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What is Domestic Violence

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2022 | Firm News

It is important to determine who falls under the category of a victim or who can file a domestic violence action in California.  Also, people also want to know what is domestic violence and how it applies to my life if there is some sort of violence or “abuse” in California.  The word abuse is a key to determining domestic violence in the state of California.  A defendant who is convicted of a crime involving domestic violence will be sentenced under a number of special rules governing such crimes. These rules may apply even though the underlying crime is not a domestic violence crime, but rather arose out of a domestic relationship.

To fall under the domestic violence statute you must fall under certain parameters of the domestic violence law

Penal Code section 13700(b) defines “domestic violence” as “abuse committed against [either] an adult or a minor” who is a:

  • Spouse.
  • Former spouse.
  • Cohabitant. “Cohabitant means two unrelated adult persons living together for a substantial period of time, resulting in some permanency of relationships. Factors that may determine whether persons are cohabitating include (1) sexual relations between the parties while sharing the same living quarters, (2) sharing of income or expenses, (3) joint use or ownership of property, (4) whether the parties hold themselves out as husband and wife, (5) the continuity of the relationship, and (6) the length of the relationship.” Individuals who merely sublet in the same household are not protected under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act.
  • Former cohabitant. Evidence that for three to four months the defendant and the victim had been staying at the same location, sleeping on the floor or in the garage of a friend was sufficient to establish “cohabitating.”
  • A person with whom the suspect has had a child.
  • A person who is having or has had a dating relationship. For protection under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, a “dating relationship” exists when two people have a reciprocally amorous and increasingly exclusive interest in one another.
  • A person who is having or has had an engagement relationship.

Family Code section 6211 defines “domestic violence” to also include abuse perpetrated against:

  • A child of a party or a child who is the subject of the parentage legal proceeding.
  • Any other person related by “consanguinity or affinity within the second degree.”

To be sentenced for a domestic violence crime, the defendant must have committed a crime against a person listed in either section 13700 or Family Code section 6211.