Intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crimes in the nation. In Marin County, specifically, the number one violent crime is domestic violence. These statistics show that domestic violence is shockingly common. However, not all domestic violence cases fit neatly within the legal definition, and no two cases are the same. Frankly, many times, people are caught off guard when charged with domestic violence. As you will see, if a defense is available to you, it must be aggressively asserted on your behalf.

If you’ve been charged with domestic violence in San Rafael or anywhere else in California, including Marin County, San Francisco, Novato, and Petaluma, and Sonoma County, it’s important to reach out to fiercely compassionate advocacy. At Brownstein Law Group, P.C, your freedom and your future come first.



Domestic Violence in California

Domestic violence is defined as intentional or reckless physical abuse perpetrated against an intimate partner or a person related by consanguinity or affinity. An intimate partner of the alleged abuser may include a spouse, fiancé, someone who lives with them, a boyfriend/girlfriend, or a person with whom the person has had a child.

Consanguinity and affinity, as referred to under the California statutes, is another word for blood relatives and relatives of no-blood relation, respectively. For example, consanguinity might refer to relations such as child, grandchild, or sibling, or in the case of affinity, in-laws, aunts, or uncles.

What Constitutes Domestic Abuse?

Abuses that may be considered domestic violence are less than clear-cut. Abuses that may fall within the definition of domestic might include physical aggression, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, or stalking.

Possible Consequences & Penalties

Domestic Violence charges may be graded as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The sentences that might be imposed include:

  • Mandatory minimum jail or prison time

  • Probation

  • Fines

  • Restitution to victims

  • Participation in domestic violence classes or anger management classes

Additionally, other mandated or collateral consequences may include loss of custody rights, loss of California gun rights, immigration repercussions such as deportation, and the issuance of protective orders against the abuser.

Understand Your Legal Defenses

Many people who are facing a domestic violence charge in San Rafael, Marin County, Sonoma County and the State of California do not fully understand the position that they are in. Because the definition of domestic violence in California is so wide-reaching, and because many circumstances fall into a grey area, many people feel that they have been wronged. At times, the circumstances of the case are not as simple as the police report may indicate. Furthermore, judges and juries may find that the allegedly abusive conduct involves circumstances that may complicate fitting the conduct into the legal definition of domestic violence.

Whether a case is black and white, or involves difficult nuances of the law, an individual accused of domestic violence will need to be prepared to defend against potentially harsh consequences.

What Defenses are Available?

Legal defenses that might be available, depending on a person’s circumstances, could include the following:

  • The defense that the respondent lacks the requisite intent, or, in essence, that the conduct was an accident

  • The defense that the respondent did not cause the injuries to the person

  • The defense that the act was committed in self-defense or the defense of another person

  • The defense that the accusation was contrived by the victim

It may be possible to demonstrate that the conduct does not rise to the level of abuse necessary to constitute the charge due to context or circumstance. This is where a skilled attorney comes into play.


In order to protect yourself from wrongful conviction, you need to aggressively and effectively assert your available defenses. It is crucial to hire an experienced Domestic Violence Defense Attorney to help you through this difficult time. If you have been charged with Domestic Violence in San Rafael, Novato, Petaluma, Marin County, Sonoma County, San Francisco County, or the Bay Area, please contact Attorney Josh S. Brownstein to explore your options and to begin building your case.