Physical altercations between spouses or intimate partners are frequently the culmination of emotional and psychological tensions that have intensified during the course of the relationship. Substance abuse, mental illness, and financial anxiety are also sources of tension that contribute to physical disputes between spouses or partners. Under Section 243(e)(1) of the California Penal Code, when an act of force or violence is committed by an individual against a person with whom they have an intimate relationship, they face longer jail sentences and more stringent forms of probation than they would if they committed the same act against a stranger. Since the penalties are more severe and the underlying causes are deeply rooted in personal hardship, people charged with domestic violence should retain an attorney that will use their abilities and resources to address and help remedy the underlying causes of the domestic dispute in the process of contesting the charge itself.