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Navigating a domestic violence misdemeanor in California

When you’re facing a federal domestic violence misdemeanor charge, you need a criminal defense lawyer for help navigating these matters. Many domestic violence cases are handled on the local and state levels.

Domestic violence jurisdiction

Occasionally, cases are turned over to the federal courts, and how this happens depends on the case. A federal crime falls under the Violence Against Women Act. Some qualifiers for federal domestic violence include:

  • Crossing state lines and physically injuring a partner
  • Stalking someone across state lines within U.S. territorial or maritime lands
  • Crossing state lines and, in turn, violating a qualifying protection order

It should be noted that if any domestic violence matter involves entering or leaving Indian territory, the matter could fall under federal jurisdiction. Domestic matters involving a firearm lean toward federal guidelines.

What are the qualifications for a domestic violence misdemeanor?

Typically, the misdemeanor qualifies as a domestic violence matter when the case involves an intimate partner, guardian or parent. It involves inflicting physical harm on the victim. The harm has to entail force or attempted use of force. If there is a threat with a deadly weapon, that also qualifies.

An individual’s arrest and conviction can take place locally, but the local district attorney can refer cases they believe fall under federal law to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The U.S. Attorney examines the case to determine if it qualifies for federal intervention.

Not many people are aware that a domestic violence case can be tried on the state and federal level. You have to understand that both state and federal prosecutors take these charges seriously. It’s important to have a domestic violence defense attorney who is familiar with state and federal domestic violence laws to ensure that your legal rights are adhered to.