Domestic Violence Against Family Members

Domestic Violence Against Family Members

Many people mistakenly believe that domestic violence offenses are limited to crimes committed against husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends and other people with whom the defendant had a romantic relationship. However, under California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC, which sets forth specific sentencing requirements for domestic violence offenses, these crimes also include offenses in which the victim is a parent, child, brother, sister or other close family member. Courts may treat these offenses differently, however they can still be considered domestic violence and may be subject to certain mandatory requirements of probation for those who are convicted.

Common Domestic Violence Offenses Against Family Members

The two most common domestic violence charges, corporal injury to a spouse in violation of California Penal Code Section 273.5 PC and spousal battery under California Penal Code Section 243(e) PC, both involve current and former spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends and do not apply to family domestic violence.

When dealing with offenses committed against elderly parents, defendants can be charged with elder abuse in violation of California Penal Code Section 368 PC, specifically when physical abuse is involved. When the victim is a minor child of the defendant, he or she can be charged with child abuse in violation of California Penal Code Section 273d PC or child endangerment pursuant to California Penal Code Section 273a PC. For charges of physical violence against a close family member who is a not a current or former spouse, the defendant can be charged with simple battery under California Penal Code Section 242 PC but would be subject to the mandatory domestic violence sentencing provisions set forth in California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC.

Sentencing for Family Domestic Violence Cases

As long as the named victim is one of the parties listed in California Family Code Section 6211, which includes family members, the defendant would be subject to the requirements set forth in California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC if he or she is convicted and placed on probation. These requirements include a probation period of at least three years, a protective order prohibiting the defendant from having contact with the named victim, mandatory attendance of a batterers’ counselling program, community service and fines. When the victim is a family member, the court may opt to have the defendant attend parenting classes or other forms of counselling in lieu of a batterers’ program. In addition, the Court may be willing to issue a “Level One” protective order that would allow peaceful contact between the parties.

Problems in Prosecuting Family Domestic Violence Cases

Prosecutors may have a difficult time prosecuting domestic violence cases that involve family members. Families may reconcile and may not be willing to participate in prosecutions against each other. The prosecutor may be willing to offer a reduced charged in order to resolve the case, such as disturbing the peace under California Penal Code Section 415 PC. Even with reduced charges, the defendant may still be subject to the mandatory sentencing provisions as set forth in California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC.

If you or a loved one have been arrested for or charged with domestic violence involving a family member, it is crucial that you meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to go over your case. Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands the sensitive nature of these types of cases and who works hard to ensure his clients receive the most comprehensive defense possible. In many cases, Mr. Kraut’s early involvement in a case has resulted in charges being dismissed or significantly reduced.

For more information about domestic violence against family members, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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