California Penal Code 13700 PC – Domestic Violence Definitions

Law Offices of Frances Prizzia
California penal code 13700 PC

Domestic violence in California is a serious legal matter. Understanding the definitions and implications under California Penal Code 13700 PC is essential. This code outlines what constitutes domestic violence and who it applies to. Knowing these definitions can help you understand your legal standing.

Frances Prizzia Criminal Defense Lawyers specializes in defending against domestic violence charges. We provide detailed information and strategic defense tailored to each case. Our goal is to help you navigate the legal system effectively.

Let’s delve into the specifics of California Penal Code 13700 PC and how it impacts defendants.

Overview of California Penal Code 13700 PC

California Penal Code 13700 PC defines domestic violence broadly. It includes abuse committed against a current or former spouse, cohabitant, or someone in a dating or engagement relationship. This includes violence between two unrelated adult persons living in the same living quarters. This statute is important for understanding what actions qualify as domestic violence.

This code aims to protect individuals from various forms of abuse. It includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. The statute applies to many relationships, ensuring comprehensive protection. Understanding these definitions helps in mounting an effective defense.

Types of Acts Considered Domestic Violence

Types of acts considered domestic violence

Domestic violence encompasses several types of abusive acts. These acts can vary in nature and severity. It’s essential to know what constitutes a victim of domestic violence and to prepare a defense. Common domestic violence crimes include:

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse involves intentional harm or causing bodily injury to another person. This can include hitting, slapping, or any form of physical assault. Physical abuse is a common form of domestic violence. It is often the basis for many domestic violence charges.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse includes any non-consensual sexual act. This can involve coercion, threats, or physical force. Sexual abuse within a domestic context is taken very seriously. It can lead to severe legal consequences.

Emotional and Psychological Abuse

Emotional and psychological abuse involves behaviors that harm an individual’s mental state. This can include threats, intimidation, or constant criticism. Emotional abuse is recognized under California Penal Code 13700 PC. It is considered a serious form of domestic violence.

Legal Implications for Defendants

Legal implications for defendants

Facing domestic violence charges can have serious legal implications. Understanding these implications helps in preparing a strong defense.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony Charges

Domestic violence can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor charges are less severe and often result in lighter penalties. Felony charges are more serious and can lead to harsher sentences.

For example, domestic battery under PC 243(e)(1) is a misdemeanor. Corporal injury to a spouse, under PC 273.5, is a wobbler. This means it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Felony charges usually involve severe physical harm or repeated offenses. They can result in substantial prison time and fines. Misdemeanor charges might lead to shorter jail terms or probation. Understanding the difference is vital for your defense strategy.

Potential Penalties and Sentencing

Penalties for domestic violence can change and shift based on the severity of the charges. Misdemeanor charges might result in jail time, fines, or community service.

Felony charges often lead to longer prison sentences and more substantial fines. A conviction under 243(e)(1) could result in a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. A conviction under 273.5 could result in up to four years in state prison and a fine of up to $6,000.

In addition to legal penalties, there can be personal and professional consequences. A conviction can affect employment, housing, and personal relationships. Understanding the potential outcomes helps in preparing a comprehensive defense.

Evidence Required for Prosecution

Evidence required for prosecution

Prosecutors need substantial evidence to convict someone of a domestic violence crime. This evidence must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Understanding the types of evidence used can help you prepare your defense.

Types of Evidence Commonly Used

Common types of evidence include witness testimony, medical records, and physical evidence. Witness testimony can come from anyone who observed the alleged abuse. Medical records can show injuries consistent with abuse. Physical evidence might include photographs, objects, or documents related to the incident.

Medical records are particularly important. They can provide objective proof of injuries, and witness testimony can support the prosecution’s case. We will scrutinize the evidence and get it thrown out or suppressed if it was collected illegally or intentionally.

Role of Police Reports and Photographic Evidence

Reports from the California police department often play an important role in domestic violence cases. They provide a detailed account of the incident from law enforcement’s perspective.

Reports from the local police department can include observations, statements, and evidence collected at the scene. Even the housing authority patrol officer or college police departments may provide a report that serves as evidence. 

Photographic evidence is also critical. Photos of injuries or damaged property can support the prosecution’s case. However, this evidence can be challenged, and discrepancies or inconsistencies can weaken the prosecution’s argument.

Common Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges

Common defense against domestic violence charges

Several defenses can be used to fight domestic violence charges. These defenses aim to challenge the prosecution’s evidence and arguments.

Self-Defense or Defense of Others

One common defense is self-defense. This involves proving that the defendant acted to protect themselves or others. The defendant must show that the force used was reasonable and necessary. If you faced imminent serious bodily injury, you could be justified in using force. 

False Allegations and Lack of Evidence

False allegations are another common defense in Los Angeles, CA. This involves proving that the accusations are untrue. A lack of evidence can also be a strong defense. The prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If they cannot, the charges should be dismissed.

Consensual Actions Misinterpreted

In some cases, actions can be misinterpreted as abuse. This defense involves showing that the actions were consensual. Misunderstandings can lead to false accusations, and proving this can lead to a dismissal of charges.

We Can Provide You With a Strong Defense

  • Expert legal guidance. Our team offers expert guidance on your case. We analyze the details and develop a tailored defense strategy. This helps you understand your options and make informed decisions.
  • Thorough case investigation. We conduct a thorough investigation of your case. This includes gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and examining police reports. Our attention to detail is unparalleled, and we explore every avenue possible for your defense.
  • Aggressive court representation. We provide aggressive representation in court. Our lawyers are experienced in scrutinizing and pushing back against the prosecution’s evidence. We fight daily to protect your rights and position your case for a positive outcome.
  • Strategic defense planning. We plan strategic defenses based on the specifics of your case. This includes identifying weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Our strategies are designed to maximize your chances of success.
  • Compassion when you need it most. We understand that allegations of domestic violence can impact your livelihood. We will provide the support and compassion you need during this difficult time. Prioritizing your mental health is critical for your defense.

Call Our California Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer for a Free Consultation

Call our California domestic violence defense lawyer for a free consultation

If you are dealing with domestic violence charges, contact us for a free consultation. Frances Prizzia Criminal Defense Lawyers will offer the legal support you need during this difficult time. We provide expert legal advice and strong defense strategies tailored to your case.

Just because you are accused of domestic violence does not mean you are guilty. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and we can provide you with the strong defense you deserve.

Contact us today to schedule a free case consultation.

Search Our Site
Our Newport Beach
5000 Birch Street, Suite 3000
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Why Choose
Frances Prizzia Criminal Defense Lawyers


Client Centered Approach

Our clients are our priority, we listen & have your best interests in mind. Our philosophy is that crime is simply a symptom of a bigger issue that should be addressed.

Reputation by Excellence

"Top 100 Trial Lawyers" by the National Trial Lawyers and Clients' Choice by Avvo.


Over 17+ Years of Criminal Defense Experience on your side.

Innovative & Determined

We think outside the box and never leave a stone unturned.

You're Not Just Another Client

You're in a difficult situation that requires attention. Our boutique legal team walks you through the legal process so you don't feel lost.


We are available 24/7 for emergencies & offer free confidential consultations.
fill out the form
Request Your Free
Confidential Consultation

"*" indicates required fields

Full Name*
Required Fields *
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.