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In Orange County, California, pursuant to California Penal Code § 13700, domestic violence is defined as “abuse committed against an adult or a fully emancipated minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or has had a dating or engagement relationship.”

Important Penal Code Sections regarding domestic violence:

  • Penal Code § 136.2(h): Orders To Protect Crime Victims or Witnesses
  • Penal Code § 166(c): Criminal Contempt for Violation of Court Orders
  • Penal Code § 853.6(a): Procedure On Arrest for Protective Order Violation
  • Penal Code § 1377(e): Civil Compromise of Misdemeanors
  • Available When Victim has Civil Remedy
  • Penal Code § 1387(b): Effect of a Dismissal of a Domestic Violence Case


A Domestic Violence Criminal Defense Lawyer or Domestic Violence Lawyer will determine whether you fall under domestic violence laws as an identified victim of domestic violence. A Domestic Violence Defense Attorney will also determine whether you fall into any one of the following categories:

  1. A spouse or former spouse
  2. A cohabitant, roommate, former roommate as defined in Family Code § 6209
  3. A person with whom you have or have had a dating or engagement relationship (former girlfriend/boyfriend/friend)
  4. A person with whom you have had a child
  5. A child or any presumed child


The most common domestic violence violations are:

  • Penal Code § 273.5 (infliction of corporal injury) and/or
  • Penal Code § 243(e)1 (domestic violence battery)


A Domestic Violence Lawyer will assist you in determining whether you fall into either one of these sections:

  • Penal Code § 273.5 (Corporal Injury) can apply to any mark, scratch, bruise, redness and/or any other injury perceived by an officer. A domestic violence lawyer in a criminal defense matter will be able to assist you in determining which section may apply to your alleged conduct.
  • Penal Code § 273.5 prohibits the infliction of corporal injury on the person who is the mother or father of the defendant’s child or a spouse or cohabitant. This means your girlfriend/boyfriend; former girlfriend/boyfriend; or any other party with whom you have had a dating relationship can fall under this statute if they accuse you of causing an injury to them by physical force.
  • Penal Code § 243(e)(1) (Domestic Violence Battery) applies to any type of individual identified above, even if there is not a specific injury observed by the investigating police officer. A criminal defense lawyer or a domestic violence lawyer will assist you in determining whether you fall under this statue based on your alleged conduct.
  • Penal Code Section 273.5 has two elements:
  1. A spouse, cohabitant or co-parent of a child willfully inflicts bodily injury on the other, and
  2. Such bodily injury results in a traumatic condition. A traumatic condition is, “A condition of the body such as a wound or external or internal injury, whether of a minor or serious nature caused by a physical force.” Penal Code Section 273.5(c).


A traumatic condition is much less than great bodily injury. A domestic violence lawyer or a criminal defense lawyer will help you determine through statements and photographs whether or not the alleged injury to the other party will fall under this domestic violence law. A bruise, abrasion, red mark, scratch, and/or any other minor contusion and/or head and neck pain may constitute such a traumatic condition. A simple assault and/or battery that does not leave any of these types of injuries is often considered a lesser domestic violence law violation.

The definition of a “cohabitant” is defined as “two unrelated adult persons living together for a substantial period of time resulting in some permanency of relationship.” According to Penal Code Section 13700, factors that may be considered include:

  •   Sexual relations between the parties while sharing the same home
  •   Sharing experiences and/or income
  •   Joint use or ownership of property
  •   Whether the parties hold themselves out as husband and wife
  •   The continuity and length of the relationship

Man Wearing Glasses Looking Out the Window in Despair



A protective order is similar to a restraining order but it is filed in a criminal court. Domestic violence protective orders are similar to restraining orders, but only apply to the alleged aggressor in a domestic violence case. Domestic violence “Protective Orders” prohibit the aggressor/accused party from having contact with the alleged domestic violence victim.  The “Protective Order” can be a “no-contact” order or a “no-violent contact” order.  A no-contact order will include a prohibition from directly or indirectly contacting the protected party and could be violated by simply answering a phone call FROM the protected party.

In some cases, courts have stated that for a domestic violence case it is required that persons accused of participating in domestic violence, the aggressor and the alleged victim have had a substantial on-going relationship and they have lived together at each other’s or a joint residence for a significant time period.

For more information about domestic violence charges, as applied under the laws of the State of California, or to discuss your criminal charges with an experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney who specializes in domestic violence cases, please contact us immediately at: 949-497-1729 or complete our Confidential Contact Form.

By Barry T. Simons: “It is my honor and privilege to fight for my clients; challenge unjust laws; protect our Constitution and to be a thorn on the side of injustice”.

By Barry T. Simons: “It is my honor and privilege to fight for my clients; challenge unjust laws; protect our Constitution and to be a thorn on the side of injustice”.