Under California’s domestic violence law, Penal Code § 243(e)(1), domestic battery is any willful and unlawful touching that is harmful or offensive, committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, former spouse, fiancé, or fiancée, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship.
Violent language that threatens physical harm or death is a behavior often associated with domestic violence. Physical violence, such as shoving, punching, beating, or slapping, and psychological abuse, such as repeatedly humiliating, attacking self-esteem, or insulting, as well as physical or cyber stalking are behaviors common to domestic violence.
A defendant can be convicted of domestic battery, even without the victim sustaining an injury. California Criminal Jury Instructions § 841 warns that the slightest touching can be enough to commit battery if done in a rude or angry way. If you touch another person through his or her clothing, the contact alone can be considered battery. The touching does not have to cause the victim any pain or injury to be considered a battery.
If the alleged victim of domestic violence does not press charges, California law enforcement agencies have the right to go forward and press charges. Prosecutors can charge domestic violence as a misdemeanor or felony offense.
Domestic battery is punishable by a fine, not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a country jail for a period of not more than one year, or by both the fine and imprisonment, according to Penal Code §243(e)(1).
Penal Code § 273.5, states that any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim (offender’s spouse/former spouse, offender’s cohabitant/former cohabitant, offender’s fiancé/fiancée, or someone with whom the offender has, or previously had, an engagement or dating relationship, the mother or father of the offender’s child) is guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of up to six thousand dollars ($6,000) or by both the fine and imprisonment.
Penalties and punishments can vary depending upon the facts surrounding your case, your past criminal history, the severity of the injury sustained, and more. At Bay Area Criminal Lawyers, PC, our attorneys will investigate the charges against you, examine the evidence, and explore potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. In many situations, a felony offense may be reduced to a misdemeanor offense, making the penalties and punishment the accused faces less harsh. No matter what your circumstances are, contact us to speak with a qualified attorney, familiar with domestic violence cases and defenses. Call us today so we can work with you to secure a positive outcome.