The State of California Takes Domestic Crime Seriously

The California Penal Code contains many different crimes of a domestic nature from those sounding in neglect to the very violent.

California criminalizes many acts against family members of a neglectful or nonviolent nature such as:

  • Parental failure to provide basic support for a child like housing, food, clothes and medical care
  • Parental or responsible adult abandonment of a child, including a false claim to an institution that a child is orphaned
  • Parental failure to prevent a child from chronically missing school
  • Parental failure to reasonably supervise or protect a child
  • Spousal failure to provide basic support for his or her spouse like housing, food, clothes and medical care
  • Spousal abandonment that leaves spouse destitute
  • Adult child failure (when able) to provide basic support for a destitute parent like housing, food, clothes and medical care
  • Adult behavior in front of a child that is "degrading, lewd, immoral or vicious" or chronic intoxication in front of a child
  • Intentional violation of a restraining or protective order to stay away from a particular person

Anyone accused of a crime of family neglect or nonviolent harm should seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney immediately. Some conduct of this nature may have legal justification and defenses may be available.

Violent Domestic Crimes

Beyond neglect and nonviolent harm, California criminalizes domestic violence. Some general crimes like assault, battery, sex crimes or murder may apply to acts of family violence and some crimes are specifically written for familial violence. Examples of crimes involving family violence include:

  • Willful infliction on a child of physical harm, death or mental anguish
  • Willful infliction on a child of "any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or an injury resulting in a traumatic condition"
  • Willful infliction on or exposure of a person over 65, an incompetent person or a person with physical or mental disabilities to the danger of physical harm, death, pain or mental suffering
  • Spousal rape
  • Willful infliction by force on a spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, or co-parent (even if parental rights are terminated) of "corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition" that can include a "wound or external or internal injury" whether major or minor, or strangulation or suffocation

The importance of skilled legal representation cannot be overemphasized if you are accused of a domestic crime in California. In addition to the potential harm to your reputation, parental rights, immigration status and ability to work in certain professions, punishments may include imprisonment, fines, fees, probation, classes in anger management or related topics, counseling or treatment, registration as a sexual offender, restitution, payments to a battered women's shelter, payment of the victim's counseling and more, depending on the nature of the charges. Seek advice from an experienced California criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you are even under suspicion of a domestic crime.

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