3699 Wilshire Blvd. Ste 700, Los Angeles, CA 90010 Mon-Fri 9am-6pm +1-213-387-4508
3699 Wilshire Blvd. Ste 700, Los Angeles, CA 90010 Mon-Fri 9am-6pm +1-213-387-4508

Los Angeles Domestic Violence Attorney

family law attorney los angeles

Welcome to the law offices of attorney Charles M. Green, APLC. We are a multifaceted family law firm with attorneys specializing in Domestic Violence (DV) cases and restraining orders. Our principal attorney Charles M. Green is a Certified California Family Specialist certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization.  He has successfully guided hundreds of clients through a variety of challenging domestic violence scenarios.

This page will cover what Domestic Violence is and the types of scenarios it can encompass. It also covers how to get a Restraining Order (DVTRO) should that be an option. The majority of domestic violence cases involve victims. However, if you are facing allegations of domestic violence you are also afforded rights. Whatever the scenario,  it is imperative to hire an experienced family law lawyer who is also a Certified California Family Law Specialist who will ensure you have the best protections and legal representation on your side as you move forward.


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Understanding California Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a serious issue that can shatter lives. It’s a pattern of abusive behavior used by one partner to control another in an intimate relationship. This abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial. Physical violence includes hitting, kicking, shoving, or grabbing. Emotional abuse involves insults, threats, intimidation, and humiliation. Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual contact or pressure. Financial abuse can take the form of controlling a partner’s access to money, sabotaging their credit, or preventing them from working.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background. If you are experiencing domestic violence, you are not alone. There are resources available to help you stay safe and rebuild your life.

Specific Provisions Applicable In Los Angeles

Los Angeles offers robust legal protections for victims of domestic violence. Victims can access both emergency and permanent restraining orders through the courts. These orders may prohibit contact, restrict an abuser from certain locations, and even require them to surrender firearms. Domestic violence can also result in criminal charges, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies with significant penalties, including mandatory jail time.

Los Angeles has enhanced protections for vulnerable populations within its domestic violence laws, such as the elderly, disabled, or pregnant individuals. Additionally, it’s important to be aware that domestic violence convictions can have severe immigration consequences for non-U.S. citizens. For resources and personalized guidance, contact the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office – Domestic Violence Unit or the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women.


Types Of Domestic Violence Offenses

California’s domestic violence laws are comprehensive and encompass a wide range of abusive behaviors. These are types of Domestic Violence Offenses under California Law:

Physical Abuse:

This is the most common type and includes hitting, kicking, shoving, grabbing, biting, choking, or using weapons to threaten or injure a partner.

Emotional Abuse:

This involves inflicting mental or emotional distress through insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, stalking, isolation, or gaslighting.

Sexual Abuse:

Any unwanted sexual contact or pressure, including forced sexual intercourse, sexual assault, or marital rape.

Financial Abuse:

Controlling a partner’s access to money or credit, sabotaging their credit score, preventing them from working, or using their finances for personal gain.


Repeatedly following, watching, harassing, threatening, or otherwise interfering with a partner’s safety or peace of mind.


Verbal or written threats of violence, harm to children, pets, or property can be considered domestic violence.

Harmful Interference

Intentionally damaging a partner’s property, belongings, or pets to exert control or inflict emotional distress.


Putting a partner or your child at risk through reckless or intentional behavior, such as driving under the influence with them in the car.


Withholding necessary medical care, food, or shelter from a partner or dependent child.

Elder Abuse:

When a caregiver or family member abuses, neglects, or financially exploits an elderly person.

Dependent Adult Abuse:

Similar to elder abuse but applies to dependent adults who rely on others for care.

It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive. California law recognizes a broad range of behaviors that can constitute domestic violence. Also, some of these offenses, like stalking or certain threats, can be prosecuted even if they haven’t resulted in physical harm. Talk to your family law specialist for guidance specific to your case.


Legal Penalties For Domestic Violence Offenses

In California, domestic violence is a serious crime that can result in severe legal penalties. The penalties for domestic violence depend on the severity of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, and other factors. Domestic violence can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case.

If convicted of domestic violence, the defendant may face a range of penalties, including fines, probation, mandatory counseling, and incarceration. For example, a first-time offender of domestic violence is usually charged with a misdemeanor, which can result in up to one year in county jail, fines of up to $2,000, and probation for up to three years. A second or subsequent offense of domestic violence, or a domestic violence offense involving serious bodily injury, can be charged as a felony, which can result in up to four years in state prison, fines of up to $6,000, and a restraining order.


Domestic Violence as a Felony or Misdemeanor

Domestic violence can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony in California, depending on the severity of the offense and the defendant’s criminal history. Misdemeanor domestic violence is usually charged for less severe offenses, such as simple assault, battery, and verbal abuse. A first-time offender of misdemeanor domestic violence can face up to one year in county jail, fines of up to $2,000, and probation for up to three years. However, if the defendant has a prior conviction for domestic violence or the offense involves serious bodily injury, the misdemeanor charge can be elevated to a felony.

Felony domestic violence is charged for more serious offenses, such as violence resulting in serious bodily harm or death, abuse inflicted on a minor or young child, or conduct of an inappropriate sexual nature. If convicted of felony domestic violence, the defendant can face up to four years in state prison, fines of up to $6,000, and a restraining order. The sentence could be longer depending on the seriousness of injuries inflicted.


The Legal Process in Domestic Violence Cases

The legal process for domestic violence cases can vary depending on whether you’re seeking a restraining order or facing criminal charges. In both situations, the initial steps often involve filing paperwork with the court and potentially attending a hearing.

For restraining orders, a judge will decide whether to grant protection based on the evidence presented. If facing criminal charges, there may be a pre-trial process, followed by a possible trial and sentencing if convicted. Throughout this process, an experienced domestic violence attorney can be invaluable in protecting your rights and navigating the complexities of the legal system.

Reporting the abuse:
The first step in the legal process is to report the abuse to the police or other law enforcement agencies. The police will investigate the allegations and gather evidence to support the case.

Filing a restraining order:
If the victim is in immediate danger, they can file for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to protect themselves from further harm. A TRO can be obtained without the abuser’s knowledge and can last up to 21 days. After the TRO is issued, a hearing will be scheduled to determine if a permanent restraining order is necessary.

Criminal charges:
If the police find sufficient evidence of domestic violence, the abuser may be arrested and charged with a crime. The prosecutor will then decide whether to file charges and what charges to file. The abuser will then be arraigned and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If the abuser pleads guilty or is found guilty, they will be sentenced by the court.

Civil lawsuit:
The victim can also file a civil lawsuit against the abuser to seek damages for the harm caused by the abuse. A civil lawsuit can be filed even if criminal charges are not filed or if the abuser is acquitted of criminal charges.


Protective Orders vs. Restraining Orders in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, protective orders and restraining orders are court orders that are designed to protect victims of domestic violence from further harm. Protective orders and restraining orders are similar in that they both prohibit the abuser from contacting or coming near the victim. However, there are some differences between the two.

A protective order is a court order that is issued to protect a victim of domestic violence from further abuse. Protective orders can be obtained by the victim or by the police on behalf of the victim. Protective orders can include provisions that require the abuser to stay away from the victim, to move out of the victim’s home, to surrender firearms, and to pay child support. Protective orders can be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances of the case.

A restraining order is a court order that is issued to prevent someone from harassing or threatening another person. Restraining orders can be obtained by anyone who is being harassed or threatened, not just victims of domestic violence. Restraining orders can include provisions that require the abuser to stay away from the victim, to move out of the victim’s home, and to stop contacting the victim. Restraining orders can be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances of the case.

If you are a victim of domestic violence or harassment, it’s important to seek our legal assistance as soon as possible. As experienced family law attorneys we can help you obtain a protective order or restraining order and can provide you with the support and guidance you need to stay safe.

Safety First

Domestic violence is a serious matter. If you are in an abusive relationship your main priority is to get yourself (and your children) to safety before talking to any domestic violence attorneys.


Domestic Violence Lawyers

Statistics show that the most potentially dangerous time for victims of domestic abuse is during the immediate window of time when they leave the abusive relationship. Finding a safe living situation somewhere that your abusive spouse wouldn’t look for you is ideal. It is best not to go to your parent’s house or any other location your domestic abuser is likely to go looking for you. If possible, and you have time to plan ahead, make sure you save some backup cash, gather credit cards, and any important financial or legal documents that you may need to protect yourself physically and financially.

If you are not afforded time to plan and must leave home quickly with your children, go to court as soon as possible for an emergency order to get custody. This is a way to legally and physically protect you and your children should your abuser try to accuse you of kidnapping.

Getting a temporary restraining order (DVTRO) is usually the first point of order. Please keep in mind though, that TRO’s can be disobeyed. Disobeying a domestic violence restraining order will likely result in fining or incarceration but it does not guarantee your safety.

Please use your best judgment to protect yourself, your children, and your important possessions until your situation is on a safer and confident footing. Talking with a domestic violence lawyer should be your next move after securing you(and your child’s) safety.

Frequently Asked Questions about
Domestic Violence in California


How does domestic violence work in California?

Domestic violence in California extends beyond just physically abusive acts. It encompasses a wide range of behaviors, such as stalking, harassment, intimidation, and destruction of personal property. Laws in the state protect not only intimate partners but also family members, cohabitants, and individuals in dating relationships.

What is the domestic violence rate in California?

The Domestic violence rate in California is approximately 34.9% of women and 31.1% of men in California have experienced physical violence, sexual violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

What is the domestic violence rate in Los Angeles County?

The Domestic violence rate in Los Angeles County is, Among adults aged 18 and over in Los Angeles County, 20 percent of women and 13 percent of men reported being physically or sexually abused by an intimate partner.

What is the most common domestic violence crime?

The most common domestic violence crime is Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the most common form of domestic violence, accounting for 15% of all violent crime. IPV includes physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse.

Who does domestic violence affect the most?

Domestic violence mostly affects all genders, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. However, it is reported at higher rates among women, people of color, and younger individuals aged 18-24.

Are most domestic violence cases reported?

Reporting of domestic violence cases: About half of all domestic violence incidents are reported to law enforcement, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey.