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Is Domestic Violence a Felony in San Jose, CA?

Domestic violence (DV) represents a serious legal issue that manifests in various forms of abuse within intimate relationships or households. For those living in San Jose, California, who are facing accusations of domestic violence, it’s essential to understand the specific charges you may be confronting. 

Domestic violence can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on several factors. Understanding these distinctions and what exactly domestic violence is can greatly impact your defense strategy and, ultimately, your future.

Definition of Domestic Violence in California

In California, domestic violence is defined as abuse perpetrated against an intimate partner. An act qualifies as “abuse” when you intentionally or recklessly use, or threaten the use of, physical force against that person. 

Who Is an Intimate Partner?

The term intimate partner extends beyond just a current spouse; it encompasses various types of relationships where there may be a romantic connection. 

This generally includes a current or former spouse, registered domestic partner, or fiancé, a person you lived with in a romantic context, a person you have a child with, or someone you are dating or were dating in the past.

Domestic Violence Can Be a Misdemeanor or a Felony – Examples of Charges

In California, domestic violence can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specific charge and the circumstances. Two of the most common DV charges in California include: 

Corporal Injury to a Spouse

In California, it’s illegal to inflict corporal injury resulting in even a slight physical injury to an intimate partner. To be guilty of this charge, the actions causing injury to a partner must be deliberate. However, it’s not necessary that the defendant intended the resulting harm.

A traumatic condition must also be present, meaning there is an actual physical injury caused by force, such as something as minor as a small bruise or something as serious as broken bones.

Corporal Injury Can be a Misdemeanor or a Felony

This offense is considered a “wobbler,” meaning that the prosecutor has the discretion to charge it either as a misdemeanor or felony. The decision hinges largely on the gravity of actual harm inflicted and aggravating factors, like criminal history relating specifically to domestic violence.

For misdemeanors, consequences are less severe but not light by any standard, including up to one year in county jail, fines reaching $6,000, and misdemeanor probation.

If charged as a felony, the defendant is looking at significant penalties, including up to four years in state prison, $6,000 in fines, and felony probation. In cases where there is a history of domestic violence convictions, repeat offenders will be charged with a felony and face up to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

Domestic Battery

Domestic battery is a charge that centers on harmful or offensive physical contact with an intimate partner. The touch must be intentional, but intent to harm isn’t required.

To establish guilt for domestic battery, there’s no need for physical injuries to be evident. Just the mere act of touching someone against their will in an aggressive or disrespectful manner is sufficient, even if it leaves no mark. The prosecutor must also establish that the defendant and victim were in an intimate relationship.

Domestic Battery Is a Misdemeanor

If you’re facing a domestic battery charge, it’s treated as a misdemeanor. Punishment could include jail time of up to one year and fines of up to $2,000.

A judge also has the discretion to grant probation instead of mandating jail time. As a part of misdemeanor probation, defendants must complete a batterer’s intervention program or other forms of counseling deemed appropriate by the court.

Additionally, the judge will issue some form of protective order to prevent harassment and threats to the victim. 

Schedule a Free Case Review With a Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you know is facing a domestic violence charge in California, understanding the gravity and potential consequences of these charges is crucial. Reach out to Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, to schedule a free consultation with a domestic violence lawyer.

Contact our Domestic Violence Law Firm of Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys Today For Help

For more information, please contact our Criminal Defense law firm of Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI, and Criminal Defense Attorneys at the nearest location for a free consultation.

Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys – San Jose Office
1625 The Alameda, Suite 405San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 217-8818

Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys – Redwood City Office
600 Allerton St Suite 201G, Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 299-0500

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