestic violence depending on the relationship


Per California law, a defendant cannot inflict a “corporal injury” resulting in a “traumatic condition” upon the following victims:

  • A former or current spouse or significant other
  • A former or current cohabitant
  • The father or mother of the defendant’s child

A traumatic condition is “a wound or other bodily injury, whether minor or serious, caused by the direct application of physical force.” A defendant may face charges for domestic violence if his or her act inflicts any visible injury on a protected person. Visible injuries include bruising, swelling, broken bones, cuts, marks, or any other visible bodily injury.

Who Is Protected by California’s Domestic Violence Laws?

Domestic violence refers to violence committed against a person with whom the defendant had a close personal or familial relationship. The following people are protected by California’s domestic violence laws:

  • A former or current spouse
  • Current and former significant others
  • A person to whom the defendant is or was engaged
  • Family members
  • People who cohabitated with the defendant
  • Individuals in a dating relationship or past dating relationship

Domestic Violence Defenses

At Kopelman Law Offices, we’ve represented many clients in domestic violence cases. We know that innocent people are routinely charged with domestic violence. After evaluating each client’s case, we help them develop a defense strategy. Sometimes, that strategy is to claim that the defendant did not abuse his or her family member. Alternatively, defendants may contend that their spouse or partner is lying about domestic violence. Other defenses include self-defense and contending that the injury occurred due to an accident.

Facing a California domestic violence charge can be daunting. If you need skilled legal representation to help you defend yourself against a domestic violence charge, we can help. Contact the domestic violence defense attorneys at Kopelman Law Offices today to schedule your initial consultation.

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