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Coercion and Domestic Violence

Legal Advocacy for Domestic Violence Cases in Riverside

California law recognizes different forms of domestic violence. When a victim feels threatened, or overly pressured to do something against their will, the person making threats may be charged with coercive control. According to law, it is against the law to engage in a pattern of abusive behavior that is used to dominate a person, limiting their freedom. At the Law Offices of Gregory Comings, Attorney Comings represents people facing investigation or charges for domestic violence, as well as other crimes including weapons offenses, white collar crimes, and more. We understand the emotional toll of domestic violence charges, and remain cognizant of updates to California law in order to provide the most effective legal defense to our clients throughout Riverside and beyond.

Coercion and Domestic Violence

The Domestic Violence Prevention Act was enacted in 1993 to prevent domestic violence and domestic abuse. Changes to the CA Penal Code and the CA Family Code have recently occurred. California’s new Senate Bill 1140 expands the definition of abuse under state law. Individuals may seek domestic violence restraining orders for non-physical conduct, including threats harassment, surveillance, or disturbing the peace. Coercive control is already part of the Family Code’s description of “disturbing the peace.”

According to Senate Bill 1140, “coercive control” constitutes abuse. It may be grounds for a domestic violence restraining order, or used to prove domestic violence for child custody determinations. Coercive control is conduct that destroys the mental or emotional calm for the other party. Behavior may include unreasonably isolating a victim from friends, relatives, or other sources of support. The Bill provides that coercive control is systemic behavior, an ongoing pattern of working to intimidate and control that unreasonably interferes with a person’s free will and personal liberty.

Examples of coercive control include deprivation of basic necessities, such as food or shelter. If the alleged victim of coercive control states that they are forced to isolate from their friends or relatives, prosecutors may deem this evidence of coercive control.

Penalties for Coercive Control in California

If the court determines that you have committed coercive control, the victim will likely file a restraining order. If the restraining order is violated, you may be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and a year in county jail. There is a firearms ban on those with a restraining order, as long as the order is in effect.

Child custody may be affected by a legal finding of coercive control. If the victim seeks child custody, the court may look at coercive control as evidence of domestic violence. This may affect an assessment about the best interest of the child.

A conviction of domestic violence in conjunction with coercive control can lead to harsh penalties. Domestic battery may be charged. If convicted, you may face up to $2,000 in fines and up to one year in county jail. Inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner (PC Section 273.5) can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony. The circumstances of the case dictate the severity of the crime. For instance, a felony conviction for inflicting violence on an intimate partner can lead to $6,000 in fines.

Defenses to Domestic Violence Coercion

There is no requirement of proof of physical harm for coercion. Instead, this crime often rests on circumstantial evidence, the testimony of family or household members. Since the State of California has the burden of proving that threats were made and a pattern of behavior existed, an experienced defense attorney can assess whether there are sufficient grounds for a conviction. If the allegations are false, or coercion did not occur, a conviction cannot stand.

Discuss the Details of Your Domestic Violence Case With a Dedicated Riverside Defense Attorney

If you are facing an accusation of coercive control, domestic violence defense lawyer Gregory H. Comings will provide compassionate and dedicated representation. Our team has successfully helped Riverside clients reduce or dismiss domestic violence charges. We represent people throughout Southern California, including San Bernardino, Palm Springs, Indio, Moreno Valley, and Redlands. Contact our office by calling (951) 686-3457 or reach us online.

Client Reviews
"Amazing attorney. Kind, compassionate man. Look no further...this is your guy!" D.F.
"Gregory Comings IS THE MOST AMAZING CRIMINAL ATTORNEY IN ALL OF RIVERSIDE COUNTY OR ANY COUNTY! Never have I met anyone that was so passionate and so involved with not only their clients but with their clients family as well!... S.A.
"Being in the business, I have access to hundreds of criminal defense attorneys. When a family member ran into legal problems, I sent them to Mr. Comings. Mr. Comings provided a passionate and aggressive defense... K.L.