Definition and Aspects of the Crime: Domestic battery is one of the most regularly filed charges relating to spousal abuse or domestic violence. It is one of several charges available to prosecutors under California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) PC.
To establish domestic battery in court, here are the aspects of the crime prosecutors must prove:
For you to be prosecuted of domestic battery in court, prosecutors must prove the following:
- The defendant willfully touched the victim in a harmful or offensive way
- And the victim is the defendant’s current or former spouse, cohabitant, fiancé, co-parent, or someone with whom the defendant previously had a dating relationship with;
Cohabitant, under law, is described as two unrelated people living together for a substantial period of time. By definition, permanency to the relationship has to be established, and this relationship could include joint ownership of the property, shared income and/or expenses, and a possible sexual relationship between the two people. The law does not make a distinction between heterosexual or same-sex relations.
Domestic battery does not require the victim to be injured, but it does involve harmful or offensive touching.
Example of Domestic Battery:
A husband and wife get into an argument over a suspicious rise of expenses. As the argument heats up, the man grabs onto his wife’s wrists in a threatening, harsh manner. Although the wife did not sustain injuries, the husband could still be prosecuted for domestic battery due to the harmful or offensive nature of the physical action.
Domestic Battery Related Criminal Offenses
Other similar or related criminal offenses include:
- Assault – (PC 240) California Penal Code Section 240
- Battery – (PC 242) California Penal Code Section 242
- Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury – (PC 243(d)) California Penal Code Section 243(d)
- Sexual Battery – (PC 243.4) California Penal Code Section 243.4
- Intentional Infliction of Corporal Injury – (PC 273.5) California Penal Code Section 273.5
Defenses to Domestic Battery
If a person feels threatened by immediate bodily harm, they are permitted to use physical force to defend themselves. Self-defense is a valid argument that could be raised by prosecution in court.
Wrongful Accusations of Domestic Battery
Occasionally, a person is unintentionally harmed by their domestic partner and files charges for battery. In these cases, the accused could argue accident defense, as the domestic battery statute requires willful and intentional conduct.
False accusations can be common, given the fact that the battery does not require physical injury to be present, and disagreements are part of most domestic dynamics. An efficient defense attorney would attack the false claims to undermine the People’s case.
Penalties for Domestic Battery
Under California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) PC, domestic battery is a misdemeanor that can result in a jail sentence up to one year, expensive fines, court-ordered community service and/or community labor, domestic violence classes (including anger management courses), and protective/stay-away orders. A conviction of these charges could restrict the person from obtaining certain jobs, including caring for children and/or the sick. Also, the person would lose their right to acquire or carry firearms.
Additionally, if a person is then convicted of aggravated domestic battery or intentional infliction of injury on a partner in violation of California Penal Code Section 273.5 PC, they could be sentenced up to four years in prison.
Criminal Defense for Domestic Battery
Domestic violence often results in great emotional distress for both parties involved. If in the heat of the argument, a partner makes false accusations to the police but later comes to regret their actions and would like to withdraw the claim, it might no longer be possible. Prosecutors would most likely proceed with the case even when the victim says he or she wants the charges dropped. This is why we encourage you to meet with an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney if you or a loved one are facing domestic battery charges or would like to press charges.
It is imperative that if you are charged with a Domestic Battery charge (PC 273.5) that you speak with a competent Los Angeles Domestic Battery Attorney as soon as possible. Not doing so can result in a misdemeanor on your criminal record.
For an experienced attorney in your corner, Action Lavitch from Action Defense Lawyers is available 24/7 at (747) DEFEND U or (747) 333-3638. With a proven track record and speaking both English and Spanish, Action Lavitch and the team from Action Defense Lawyers provide skilled legal representation and professional advice. Having an above 90% success rate for clients, Action Defense Lawyers is the go-to for those charged with Domestic Battery (PC 273.5). Book a free consultation today.