When arguments become heated, you may find yourself gesturing more forcefully. Even if you do not intend to, it can be easy to knock items over accidentally or act with more force than you intended. If you damage your partner’s phone in the process, however, that broken device could lead to serious criminal charges. How might a broken phone lead to accusations of domestic violence?
Does the California Penal Code include damaged property in its definition of domestic violence?
Under California law, a variety of behaviors that could cause someone to fear “immediate serious bodily injury” may fall under the category of “domestic violence.” These can include the destruction of another person’s personal property, including their phone.
Damaging a phone could create added complications.
Damaging any property during an argument could lead to a domestic violence charge, but those charges could become even more complicated when the damage was to the alleged victim’s phone. California Penal Code Section 591.5 makes it illegal to prevent someone from calling the authorities by damaging or obstructing their access to a communication device. As a result, even accidentally knocking your partner’s phone out of their hand during an argument could put you in legal trouble if the authorities misinterpret that action.
Is it possible to defend against these charges?
Thankfully, if someone accuses you of domestic violence, you do not have to face those charges alone. An experienced attorney can help you build a defense against these accusations. For example, if you did not intend to damage your partner’s property, your attorney can highlight evidence that their phone was broken as a result of an accident.
Not only can this experienced guidance help you defend yourself in court, but it could even result in the prosecution dropping a domestic violence charge before it even goes to trial.