For many people, the phrase “domestic violence” conjures up images of physical abuse, such as one spouse hitting the other. In fact, the courts have long recognized numerous types of abuse as domestic violence. Someone who has not physically harmed their spouse or partner may be shocked when they’re charged with domestic violence. Understanding what these charges can mean is essential to begin the process of defending yourself against them.

What Is Considered Domestic Abuse in California?

According to the California courts, there are four broad categories of domestic abuse.

  • Physical injury. This is the most common image people have of domestic abuse. It involves someone hurting or trying to hurt another, whether intentionally or recklessly. It also includes someone throwing things, pulling hair, preventing someone from freely coming and going, and even abusing family pets. 
  • Sexual assault. Forcing someone to have sex or sexual types of encounters without their consent and against their will.
  • Threats of future harm. Even if physical abuse hasn’t happened, if someone threatens to hurt another soon or in the future, that’s considered abuse. 
  • Behavior such as harassing, stalking, disturbing someone’s peace, or destroying someone’s personal property. This can include verbal abuse, which could be considered harassment or disturbing the peace. 

What Is Verbal Abuse?

Verbal abuse is said to cause emotional and/or psychological harm. It takes many forms. It can be as significant as threatening personal harm to another person or their loved ones.

It also includes subtler verbal actions, such as hurtful joking, name-calling, making fun of the other person’s ideas and opinions, mocking their capabilities or accomplishments, or blaming them for things they can’t control.

What Is My Defense if I’m Accused of Domestic Abuse through Verbal Abuse?

Each domestic violence case is unique. But if you’ve been accused of domestic violence through verbal abuse, some possible defenses include the following:

  • The allegations are untrue or can’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • It was an accident or something provoked by someone claiming to have been verbally abused.
  • The official investigation was faulty. 

To determine the best approach for your case, contact us for a free consultation so we can learn more about what happened or didn’t happen. 

What Happens if I’m Accused of Domestic Violence through Verbal Abuse?

There are several things that could happen depending on your specific case. A likely outcome is a restraining order, which is common in domestic abuse cases. If the application is successful, you could be subject to the following restrictions:

  • No contact with your spouse/partner, children, other relatives or friends who lived with you, or even your pets
  • Not allowed to visit your home or your children’s schools
  • Not allowed to have a firearm
  • Not allowed to make changes to insurance policies
  • Required to transfer rights to cell phone number and account to the plaintiff
  • Not allowed to make large purchases or do anything that would significantly affect yours or the plaintiff’s property if you’re married or domestic partners

These are all critical requirements. Ultimately, it can mean that you:

  • Can’t go to specific places or do specific things
  • May be required to move out of your home if you’re restricted from visiting it
  • May be unable to see your children or see them only under strictly supervised visits
  • May have to turn in any firearms you own or sell them 

One thing to know is that a restraining order will not end a marriage or domestic partnership, as only legal divorce can do that. 

Are There Different Kinds of Restraining Orders for Domestic Violence?

Yes. They have different types of limitations and frequently occur in a specific order. 

  • Emergency protective order (EPO). An EPO is basically what it sounds like. If a spouse or partner feels they are in immediate danger, they can request a police officer help them acquire an EPO. Only a police officer can request one of these from the courts. Judges are on call 24 hours a day to handle these emergency requests. If granted, the person accused of violence will be forced to leave their home and can have no contact with the plaintiff or any children for up to a week. 
  • Temporary restraining order (TRO). An EPO is implemented to give the plaintiff enough time to request a TRO. It’s basically the same thing as an EPO but will last until a court hearing can be held, usually 20-25 days later. 
  • Permanent restraining order (PRO). This is misnamed in that it’s not permanent. It’s a restraining order that results from the court hearing. They last five years, and the plaintiff has the option of asking for it to be extended. 
  • Criminal protective order (also known as a “stay away” order). This is a higher level of restraining order and is requested by a district attorney when there’s been a series of restraining order violations. Usually, the restraining order is issued as part of the criminal case, and if the defendant is found guilty, it could last up to three years. 

What Should I Do if I Was Arrested for Domestic Violence?

Give us a call as soon as possible at 949-305-7995 to set up a free consultation. Domestic violence is a serious charge which, if you’re convicted, can have dire consequences on various aspects of your life, including loss of employment, child custody, right to own firearms, and other severe outcomes. The sooner we become involved, the better the opportunity to help you reduce or remove your charges. Our experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys understand what’s at stake and how to approach the court proceedings.