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San Jose domestic violence defense attorneyIn some divorce cases, the hostility between the spouses can become extreme and lead to domestic violence protective orders against one or both partners. In California, these protections (also referred to as restraining orders) are court orders that protect a person from being physically or sexually abused, stalked, harassed, or threatened.

Under California law, restraining orders can be requested for various reasons. Unfortunately, not all of them are legitimate. For example, a person may falsely accuse his or her spouse of domestic abuse out of anger or revenge. In other situations, a parent may want to prevent the other parent from seeing their children for personal reasons rather than safety-related concerns. However, it is possible for a protective order to be amended or dismissed entirely if the court finds it invalid or inappropriate. 

Who Is Entitled to Orders of Protection?

The relationships that are eligible for domestic violence restraining orders include:

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San Jose domestic abuse defense attorneyAlmost everyone “goes online” these days for one reason or another. Sometimes it is to research a topic, or simply to peruse a friend’s or family member’s photos on social media sites. However, sometimes crimes can be committed over the Internet via electronic devices such as mobile phones or computers. Whether these crimes are intentional or unintentional, the consequences can be serious. Domestic violence is not limited to just crimes involving physical violence or assault; it includes a wide range of criminal acts. In California, several statutes address domestic violence crimes that are committed electronically. 

California Stalking Laws

Stalking, in its simplest form, is repeatedly following, harassing, and/or threatening another person with the intent to cause the other person to fear for his or her own safety. California stalking laws are considered some of the harshest and most inclusive in the country.

In recent years, the state’s stalking law has been broadened to include “cyberstalking.” When threats or harassment occur via the Internet, text messages, email, or any social media site, the defendant can be charged under the California Penal Code. A few examples of actions or behavior that can lead to stalking charges in California include:

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San Jose domestic violence defense attorneyAn allegation of domestic violence should be taken very seriously. Domestic violence can consist of stalking, threatening, abandoning, damaging the property of or inflicting some kind of physical injury on another person. This type of charge can result in significant criminal penalties, plus it characterizes a person as an abuser, which can stay with him or her forever regardless if the accusations are false.

Even if a person is not convicted, just being accused of domestic violence can negatively impact someone’s personal as well as his or her professional life. If you live and work in California and are facing domestic violence charges, it is imperative you understand the consequences associated with this crime so you do not lose your job or professional license and therefore your livelihood.  

Professional Licensing

Mere allegations of domestic abuse can have significant consequences on someone’s career and professional license depending on the occupation. Some occupations that typically require professional licensing include:

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San Jose criminal defense attorneyIn the state of California, it is a crime to harm, or threaten to harm, an intimate partner, such as a current or former spouse; current or former cohabitant in a residence; a parent with whom the person has a child; or a partner in a romantic relationship. Common crimes of domestic violence include domestic battery and inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner. This type of conviction can have a devastating impact on the rest of the accused person’s life, as well as penalties and jail time. However, innocent people can also be falsely accused of domestic violence. It is important to understand your rights according to California law in the event you are accused of such crimes.

Types of Domestic Violence

Under California Penal Code, domestic battery is defined as “willful and unlawful use of force or violence against the person of another.” Domestic violence also occurs when an individual's intentional acts lead to a “corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition” suffered by a person with whom the individual has a close relationship. In order to prove the accused is guilty of domestic violence as a misdemeanor according to California law, the state must prove the accused deliberately touched his or her partner in a harmful or offensive manner, the victim is the current or former roommate, or current or ex-spouse of the defendant, and the defendant had no right to self-defense, or defense of others, during the offensive or hurtful act to the victim.

Penalties for Domestic Violence

A conviction for domestic battery can lead to a fine of up to $2,000, up to one year in jail, or both. However, the state can also sentence the accused to probation and mandatory enrollment in counseling services. Depending on the degree of harm suffered by the victim of domestic violence, a battery conviction can also result in imprisonment of up to one year in jail or two to four years in a state prison plus a restraining order.

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Palo Alto restraining order defense attorney child custodyIf you have been accused or convicted of domestic abuse, what happens when it comes time to determine custody of your children? In California, criminal law and family law are considered separate matters. However, accusations of domestic violence or abuse can affect your parental rights. When facing allegations of abuse, an attorney can address your concerns about child custody and help you determine how to defend against these accusations.

The Potential Impact of Abuse Charges

In California, alleged victims may seek legal protection against their accused abusers. If a person obtains a restraining order, it may make a variety of requirements that an alleged abuser must follow. These requirements may include: 

  • No-contact -- The alleged abuser may not make contact with his or her alleged victim, either physically or through calls, texts, emails, or any other means.
  • Provisional contact -- This option is sometimes used in cases involving custody, so that the alleged abuser may communicate with the victim about the children only.
  • Stay-away provision -- The alleged abuser must stay a certain distance away from the alleged victim.
  • Move-out provision -- The alleged abuser must move out of the home that he or she has lived in with the alleged victim.
  • Firearms provision -- The alleged abuser must give up any firearms and may not purchase any additional weapons.
  • Counseling provision -- The alleged abuser must attend counseling with a psychologist, social worker, or drug or alcohol abuse program.
  • Provision regarding payment of expenses -- The alleged abuser must pay bills related to the alleged abuse, such as moving expenses, medical costs, loss of earnings, etc.

Restraining orders may also extend to the alleged victim’s family members. However, even when accused of abuse, a parent will typically be allowed to have regular access to his or her child unless it is proven that the child has been abused or endangered through the abuse. In some cases, a parent accused of abuse may be required to have supervision present when spending time with their child until it can be demonstrated that the child is not in danger of harm when in their care.

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