According to the California Women’s Health Survey, about 40% of women in California experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. In 2011, law enforcement received 158,547 calls in relation to abuse and in 2010 there were 157 domestic violence fatalities. This is a serious matter and a serious offense in the California Court system. In fact, most district attorney offices throughout the state have special units completely dedicated to prosecuting these types of cases.
California domestic violence laws consider it illegal if someone uses physical force or communicates threats of harm against an intimate partner. Specifically, the law defines “abuse” as:
1. Physically hurting or trying to hurt someone, either intentionally or recklessly. This can include hitting, kicking, shoving, pushing, throwing objects and pulling hair.
2. Sexual assault.
3. Instilling the fear that they, someone else or a pet will be seriously hurt.
5. Mentally harassing and intimidating.
6. Destroying personal property.
The point here is that the abuse doesn’t need to be physical. Offenders often use one or more of these tactics in gaining control over the victim.
The penalties for domestic violence offenses in California vary based on the severity of the injuries and the defendant’s criminal record. First time offenses that are considered “less serious” will usually be charged as a misdemeanor, while more serious cases are charged as felonies. In some instances called wobblers, the defendant might initially be charged with a felony offense but then have the opportunity to have it reduced to a misdemeanor.
Sometimes in the heat of a custody battle or purely out of anger, someone will make false allegations of abuse. It’s important to know that once the call is made to involve law enforcement officials, public defenders in California rarely back down. Even if your intimate partner has thought about it and decides she doesn’t want to press charges against you anymore, the case will usually move forward.
Most domestic violence offenders in California can expect a minimum of 30 days in jail, sometimes even for first time misdemeanor convictions. In addition, the majority of judges throughout the state are now also requiring a 52-week or hour Batterer’s Intervention Program or Domestic Violence Class.
Domestic violence classes are part of the California court mandated dv requirement so that an offender can learn how to break the cycle of abuse. In many instances, the abuser has grown up in a family in which this type of behavior was the norm so they don’t know anything different. The purpose of these programs is to help abusers gain better skills in communicating, listening, managing stress, and developing empathy. Participants learn how to understand their behavior, what triggers it and tools to make a sustainable change.
In California many judges find it acceptable to learn these new skills online. Weekly classes can be extremely difficult to get to if they are during your work hours, far away or you have childcare to think about. The benefit of taking your BIP online is that once you enroll, they are available 24/7 from any Internet connected computer device. This means that you can stay up after everyone else has gone to bed or get up early to fulfill the requirements at your own pace and on your timeframe. Just ask your judge if he or she will accept a 52 hour online domestic violence class and with their approval, you are good to go.
Online classes are also an excellent way to overcome the behavior for self-improvement purposes. Consider that once you receive a conviction, it goes on your permanent criminal record and can be seen whenever an employer does a background check. If you find yourself causing turmoil at home because of the way you are treating your loved ones, you can learn to make a permanent change by taking an online domestic violence class today.