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California Domestic Battery Attorney – Penal Code 243(e)(1)

Can My Rights Law’s Domestic Battery Attorney Help Reduce The Consequences Of My Charge?

The consequences of a battery crime can be serious and follow you for the rest of your life, especially if you did not respond correctly at the onset. An experienced domestic violence lawyer will defend and protect your rights. My Rights Law have a long track record of success. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call (888) 702-8882 or reach out through our secure web form.

What Is Domestic Battery?

According to California Law, California Penal Code Section 243(E) defines domestic battery when force or violence is used against a spouse, former spouse, fiance, partner, ex-partner, or the parent of your child.

In the United States, there are approximately 10 million victims of domestic violence every year. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, there were about 167,000 domestic violence-related calls to law enforcement in California in 2018. Additionally, domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 13 calls every minute.

Several statutes in California deal with domestic battery-related crimes. For example, California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) deals with simple misdemeanor domestic battery, which is described above. In contrast, California Penal Code 273.5 deals with corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant, which is more severe than general domestic battery charges and requires the victim to suffer physical harm.

Elements Of Domestic Battery PC 243(e)(1)

For a prosecutor to successfully prosecute a defendant for domestic battery under California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1), the prosecutor must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt [1]:

  1. The defendant willfully touched someone,
  2. The touching was in a harmful or offensive manner, and
  3. The victim was an intimate partner of the defendant.

Willful Touching

A willful touching means purposely or willingly.[2] It does not mean that someone was injured incidentally. So, for example, if a significant other pushes something down the stairs, not knowing their partner is at the bottom, and it hits and hurts them, that is not domestic violence because it was not willful.

Harmful Or Offensive Touching

Under this element, a prosecutor must show that the defendant touched someone in a harmful or offensive way. The prosecutor does not need to show the touch hurt the victim or caused a physical injury[3]. However, a slight touch is enough for domestic violence to be committed if it is done offensively.[4] For example, if an individual pushes their significant other during an argument even if it does not hurt them, that can rise to domestic violence.

What Are The Penalties Of A Domestic Battery Conviction?

There are two types of domestic battery charges; however, they are both considered “wobblers.” A wobbler is a crime that allows the prosecutor to use their discretion in charging someone with either a misdemeanor or felony.

Simple Domestic Battery Charges

Most domestic violence charges are filed as misdemeanors resulting in up to four years in prison, a $6,000 fine, or both. If the defendant has previous convictions for domestic violence within seven years, they may receive more prison time and fines as high as $10,000.

In addition to jail and fines, if someone is prosecuted for domestic violence, they will likely receive probation for a minimum of three years and a restraining order. A restraining order may be a level one that allows for peaceful contact with the victim. Still, a complete stay-away contact order is likely imposed prohibiting contact with the victim. Moreover, domestic violence offenders will be required to complete a 52-week “batterer’s intervention program” and community service hours as a condition of probation.

Corporal Domestic Battery Charges

Type of Conviction For Corporal Domestic Battery Penalty
Misdemeanor
  • Up to one year in jail and/or
  • A fine of up to $6,000
Felony
  • Two to four years in prison and/or
  • A fine of up to $6,000
A conviction within 7 years of a conviction for corporal injury on a spouse
  • Up to one year in jail, or
  • Two to five years in prison and/or
  • A fine of up to $10,000
A conviction within 7 years of a conviction for battery on a spouse
  • Up to one year in jail, or
  • Two to four years in prison and/or
  • A fine of up to $10,000

What Are The Defenses For Domestic Battery PC 243(e)(1)?

A common defense that most people have heard of is self-defense or defense of others. This defense is valid if all of the following occurred:

  • You reasonably believed that you or someone else was in imminent danger of suffering bodily harm.[5]
  • You reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against the danger, and
  • You used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against the imminent danger.

For example, if your significant other points a gun at you or your child, you likely have a solid defense if you shoot them in self-defense or defend someone else. The prosecution will drop the domestic battery charge.

Second, you did not act willfully. An element of assault is that you willfully acted. If you accidentally assaulted someone, you cannot be held liable for the crime. For example, if you are moving fast and hit your partner in the face with your hand as long as you did not mean to touch them, you cannot be charged with domestic battery.

Statute Of Limitations For Domestic Battery

A statute of limitations limits how long someone can be convicted for a crime. The statute of limitations for domestic battery is three years from the incident. If the offense is not brought within three years of the occurrence, it cannot be prosecuted. Therefore, it is essential to know what the statute of limitations is. If someone wrongly accuses you of domestic violence five years after you broke up, you can have the charges dropped before spending a lot of money litigating a case.

My Rights Law’s Domestic Battery Lawyers

It is everyone’s responsibility to avoid the type of abusive behavior that may lead to a domestic violence charge. That being said, if you are facing criminal charges, a domestic battery lawyer can help you take the steps to protect yourself from a domestic violence conviction.

In domestic violence cases, prior to an arrest, the police listen to the account of the alleged victim concerning the incident, document any injuries, and ultimately decide which person is the actual abuser or attacker according to domestic violence laws. Domestic violence restraining orders may be filed by the alleged victim. If you are arrested, it is important to be prepared by having a domestic battery attorney on your side. A domestic battery lawyer can present any evidence in your favor to help you avoid charges or get your case thrown out. If you need a California domestic battery lawyer, contact our law firm today for a free consultation.

Call My Rights Law Today

If you have been charged with domestic violence, you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. The domestic battery lawyers at My Rights Law understand the law, process, and prosecution’s tactics to help protect your rights and interests. Call (888) 702-8882 or leave a message on our online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

FOOTNOTES
[1] California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1).
[2] CALCRIM No. 841.
[3] See CALCRIM No. 841. See also People v. Francis A. (2019) 40 Cal. App. 5th 399.
[4] CALCRIM No. 841.
[5] CALCRIM No. 3470.

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