California law makes it a crime to willfully inflict bodily injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon certain family members or close acquaintances, such as spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, former spouses, former dating partners or someone you have a child in common with. Family members, roommates and cohabitants are also part of the category of potential victims. This crime is informally known as domestic violence or abuse.

The relevant California penal code section defines a traumatic condition as an external wound or internal injury — whether of a minor or serious nature — that is caused by physical force. This includes harm caused by strangulation or suffocation. A conviction under this section carries potential penalties of imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of up to $10,000.

A common defense to these domestic violence charges is that the defendant was acting in self-defense. To successfully assert this defense, the accused party must show that they reasonably believed that they were in imminent danger of being harmed and that the use of force was necessary to protect against that harm.

Another potential defense is to discredit the victim’s account of the acts of violence alleged. If there is any evidence that casts doubt on the victim's credibility, it may create reasonable doubt in the mind of a judge or jury.

Finally, some defendants may claim that the alleged victim provoked or otherwise contributed to the violence, or that it wasn’t the defendant’s intention to cause a physical injury or a traumatic condition. With these types of defenses, it may be possible to obtain a reduced sentence if it can be shown that the victim played a role in provoking the defendant or that the victim was the initial aggressor.

If you are facing domestic violence charges in California, having a criminal defense attorney who knows how to challenge the prosecution’s evidence is crucial. A conviction for domestic violence can result in jail time and a loss of child custody rights. In addition, a domestic violence conviction can make it difficult to obtain employment and housing and may have military or immigration complications for certain individuals.

Strategic Law Command, located in Roseville, CA, handles a wide range of criminal defense matters, including ones involving allegations of domestic abuse. To schedule a consultation, call 916-787-1234 or contact us online today.