Domestic Violence: Penalties

A domestic violence charge can be overwhelming and confusing. California takes domestic violence seriously, which is why the consequences for a domestic violence conviction are so severe.

As of 2016, there have been over 8,000 domestic violence convictions in California. If you are facing a domestic violence charge, what are the possible penalties you could be looking at?


The consequences for domestic violence, or willful infliction of injury to your spouse which resulted in traumatic condition, include:

  • Misdemeanor domestic violence: This type of charge is also referred to as “domestic battery” and means that you are charged with attempting to harm your spouse or threatening them with a deadly weapon. You can face jail time of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,000
  • Felony domestic violence: Harming or seriously injuring your spouse. You may face jail time of up to four years and a fine of up to $6,000


A defense attorney may be able to help you avoid a conviction or jail time. There are a few defenses that an individual charged with domestic violence can use, including:

  • You were falsely accused: This means that your spouse or another individual accuses you of domestic violence when none actually occurred
  • Self-defense: If you can prove that your actions were made in self-defense, you may have a successful defense.

Domestic violence cases are serious, which is why it is important to have good legal aid on your side. Knowing the consequences and defenses to domestic violence cases can help you prepare yourself.

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