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Nov 19, 2020

California Domestic Violence Classes

If you are charged with domestic violence in California, you may have to pay fines, serve jail time, keep to a restraining order, lose custody and gun rights, pay your victim restitution, and have it marked down on your permanent criminal record as a misdemeanor or a felony. Having that on your record could make it difficult for you to secure housing and employment, leading to a whole range of issues you’ll have to deal with.

But that’s not all. You might also have to go to a batterer’s intervention program, also known as domestic violence classes.

If you’re now required to take these classes, it helps to learn about them before you go so that you can be as successful as possible. And if you’re facing domestic violence charges and need help fighting them, you can take control of the situation by calling Bay Area domestic violence lawyer Elliot Silver at Silver Law.

What Is Domestic Violence?

When you think of domestic violence, you might imagine one spouse hitting the other. While physical violence could certainly qualify as domestic violence, as a whole, it includes:

  • Physical abuse, like punching, kicking, shoving, slapping, or otherwise hitting
  • Emotional abuse, like repetitive criticism, name calling, and shaming
  • Psychological abuse, like trapping someone in their house, threatening to hurt yourself it they leave, and threatening to hurt others
  • Sexual abuse, like forcing yourself upon someone who does not want to engage in sexual activities with you
  • Economic abuse, like withholding money that a victim has a right to
  • Threats, like saying you’re going to hit the victim or hurt them
  • Stalking and cyberstalking, like spying on the victim online or in person, harassing them, repeatedly contacting them, or otherwise harassing them

Additionally, domestic violence doesn’t just apply to two spouses. As a whole, it means being abusive towards:

  • A spouse
  • A partner you are not married to
  • Children
  • A family member
  • Anyone else who lives in your house

Your spouse or another victim may be able to get a protective order so that you can’t contact them. Also, you could face charges and have to take the domestic violence classes.

What Are Domestic Violence Classes?

If you are charged with domestic violence in California, you’re going to be put on probation. In addition, you may have to go to weekly domestic violence classes that are two hours long and last for 52 weeks. You will need to attend classes within 18 months of the order that puts you on probation, and you can only miss three classes.

Domestic violence classes are made up of counseling and education. In these classes, you will learn about the effects of abuse on a victim, why abusive behavior occurs, and how you need to change in order to avoid becoming violent and/or abusive again. You will learn useful skills like anger management as well, so it could help you in many different areas of your life. The batterer’s intervention program will include a mix of lectures from a teacher, one-on-one counseling, and group discussions. After you complete the classes, you will get a final evaluation.

The goal is to pass these classes and then never commit domestic violence again. However, if you don’t complete your classes, then you’re in violation of your probation, and you may have to pay fines or go to jail.

Though the program is long, you should always go to classes and follow any court orders that are imposed. Otherwise, you could face harsh consequences that just aren’t worth it.

However, things happen, and maybe you had to leave your domestic violence classes. If that’s the case and you now need a domestic violence attorney in Oakland, make sure you contact Silver Law today.

Charges for Domestic Violence in California

Domestic violence can qualify as a misdemeanor or a felony in California. It is charged under California Penal Code 243(e)(1) and also called spousal assault and domestic battery. It can include the threat of harm (like assault) or the actual harm (battery). If you’re convicted of domestic violence, it means the prosecutor was able to prove that you intentionally harmed your victim, even if your victim wasn’t injured.

For example, let’s say a husband shoved his wife. While she bumped into a wall, she didn’t get any bruises. This may still count as domestic battery.

If a husband threatened to shove his wife into a wall but didn’t actually do it, that may still count as spousal assault.

If you end up getting charged with misdemeanor domestic battery, then you may have to serve up to one year in county jail, pay up to $2,000 in fines, go on informal probation for up to three years, and have to complete your batterer’s intervention program.

Along with California Penal Code 243(e)(1), Family Code in California makes it illegal to harm or threaten to harm blood relatives or relatives by marriage. If you violate Penal Code 273.5, it means you’ve committed corporal injury, which is more serious than domestic battery. It qualifies as a wobbler, which would be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the situation. You could go to jail for up to one year if you’re a first-time offender or spend up to four years in state prison if you’re a repeat offender. You might also have to pay up to $6,000 in fines, donate a certain amount to a women’s shelter, and pay restitution to your victim.

Unlike battery, corporal injury does result in an injury. This means that a wife could be guilty of committing corporal injury if she punched her husband in the face and broke his nose.

You could also be charged if you stopped your victim from calling for help by damaging a telephone line. If you’re convicted of a misdemeanor, you may have to spend up to a year in jail and pay a $1,000 fine, and if you’re convicted of a felony, you may have to spend three years in jail and pay a $10,000 fine for damaging the telephone line.

No matter what the circumstances of your case are, it’s always worth it to call a Bay Area domestic violence lawyer to see if they can assist you.

Charges for Child Abuse in California

In California, child abuse counts as a wobbler. If you are charged with a misdemeanor for child abuse, you could go to jail for up to one year. If you’re charged with a felony, you could go to state prison for up to six years.

Child abuse includes three elements. You inflicted a cruel and inhuman punishment on a child and/or injured them, the punishment and/or injury led to the child having a traumatic physical condition, and what you did was not a reasonable way to discipline your child.

For example, if you yelled at your child to get back in the house because they were playing in the street, this would probably not count as child abuse. However, if you hit your child hard for playing in the street, it could count as child abuse, especially if your child got a bruise or other injury.

Charges for Elder Abuse in California

Elder abuse may fall under a domestic violence charge as well, since it is also a wobbler in the state of California. If you are charged with misdemeanor elder abuse, you could have to go to jail for up to a year and pay a $6,000 fine, but if you are charged with a felony, you could go to state prison for two to four years and pay a fine of up to $10,000.

Elder abuse occurs when someone inflicts an elderly person with unreasonable emotional or physical pain, willful neglect, or financial exploitation. For example, if you repeatedly put down your grandmother and tell her that the outside world is scary and it’s best not to leave the house – and that caused emotional trauma – you may be charged with elder abuse.

Defenses for Domestic Violence Charges

When you call your domestic violence attorney in Oakland, they will listen to the details of your case and determine if there is any defense you could pursue.

One defense is to say that you didn’t commit domestic violence. Then, you and your lawyer would attempt to prove that you weren’t at the scene of the crime. If you have an alibi ready, then that would help. For example, you might have been out of town when your partner claims the incident occurred, and you have receipts from a hotel and witness statements from hotel employees to prove it. If the victim is lying, there may be holes in the story they told the police.

You could also say that what happened was an accident. For example, maybe you were doing some repairs around the house and you accidentally hit your spouse with a power tool when it fell out of your hand.

Self-defense is another way to possibly get out of a domestic violence charge. For instance, if your partner was charging at you and you punched them to avoid injury, you could tell that to the cops. There will be a full investigation to see if your partner suffered from defensive injuries and whether or not both of your stories match up.

You could also tell the cops or prosecutor that you did hurt your partner, but only because they were behaving in a certain way or attempting to abuse your kids. For instance, maybe your spouse was having a mental breakdown and waving knives around your children, and you had to quickly shove them against a wall to restrain them and get them to drop the knives.

Consent is another defense. For example, maybe you and your spouse practice Krav Maga together, and sometimes someone gets hurt. If you both agreed to it and knew the risk, you could get off the hook for your charges.

Of course, prosecutors need sufficient evidence that you committed domestic violence beyond a reasonable doubt. And if they can’t prove it, you could be acquitted.

Police misconduct could be used as a defense as well. For example, maybe the cop didn’t let you know you had the right to remain silent or give you a chance to call your lawyer. Perhaps the cops botched the evidence or they failed to talk to witnesses at the scene of the alleged crime.

Keep in mind that if you violate a protective order, you could have to go to jail for up to one year, pay a fine of up to $1,000, or have to do both. However, there are defenses for this too. You could say that you didn’t actually violate the order, the order was not legal, or you did not know you were violating it.

These are just a few of the defenses for domestic violence charges. By calling a domestic violence attorney in Oakland, you’ll be able to figure out the best defense for your case.

Working With Silver Law

When you contact Silver Law, be prepared to provide details about your domestic violence case, including any evidence like photographs and witness statements that could support your defense.

We have extensive experiencing helping defendants who have been charged with domestic violence. In one case, we assisted a man with two strikes who was looking at 25 years to life. Ultimately, we got the case dismissed. In another case, where a man was accused of holding his wife over a 15-story balcony, we reduced his charges to a misdemeanor, and the defendant just had to serve some time and go to domestic violence classes.

If you’re ready to work with a domestic violence attorney in Oakland, Silver Law is standing by and ready to help you. Simply give us a call at (510) 995-0000, email us at, or contact us on the form on our website.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

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