Domestic Violence and Family Code Section 6211
People often want to know under what circumstances does a regular criminal offense become a crime of domestic violence. This is an important distinction, as defendants who are convicted of domestic violence offenses and placed on probation are required by California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC to complete several terms of conditions of probation that are not required for other defendants. Generally, a crime is considered to be a domestic violence offense when the victim is one of the individuals included in California Family Code Section 6211 FC.Who Does Family Code Section 6211 Include?
California Family Code Section 6211 FC specifically lists who can be granted a domestic violence restraining order in family court. However, California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC, which sets guidelines for domestic violence sentencing, specifically states that its requirements apply when the victim is any of the parties listed in California Family Code Section 6211 FC. This includes current and former spouses, current or former cohabitants, a person with whom the defendant has a current or former dating or engagement relationship, a person with whom the defendant has a child, a child of the defendant, any blood relative or anyone related by marriage to the second degree. That would include a spouse, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepson, stepdaughter, stepmother, stepfather, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, spouse’s grandparent, spouse’s grandchild, grandchild’s spouse or spouse of a grandparent.
Whenever one of these parties, as related to the defendant, is a victim in a criminal case, the requirements of California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC would apply and the case would be considered a crime of domestic violence. This is the case even where there are no allegations of violence or physical abuse. If the victim is one of the parties included in California Family Code Section 6211 FC, the Court would treat the offense as a crime of domestic violence even in cases such as disturbing the peace in violation of California Penal Code Section 415 PC or vandalism pursuant to California Penal Code Section 594 PC.What Happens When the Victim Falls Under Family Code Section 6211?
When the victim in a criminal offense is one of the parties included in California Family Code Section 6211, the crime will be treated as a domestic violence offense for the purposes of sentencing. If placed on probation, the probation term would have to be at least three years long. The defendant would be required to complete a 52-week batterers’ prevention class as a condition of probation, complete community service and pay a court fine. The Court may allow the defendant to complete the batterers counselling through a private counsellor or may allow the defendant to substitute a parenting class when the victim is a child for convictions of child abuse under California Penal Code Section 273d PC or child endangerment in violation of California Penal Code Section 273a PC.Availability of a Restraining Order
A victim who falls under California Family Code Section 6211 FC can petition the Family Court for a domestic violence restraining order. In addition, the criminal court may also issue a protective order while the criminal case is pending or as a mandatory condition of probation. The restraining order can be a “Level One” order that allows peaceful contact between the parties.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for domestic violence or have been charged criminally, it is imperative that you discuss your situation with a defense attorney experienced in handling these types of cases. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Michael Kraut starts working diligently as soon as he is retained. In many cases, Mr. Kraut’s early intervention has resulted in domestic violence charges being rejected or significantly reduced.
For more information about domestic violence and Family Code Section 6211, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.