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What should you know about domestic violence charges in California?


Domestic violence is any physical, emotional or verbal abuse that a suspect inflicts upon someone with whom they have a close relationship.

In California, the state’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA), describes some of the many penalties that the perpetrator of such acts may face for their offenses.

What does California’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act classify as domestic violence?

The law describes what state lawmakers classify as domestic violence. That list includes the destruction of someone else’s personal property, making written threats or threatening phone calls, committing a sexual or physical assault or disturbing the peace. State lawmakers may classify stalking, molestation, battery and harassment as domestic violence, especially if a victim’s close contact commits such an act.

What rights do victims have in domestic violence cases?

The court may take any abuse, whether it falls into the categories above or not, and use it to justify the issuance of a Civil Harassment Order against the alleged perpetrator of such acts.

Your alleged victim may be able to petition a judge for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order if they can prove that someone subjected their child to domestic violence. Your alleged victim must be able to show proof that you two are ex-spouses, formerly dated, are co-parents or have some other familiar, residential or blood relation to petition a California judge for a restraining order, though.

California law allows minors 12 and older to apply for restraining orders themselves without first getting their parent or guardian’s consent.

How long do California protection or restraining orders last once instituted?

Emergency protection orders last seven calendar days or less. Temporary (or ex parte) restraining orders only remain in effect for 15 days. California judges generally only issue restraining orders after holding court hearings. The court may set its expiration date for five years out once depending on the evidence presented to them during that hearing.

There’s more to domestic violence than restraining orders

A restraining order can affect your ability to spend time with your child, return to your residence, interact with other family members and your job prospects. They may also result in you facing criminal charges. If you’re facing a domestic violence charge, speak with an experienced advocate as soon as possible.

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