How does California define domestic violence?
California takes domestic violence seriously and offers you protection if you become a victim of it. Under California law, however, if someone accuses you of domestic violence, you have the right to due process, meaning you can appear in court and contest the allegations.
WomensLaw.org reports that, per California law, only certain people, including the following, can commit the crime of domestic violence:
- A current or former spouse
- A person you live with or formerly lived with
- A current or former boyfriend or girlfriend
- A person with whom you had a child
- A person related to you by blood or marriage
Numerous types of violence, including the following, qualify as domestic violence:
- Causing or attempting to cause you bodily harm
- Threatening you or someone dear to you
- Sexually assaulting you
- Stalking you
- Harassing you in person or by emails, phone calls or any other method
- Destroying your personal property
Depending on the type of domestic violence and the circumstances surrounding it, you may be entitled to receive an emergency protective order, a civil harassment order or a protective order.
Keep in mind, however, that you likely will need to appear in court, at which time your alleged perpetrator will have the opportunity to present any defenses he or she has to your allegations. If he or she fails to appear at the appointed time and place, however, or if the court finds his or her defenses insufficient, it will make your temporary order permanent.
Once a court issues any type of domestic violence order, any violation of its provisions could mean a jail sentence for the violator, in addition to fines and court costs.