Jail Time for California Domestic Violence Offenses

Domestic violence defendant in California jail

An accusation of domestic violence is a very serious claim. Not only can it result in criminal penalties, but the label as an abuser can follow you the rest of your life.


While penalties can vary depending upon your judge, the state of California has guidelines as to sentencing someone convicted of domestic violence. While jail time may seem imminent, it is possible to avoid a jail sentence all together.


What Domestic Violence Offenses Will Send a Person to Jail?

The last thing anyone wants is to be jailed for domestic violence. The average jail time for domestic violence offenses is greatly affected by the seriousness of injuries (if any at all) suffered by your accuser. Judges also take into account any previous record you may have, as it is more likely that you will serve more time if the victim has significant injuries or you have a violent history.


Have you been arrested before? Was it for domestic violence? The answers to these questions will affect your potential penalties and possibly influence decisions made for punishment for domestic violence in California.


Judges typically require that you serve a minimum of 30 days for a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, however this is “typical,” and not set in stone. Some judges may allow you to serve probation if this is your first offense, or if the victim’s injuries are not significant. A felony conviction carries up to four years in custody.


Punishment for a felony conviction can be lengthened if the accused has been convicted of this offense within the past seven years.


Unfortunately, for those convicted of a felony, probation is not a likely sentence, even if you do not have a previous record. Injuries that lead to a felony prosecution are severe, such as broken bones, injuries that require sutures, or severe trauma that causes permanent damage to the body or brain.


How Much Jail Time for Domestic Violence?

Depending upon the circumstances of your incident, you could be charged with multiple different offenses. The following are more common DV offenses and the amount of jail and/or prison time one might receive if convicted:


Jail time for domestic battery


Example of a domestic battery offenseCalifornia Penal Code 243(e)(1) is usually referred to as simply “battery” or “domestic battery”. Battery is defined as a willful act that inflicts injury upon another. This particular Code redefines it as a willful, hurtful act that intended to injure a “domestic partner” (DP). A DP could range from a boyfriend or girlfriend to a fiancé to a spouse or other parent of your child.


Injuries and acts to inflict injury range from grabbing someone’s shirt, punching, and kicking. While these are on the “low end” of possible injuries inflicted, they are still serious, and you could face domestic violence jail time.
The maximum jail sentence for a conviction under Code PC 243 (e)(1) is one year. Probation of up to three years is an alternative option, and it is a viable punishment for those who are first time offenders.
Those on probation may also have to complete a Batterer’s Program, and must pay a fine of up to $2,000.


Jail time for child abuse


Example of child abuseCalifornia Penal Code 273(d) is a little different, as it relates only to the abuse of children. This Code deals strictly with physical abuse, such as slapping hard enough to leave a bruise, fighting and bruising a child, or beating the child with a belt severely enough that marks are left. These injuries must have been caused by a “willful” act. This Code can be used to charge the crime as a misdemeanor or felony.


The charge depends on facts of the case and your own history. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you are subject to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000. However, probation and completion of a child abuser’s treatment program are viable options for those with experienced attorneys as it is for those facing charges for PC 243(e)(1).


If you are convicted of a felony, a jail sentence of up to 6 years and a fine can be imposed.


Jail time for spousal abuse

Example of spousal abuse offenseCalifornia Penal Code 273.5 is often referred to as simply “spousal abuse” or “corporal abuse”
. This Code only applies if the alleged abuse occurs between intimate partners, such as same-sex partners, boyfriend/girlfriend, former intimate partners, a former partner with whom you share a child, fiancés, or spouses.


Physical injuries must be proven, unlike Penal Code 243(e)(1), and proof must be given to the courts in order to charge for this Code. Injuries must have been inflicted willfully, and can range from dislocated or broken bones, to severe trauma.


These cases can be prosecuted as misdemeanors or felonies and the punishment depends upon the injuries inflicted as well as your own history. A misdemeanor conviction can result in jail for one year or probation if you have an otherwise clean record. A fine of up to $6,000 is also imposed. A felony conviction can mean jail time for up to 4 years.


Jail time for elder abuse


Elder woman claiming domestic violenceCalifornia Penal Code 368 deals specifically with elder abuse. This Code covers emotional and physical abuse, financial theft and abuse, and neglect. Like the other Codes mentioned, this can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.


A misdemeanor conviction offers a maximum jail time of one year, as well as probation and a fine. A felony conviction can send you to jail for up to four years. As in other abuse cases, the penalty you receive will depend on the injuries and your own history.


Those with a limited or non-existent criminal record have a better chance of serving no jail time, while those with lengthy records have a lessened chance of serving probation without jail time.


Avoiding Jail Time

The best way to avoid jail time is to avoid a conviction. Prosecutors are tough on domestic violence charges, but they can only go where the evidence takes them. In many cases, the evidence will lead to a verdict of “not guilty.”


People who make accusations of domestic violence often gain a benefit. They might want to use a domestic violence conviction as leverage in a child custody dispute. They might hope to gain the sympathy of friends or family. They might want to get a spouse out of the way so they can continue a clandestine affair.


Identifying the reason why an alleged victim might make a false accusation gives a domestic abuse defense lawyer leverage to use when negotiating with a prosecutor. Other defenses, such as evidence of an alibi, can also be used to establish reasonable doubt.


Prosecutors who fear losing a trial are more likely to be reasonable. They may decide to dismiss charges, offer a deferred prosecution agreement, or amend the charge to a nonviolent offense. Of course, when prosecutors are not reasonable, a skilled and aggressive defense can lead to an acquittal at trial.


Each case turns on its own facts, but an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer can identify the strongest available defense and use that defense to a client’s advantage. The first goal of your Southern California criminal defense lawyer should be to protect the innocent and to minimize the consequences of a criminal charge.


Do you trust that a Public Defender will give you and your case the attention they deserve? Unfortunately, public defenders simply do not have the time to give.


All situations are different, and each judge is different. Your outcome may not be the same as someone who had a similar case in the same court district. Because sentences can vary, you will need the services of an experienced attorney.


An attorney who is experienced with domestic violence cases can help you get the best possible outcome for your situation. An attorney can also grant you valuable resources for your case that you might not be able to find if you defended yourself, such as expert witnesses to consult on the presumed injuries.


Be sure to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible, as these cases are very serious and can lead to life-long stigma.


Law Offices of Randy Collins free case evaluation

If you are in need of defense from skilled California lawyers, call (888) 250-2865 for a free case evaluation.

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  • http://cabreralawoffices.com/ petercabrera

    Nice content posted regarding defense. A good criminal defense lawyer can always short your time by his tactics of defense.

    • AttorneyRandyCollins

      Interesting take. Thanks for commenting Peter.

  • http://www.indiobailbonds.com/ Indiobailbonds

    If you arrested and you want to get out of the jail to fight your case then bail bond can be a good choice.

    • AttorneyRandyCollins

      Thanks for commenting.

  • mayramayra

    my husband was sentenced today for domestic violence for 30 days will he do half time?

    • AttorneyRandyCollins

      Hi Mayra. I suggest contacting a domestic violence defense lawyer in your area as soon as possible for a free case evaluation. Providing information on the internet like this is not in your best interest. Do remember that this should not be considered legal advice nor does it create an attorney client relationship. Take care.

  • Ryan Freelong Poole Jones

    So I’m having a problem. My ex girlfriend and I broke up. Once we did break up I moved on. Didn’t write her didn’t care anymore. Well almost everyday or every few days she would randomly write “miss you” “love you” “have a nice day.” “Lets be friends” well I clearly stated I never wanted to see, hear, or talk to her again. She continue to write me. I blocked her personal number, she got a fake number from an app to text. I blocked that and she messaged me from iPad. I blocked iPad and she wrote me on Facebook. I have screen shots of me telling her “please leave me alone” and she says “no.” Well she wrote she is broke all my stuff so in return I emailed her boss (she left her email opened on my computer) some nasty things such as “I quit this job you can f*cking stick it”. Now I am being charged with DV. Even through she kept messing with me.. what can I do?

    • AttorneyRandyCollins

      Hello Ryan,

      Discussing your case facts on a public site like this is not a good
      idea. I suggest contacting a domestic violence defense attorney that has
      experience assisting defendants in your area and take advantage of a
      free consultation. Take care. This communication should not be
      considered legal advice nor does it constitute an attorney client

  • Noemii Sanchez

    If somebody goes in for domestic violence charges and has an open case already for domestic battery how much time are they looking at?

    • AttorneyRandyCollins

      Hello Noemii,

      Discussing your case facts on a public site like this is not a good idea. I suggest contacting a domestic violence defense attorney that has experience assisting defendants in your area and take advantage of a free consultation. Take care. This communication should not be considered legal advice nor does it constitute an attorney client relationship.

  • Md92

    if my girlfriend got arrested for domestic violence with out any charges being pressed, how long will she being in jail for? this is her first time being arrested? need to know asap!

  • JOSE


    • Angelika Harkins

      If a girl punches a guy and he rapes her bc he wants her to stop and she didn’t love or want it. Will she go to jail too?
      She didn’t stop punching him, he got annoyed, he raped het . She struggled hard to the point she was hurting herself, shouting no the whole time, and trying to push him away and keep her pants on. He stopped after 6 min and didn’t finish. But to her she was still raped. He blackmailed her saying “if u report, u will go to jail too because you punched me first before I raped you. So you will go to jail too.”
      She’s afraid to report the rape because she thinks since she punched him and wouldn’t stop that she will go to jail too. But she didn’t know he would rape her. Will she go to jail as wel does she only have to pay a charge? Or does she goes to jail? Or both? She’s terrified of going to jail for punching him before she knew he was gonna rape her.

  • nicole

    Hi I Have a Question My boyfriend is with immigration for domestic violence is he most likely to get deported? I just have bruises on my arm. He didnt hit me and the papers the police reported is saying something else that i never said how do i tell the judge that is not what i said?And we have a 6month year old and this is his first time getting in trouble.

    • SKY

      once you call the cops you’ve been fucked in the ass assume it.

  • joaquin

    they gave me 4 years probation and 52 week class and some other stuff I feel like I might not be able to afford it its like around $12,000 I want to know how long will I spend in jail if I went terminal for 243(e)(1) misdemeanor

  • dianna

    Today I called the cops on my boyfriend because he has anger issues, i told the police he hit me .all I wanted for the police was to talk to him not take him away in handcuffs. He’s going to court on tuesday.Is there any way to get him out ? Please I need help , I love him , I never wanted this to happen.

    • SKY

      the cops will never talk to anyone because they suspect probable cause they will arrest him somehow after 24 hours he will be released and a court date will be issued your boyfriend is not going to be allowed near you until the hearing. poor poor dianna you did the right thing don’t wait many girls were found dead because if you wait it can result in serious DAMAGE.

  • Julie Leary

    5 days ago i called the police on my boyfriend because he had put hands
    on me. It was the day after it happened i had called though. I talked
    the the officer and told him me & my bf were having issues. I
    answered the 2 officers questions. They had asked to take some pics of
    my arms, legs, and face but i just had a minor cut underneath my bottom
    lip. I told them is this necessary. I didn’t press charges because i
    did not want my bf going to jail. I just wanted my belongings out. They
    told me that information they had would just go onto a report & i
    could go pick that paper up from the police station but never did
    because i wanted to try & make things work with my family. They lied
    to me and tricked me into believing everything would be okay. Today
    they came during a family barbecue and put my bf in cuffs and took him
    to jail for his first time & were not giving me any information.
    This is just wrong, Those officer gave me false information & knew
    what they were doing behind my back to be asshole. What can i do ? How
    long would he be serving in jail? for domestic violence & verbal
    abuse. Please help me. Thank you

  • Lisa

    My husband got arrested and convicted of a felony domestic violence in 2008 he just recently got charged for a mistimeaner battery, is scheduled for a court hearing in September, does anyone know what the judge might recommend? Jail time? Back to prison? Slap on the hand?

  • Diana

    Hini have a question last night i called the cops on my boyfriend is there any way i can drop the charges and when will he come out???we were getting counseling and that helped alot but we stopped going

    • AttorneyRandyCollins

      Hi Diana,

      I suggest contacting an attorney you trust in the area for which your boyfriend is facing charges and obtain a free consultation.

      Best of luck to you.

  • Insaf Khriss

    Hello, my boyfriend had a fight with his ex girl fiend and they ended up fighting it was in front of her family restaurant so he was caught up on their camera slapping her and she collapsed. Now she is threatening him that she will send him to jail. What can he do ?

  • Areli Velasquez

    My brother got in a fight with his girl she was hitting him it has happened before her always hitting him but this time he smacked her in self defense. What would happen ?

  • me M

    Hello, my baby’s dad was arrested in November for choking me when he didnt take his meds for skitsofrenia had a temporary restraining order but he had supervised visits for my daughter as long as he was back on meds. On February we decided to work things out case got closed but city attorney did say he had 3 years to file the report and if anything similar happens he would be kept for a while. Well it wasn’t long we started not getting along he would disrespect my mom and he would go look for cigarettes out in the street because he’s a loser that can’t provide but he has a drug history so I’ve noticed he’s aggressive towards my mom so I told him him to stop give me the house keys he said no choked me by the door my mom tried to get him off me and he attacked her. He would not let her go he tried to throw her off the rail. Now I fear for mine and family’s life because I’ve never imagined it would be my mom. I thought the first time was because of meds but it’s just scary. Cops did take him I got the emergency restraining order tomorrow I’m filelin for permanent restraining order and for him to move out and no visitations. My question is will be be there for a while? He has the keys and since he does live here I couldn’t get them back I’m scared he’ll get out and end up killing us. Our building doesn’t allow for the lock to be changed which is stupid. But I want to make sure he’s not out tonight because I checked online he’s in the reception ???

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