The most common type of domestic violence case involves a spouse or significant other (spousal battery in violation of penal codes 273.5 or 243e).
However, there are many types of domestic violence cases including child endangerment, criminal threats, stalking as well as elder abuse. As a result, DV cases are prosecuted aggressively even if the complaining party is uncooperative or recants.
If charged as a misdemeanor, not only are you are facing 1 year in jail, fines, restitution, etc. but you will be ordered to attend a 52 week domestic violence/batterer course (at your own expense), possible loss of custody of your children and a Restraining Order preventing you from contacting or seeing the victim. Violation of the restraining order can lead to Contempt of Court charges with additional jail time, fines, etc..
Most California counties impose a minimum jail sentence of 30 days for a domestic violence conviction. This is true even if the charge is a misdemeanor and it is the defendant’s first offense.
If you are a “repeat offender” with a conviction within 7 years of a previous conviction, you face 2, 4, or 5 years in state prison and fine of up to $10,000.
In addition, domestic violence offense can be considered a strike under California’s 3 Strikes Law. A conviction for a strike offense results in heightened sentences and can be used to enhance future convictions.