Fraud Blocker

California Domestic Violence Laws 2024 – All You Need to Know

By Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP | Jan 17, 2023

Domestic violence is a pervasive and destructive problem in California and throughout the United States. It encompasses a wide range of abusive behaviors that one partner uses to assert power and control over the other. This can include physical violence, sexual assault, emotional abuse, and financial manipulation.

Unfortunately, domestic violence affects all kinds of people, regardless of gender, age, race, or socioeconomic status. California has implemented various laws and resources to aid victims of domestic violence and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. Despite these efforts, the issue remains a major concern in the state, with tens of thousands of domestic violence incidents reported each year. Individuals must be aware of the warning signs of domestic violence. Victims should also know that there are resources available to seek help and support.

California Domestic Violence Laws

In California, there are several laws in place to protect victims of domestic violence and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. Some of these legal protections include:

  • The California Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA): This is one of the primary laws that governs domestic violence cases in the state. It defines domestic violence as abuse committed against a person with whom the perpetrator has or had an intimate relationship. This includes current or former spouses, domestic partners, or cohabitants. The DVPA also establishes the legal rights and remedies available to victims of domestic violence. One of these is the ability to obtain a restraining order.
  • The Criminal Protective Order (CPO): This order is issued by a judge during a criminal case. It orders the defendant to stay away from the victim and prohibits contact. A CPO can last up to 3 years.
  • Prohibition of Firearms Possession: California also has laws prohibiting the possession of firearms by individuals who have been convicted of domestic violence or have a restraining order against them. This is to protect the victims from potential harm.
  • Employer’s Accommodation: California law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking to help them maintain employment. This includes providing time off for medical treatment, counseling, or court appearances related to the incident.

These laws are important and provide some level of protection for victims. However, domestic violence can still occur in any type of relationship. The best thing you can do if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence is to seek help. Various organizations and resources exist to provide support, including domestic violence hotlines, shelters, and legal aid. A domestic violence attorney can be of immeasurable help to victims. They have the knowledge to navigate the legal system and protect their rights.

What Are the Early Signs of Domestic Violence?

The early signs of domestic violence can be difficult to detect, as abusers often use subtle tactics to exert control and power over their victims. However, some common warning signs to watch for include:

  • Jealousy and Possessiveness: An abuser may be overly jealous of their partner’s relationships with others. They may try to control who they see and talk to.
  • Isolation: They may try to limit their partner’s contact with friends and family. They might also discourage them from participating in activities they enjoy.
  • Verbal Abuse: An abuser may frequently use hurtful words or insults. This is specifically intended to demean and belittle their partner.
  • Financial Control: They may control their partner’s access to money or assets. This makes it difficult for them to leave the relationship.
  • Physical Violence: An abuser may use physical violence to exert control over their partner. This includes pushing, hitting, or restraining them.
  • Threats of Violence: They may threaten their partner with physical harm or use threats to control their behavior.


Q: How do domestic violence cases work in California?

A: In California, the criminal justice system typically handles domestic violence cases. When a report of domestic violence is made to law enforcement, they will investigate the incident. Based on the evidence, they will determine if there is probable cause to make an arrest. If an arrest is made, the case will be referred to the district attorney’s office, which will decide whether to file criminal charges. If charges are filed, the case will proceed through the criminal court system. A judge or jury will then determine guilt or innocence.

Q: What happens when you get a domestic violence charge in California?

A: If you are charged with domestic violence in California, you will be arrested and taken into custody. You will then be taken to court for an arraignment. There, you will be formally charged with the crime and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, your case will proceed to trial. If you choose to plead guilty or are found guilty at trial, you will be sentenced by the judge.

Q: What are the three phases in the domestic violence cycle?

A: The domestic violence cycle is a pattern of behavior that occurs in many abusive relationships. The cycle is typically divided into three phases: tension-building, explosion, and honeymoon.

  1. Tension-Building Phase: This is where the abuser begins to feel angry and resentful towards their partner. They may begin to use verbal abuse or control tactics to assert power over their partner.
  2. Explosion Phase: This is the phase where the abuser’s anger and resentment boil over into physical or emotional abuse. This is the most dangerous phase of the cycle, as it can lead to serious injury or death.
  3. Honeymoon Phase: After the explosion, the abuser may feel remorse and apologize to their partner. They may promise that they will change and that the abuse will not occur again. However, this phase is usually short-lived, and the cycle begins again.

Q: How long can you spend in prison for domestic violence in California?

A: The length of time a person may go to jail for being guilty of domestic violence in California can vary. It will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the offender’s criminal history. Sentencing is determined by the court and can range from probation, with conditions such as mandatory classes, fines, or community service, to imprisonment. For example, a first-time offender may face a sentence of probation. A repeat offender or an offender who causes severe injury may face a longer prison sentence.

Contact Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, Today

At Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, we are dedicated to helping our clients navigate complex legal matters. If you have been charged with domestic violence in California, our experienced attorneys can assist you with your case. We can work to ensure that you understand your rights and get the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

Schedule Your Case Strategy

"*" indicates required fields

I Have Read The Disclaimer*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

© Copyrights 2024 Quinn & Dworakowski LLP. All Rights reserved Disclaimer|Site Map|Privacy Policy

Digital Marketing By rize-logo