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What defines domestic violence under California law?

Knowing how the law defines domestic violence will come in handy if you have a legal situation involving this crime. It is important to know the different elements of a crime to best present your case in court.

In California, domestic violence is abuse against a person with whom you have a romantic or blood relationship. It also includes anyone you may have had such a relationship with in the past.


The relationship aspect is incredibly important to understand. Not all violence is domestic violence. The relationship between you and the other person must be romantic. It can include past relationships. Having a child with someone automatically makes it a close relationship in terms of domestic violence. If the person is blood-related to you or related to you by marriage, this also counts as a close relationship for this crime. Sometimes, the person does not need to have a romantic or blood relationship with you as long as you live with or used to live with him or her.


Abuse can come in many forms under the domestic violence umbrella. It does not have to be physical. Harassment and mental and emotional abuse count as well. Someone making threats or destroying your property is also committing abuse. Harming your pet is another example of this crime. Making threats and other intimidation are more situations that constitute abuse.

To have a solid domestic violence case, you must prove you had a close relationship and that abuse occurred. If you cannot prove one of these elements, then you cannot prove domestic violence because both parts must be true.



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