False Accusations of Domestic Violence in California: Penalties & Proving It

If you've been falsely accused of Domestic Violence in California, it's essential to know your legal options. In this blog post, we'll explore the steps you can take to defend yourself and protect your rights.

Domestic violence (DV) is a serious offense in California. It involves an act of abuse or violence committed against a person who is or was in a close relationship with the abuser. Such relationships include spouses or former spouses, dating partners or former dating partners, cohabitants or former cohabitants, and parents of a shared child. A DV conviction can have serious consequences, including jail time, fines, and restraining orders. However, false accusations of DV are not uncommon in California.

In this blog post, we will discuss the penalties for DV in California and the challenges of proving false accusations.

Penalties for DV in California

In California, domestic violence is classified as a criminal offense. The severity of the offense depends on several factors, including the type and extent of the abuse, the defendant’s criminal history, and whether a restraining order was violated. The following are the penalties for DV in California:


A first-time offense of DV is usually charged as a misdemeanor. The penalty for a misdemeanor DV conviction is 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 DV, or a DV offense involving serious bodily injury, can be charged as a felony. The penalty for a felony DV conviction is up to four years in state prison, fines of up to $10,000, and probation for up to five years.

Restraining Order:

A victim of DV can obtain a restraining order against the abuser. A restraining order can prohibit the abuser from contacting or coming near the victim, their children, and their property. Violating a restraining order is a criminal offense that can result in fines, jail time, and additional penalties.

Challenges of Proving False Accusations

False accusations of DV are not uncommon in California. They can arise out of a variety of motives, such as revenge, jealousy, custody disputes, or financial gain. Proving that an accusation of DV is false can be challenging, as the accuser may have credibility or motive issues. The following are some challenges of proving false accusations of DV:

Burden of Proof:
In criminal cases, the prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in DV cases, the burden of proof can shift to the defendant if they raise a defense of self-defense or defense of others. This means that the defendant has to prove that their use of force was justified.

Lack of Evidence:
False accusations of DV can be difficult to disprove if there is no physical evidence or witnesses. In some cases, the accuser may have fabricated evidence, such as injuries or witnesses, to support their claim.

Credibility Issues:
The credibility of the accuser is crucial in DV cases. If the accuser has a history of making false accusations or has a motive to lie, it can cast doubt on their credibility. However, proving such issues can be challenging, as it requires evidence and witnesses.

Social Stigma:
DV is a sensitive and emotional issue, and false accusations can have serious consequences for both the accuser and the accused. False accusations can tarnish the accused’s reputation, affect their job prospects, and strain their relationships with family and friends.

Emotional Toll:
False accusations of DV can take a significant emotional toll on the accused. The accused may experience anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, and a loss of trust in others.

Proving False Accusations

Proving false accusations of DV can be challenging, but it is not impossible. The following are some strategies that a defense attorney can use to prove false accusations of DV:

Collect Evidence:
The defense attorney can gather evidence to support the defendant’s version of events. This can include witness statements, medical records, photographs, and surveillance footage. It is crucial to collect evidence as soon as possible, as memories fade and evidence can be lost or destroyed.

Challenge the Accuser’s Credibility:
The defense attorney can challenge the accuser’s credibility by pointing out inconsistencies in their statements, previous false accusations, or motives to lie. The defense attorney can also use expert witnesses to testify about the accuser’s behavior, such as personality disorders or substance abuse issues.

Use Expert Witnesses:
The defense attorney can use expert witnesses to testify about the dynamics of domestic violence, the effects of trauma on memory and perception, and the validity of forensic evidence.

Hire a Private Investigator:
The defense attorney can hire a private investigator to gather additional evidence, such as surveillance footage or witness statements.

File a Counter-Complaint:
The defense attorney can file a counter-complaint against the accuser for making false accusations. This can deter the accuser from making further false accusations and can also help the defendant in court.

Why Hire LA Criminal Defenders

In conclusion, false accusations of DV are not uncommon in California, and they can have serious consequences for the accused. Proving false accusations can be challenging, but it is not impossible.

If you are facing false accusations of DV in California, it is crucial to hire an experienced defense attorney. LA Criminal Defenders is a law firm that has more than 55 years of combined experience defending clients against DV charges in California. We offer free consultations and are located in Glendale, serving the Greater Los Angeles area.

At LA Criminal Defenders, we believe in providing personalized and compassionate representation to our clients. We understand that false accusations of DV can be emotionally challenging, and we are committed to providing our clients with the support and guidance they need during this difficult time.

Call us at anytime for free consultation: (818) 855-2115

Our team of experienced defense attorneys has a deep understanding of the complex laws and regulations surrounding DV cases in California. We have successfully defended numerous clients against false accusations of DV, and we know how to navigate the legal system to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.

We offer free consultations, so do not hesitate to contact us at (818) 855-2115 to schedule an appointment.