According to California Penal Code 243e1, committing domestic battery against your intimate partner is a criminal offense. According to the statute, an intimate partner is your current or former spouse, your dating partner, or the parent of your child. An intimate partner can also be a person with whom you cohabitate. The law defines domestic battery as touching your intimate partner in an angry or offensive manner. The court can charge you with the offense even if you do not cause injury to the victim. In California, the court charges the offense as a misdemeanor. The penalties for the charge include a prison sentence of up to one year or a maximum fine of $2,000 or both. The court can also sentence you to probation in lieu of the jail term. Fortunately, you can present various defenses against the charges. You can state you acted in self-defense, your actions were not intentional and the accusations leveled against you are false. A conviction for a domestic battery charge can negatively affect your life. Therefore, you should enlist the services of a highly experienced attorney.
Are you facing domestic battery charges in Anaheim? You need to contact a criminal lawyer to help you fight for your right of innocence until proven guilty. At the California Criminal Lawyer Group, we have over 20 years of experience representing clients charged with domestic battery in Anaheim, CA. Please contact us today to speak to any of our highly qualified attorneys. We will endeavor to have your charges reduced or dropped altogether.
Definition of Domestic Battery Charge According to the Law
Domestic battery is part of the broader domestic violence charge, although the two crimes have differing characteristics. Domestic violence incorporates various forms of abuse, including physical abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, and domestic battery. According to California penal code 243e1, domestic battery is unlawfully and willfully touching your intimate partner in an offensive or harmful manner. And your actions were not in self-defense or the defense of another person.
Understanding The Elements Of The Crime In More Detail
The prosecution must prove various elements of the crime before the court finds you liable for the offense. These elements of the crime are facts the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution must prove you acted willfully, you touched the victim in an offensive or harmful manner, and you did not act in self-defense or the defense of others for the court to find you guilty of domestic battery.
What Willfully Means Under The Law
The prosecution must prove you committed the offense willfully. According to the law, you act "willfully" when you are aware of the act and you have not committed it through an accident. Furthermore, the act is not the result of a mistake, inadvertence, or accident.
What The Term Harmful Of Offensive Touching Means Under The Law
Under the law, the prosecutor has to prove you touched the victim in an offensive or harmful manner. However, the prosecution does not have to prove you caused any physical harm during the alteration. Offensively touching your intimate partner is sufficient for the prosecution to charge you with the offense. Under the law, the court can find you liable for the offense even if you lightly touch the alleged victim. Provided you touch them rudely and angrily.
For example, you engage in a heated argument with your wife. In the course of the argument, your wife becomes angry and shoves you. However, you are much stronger than her. Therefore, you do not move an inch and you do not suffer any injuries. In such a case, you could sue your wife for domestic battery. Although your wife did not cause you any injuries, she shoved or touched you angrily and violently.
Remember, the court can also find you liable even if you do not directly touch the victim. You can be liable for the offense if you touched another object or person and the object or person touched the victim.
For example, you and your fiancé live in California. You start arguing at the dinner table while having breakfast. Your fiancé launches at you due to anger, but they miss and do not touch you. However, as they leap towards you, they knock over the butler who is passing nearby, and he falls on you.
In such a case, even though your fiance did not touch you directly, the court can find them liable for domestic battery because they caused the butler to fall on you. The court can charge your fiancé with the offense even if you do not sustain any physical injuries, were not harmed, or even if the physical contact between you and the butler was minimal.
You are at the same diner table, and an argument ensues between you and your fiance. Instead of the butler falling on you, your fiance knocks over a cup that hits you. In such a case, the court could charge them with domestic battery. Although your fiance did not touch you directly, the cup they knocked over hit you. In such a case, the court could also charge your fiancé with domestic violence because the cup touched you. Your fiancee could be liable for the crime even if you did not sustain any physical injuries, were not harmed, or if the cup made minimal physical contact.
What Does Intimate Partner Mean Under Domestic Battery Law?
According to California Penal Code 243e1, an intimate partner is a spouse or former spouse, a person with whom you are living together, a person with whom you are engaged, or you were previously engaged. An intimate partner also includes the parent of your child, any person with whom you have or had a sexual relationship. Or a person whom you are dating or have ever dated. An intimate partner can be of the same gender or opposite gender. Under the statute, a person with whom you are cohabiting can also be an intimate partner. Under the law, you become a cohabitant if you live with a person you are not related to for a prolonged time and the time you have lived together creates some form of permanency. Under the law, you can cohabit with two or more people simultaneously.
Defenses You Can Present Against Domestic Violence Charges
Fortunately, you can present various defenses against domestic battery charges in California. But remember, the charges can have adverse consequences on your life. Therefore, you should enlist the services of a highly experienced criminal attorney. In your defense, you can state you acted in self-defense or the defense of others, did not commit the offense willingly, and the accusations are false.
You Acted In Self Defense Or The Defense Of Others
You can state you committed the offense while defending yourself or another person. However, you have to demonstrate you believed you were in imminent danger. You also have to prove to the court you believed only the use of force could stop the danger. You should also show you used the appropriate level of force to stop the danger while defending yourself or others.
For example, Joan and Griffins have been married for five years. However, Griffin’s business has not been performing well over the last few years. As a result, he has become depressed and violent. One day, he starts to beat their four-year-old son Jonathan. Joan, his wife, is in the room and pushes Griffin away from their son to prevent him from further beating Jonathan. Griffin falls and hits his head on the table when Joan pushes him away from the son.
In such a case, Joan can defend herself and state she acted to defend her son if the husband accuses her of domestic violence. She could argue her actions were justified and that the husband could continue inflicting pain on the son had she not stopped him. She could further state she used reasonable force to stop the attack.
You Did Not Commit The Offense Willfully
Remember, the prosecution has to prove you acted willfully for the court to find you liable for the offense. Therefore you can argue you did not commit the offense on purpose. You can state the incident was an accident.
It Is A False Accusation
You can also state the accusations leveled against you are false. Unfortunately, people have various motives which can lead them to make false accusations against you. They can falsely accuse you due to anger, desire for revenge, jealousy, or similar circumstances.
Penalties For Contravening Penal Code 243e1
Under California law, contravening penal code 243e1 is charged as a misdemeanor. The judge could sentence you to one year in county jail instead of prison. The judge can also charge you a fine of $2000 or both. The court may also sentence you to misdemeanor probation instead of sending you to serve time in jail. If the court sentences you to probation, you must adhere to the conditions of probation.
One of the conditions includes attending a batterer intervention program. If the program is not available, you must attend a similar counseling program. The court may also issue a restraining order depending on the circumstances of the case. The restraining order makes it illegal for you to contact the victim. It also becomes an offense to threaten, harass or harm the alleged victim once the court issues the restraining order.
What Does The Batter’s Intervention Program Entail In California?
In California, domestic battery is one of the crimes classified under domestic violence. Under the law, the court sentences you to a minimum of three years probation if convicted of the offense. One of the probation conditions is that you must attend a batterer’s intervention program. Under the program, you have to attend the two hours meeting, which takes place every week at a specified counseling center. You must also successfully attend and complete the program, which runs for eighteen months. The purpose of the program is to help you desist from committing domestic battery. The program focuses on the causes of domestic violence, the effects the vice has on victims, and the changes you must enhance to stop the battery. The program also promotes the use of non-violent ways to resolve conflicts.
The program’s curriculum integrates counseling, education, and anger management classes. Mental health professionals facilitate the program. The main purpose of the facilitators is to prevent the reoccurrence of domestic battery and help you build a better relationship with your intimate partner, therefore, stopping or reducing domestic violence prevalence.
You can only be absent a maximum of three times during the course of the program. You will also have to show good cause to justify your absenteeism. Under the parole’s conditions, the judge may require you to prove you have enrolled in the program. You will also have to cater to the program's cost. However, the cost of the program depends on your financial position.
What Does The Batterer Intervention Curriculum Entail?
The curriculum mainly focuses on the cause of domestic violence and its effect on the victims and children. It also entails strategies through which you can stop the vice. The program combines counseling and education, where you learn in lectures, classes, group discussions, and one-on-one counseling. Under the program, you will learn various domestic violence types, including domestic battery, and how you can stop the vice. You will learn of the effects of domestic battery on the victim and the children. You will also have to undergo a progress report at specific intervals during the program. Finally, the facilitators will conduct a final evaluation. You must also attend the sessions free of any drug or alcohol influence. The law requires you to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The agreement states you cannot share any information you learn or obtain while in the program. If you complete the program, the facilitators will award you a certificate of completion.
What Are The Consequences Of Dropping Out Of The Batterer Intervention Program?
Remember, the batterer intervention program is a parole condition. Therefore, you must follow the requirements of the program to the letter. If you fail to complete the program, the court may revoke your probation, issue an arrest warrant, and impose fines. The court can either sentence you to a felony or misdemeanor probation in California. A probation sentencing is preferable since you may not have to serve time in jail for your offense. However, the court can modify, change or revoke the probation’s conditions if you do not follow these conditions to the letter. Therefore, the court may charge a fine for violating the parole’s conditions. Furthermore, the court may decide to revoke the probation and sentence you to jail, and enact any other domestic battery-related penalties.
Other Terms Of Probation To Addition Of Batterer Intervention Program For Domestic Battery Charge
Apart from attending the batterer intervention program, the court may also set other conditions for your probation. The court may also issue you a protective order. As the name suggests, the order protects the victim from further attack, harm, harassment, stalking, or contact from you as the perpetrator. The court may also require you to participate in community service. The judge may also direct you to pay the victim restitution of not less than $500.
Consequences Of A Domestic Battery Conviction To A Non-Citizen
Since the law classifies domestic battery as a misdemeanor, the charge does not carry negative immigration consequences. California law classifies offenses into two categories in regards to immigration consequences. Certain crimes under the law carry negative immigration consequences, while others do not affect your immigration status.
Therefore, if the court convicts you of domestic battery, the authorities cannot deport you on the grounds of the offense. The authorities cannot also mark you as non-admissible. The state marks you as non-admissible if you commit a deportable crime. If you become non-admissible, you can not re-enter the country under any circumstances. Deportation means the authorities forcefully remove you from the United States and take you back to your home country.
Is A Domestic Violence Charge Permanent On Your Criminal Record?
In California, the court can expunge the domestic battery charge from your criminal record. However, this will only happen if you serve your jail sentence or complete the probation, depending on the court's sentence upon your conviction. Under the law, an expungement means you re-enter your plea and change it from guilty or no contest to a not guilty plea. Once you enter the not guilty plea, the offense is removed from your criminal record. When this happens, potential employers will not see any criminal record when they conduct a background check.
Will A Domestic Battery Criminal Record Affect Your Gun Rights?
Although domestic battery is a misdemeanor, it will still hurt your gun rights. According to the law, you cannot own or possess a gun for the next ten years if the court convicts you of the crime. Penal code 29805 stipulates the offenses under which it becomes a crime to own or possess a gun if convicted of these specific crimes. Under the law, domestic battery is one of the crimes which leads to the suspension of your right to own a firearm.
What Happens If The Alleged Victim Wants To Withdraw The Charges.
The alleged victim may decide they no longer want to press charges. They may decide to withdraw the legal suit against you and claim the incident never occurred. Despite the accuser's recantation or withdrawal of the case, the prosecution may proceed with the case against you and continue to press charges. The prosecution takes these steps on the assumption that the accuser is dropping the charges not of their free will but due to coercion by you as the abuser. The prosecution can assume you are strong-arming the complainant to drop the case through threats or other means.
Understanding The Difference Between Corral Injury On A Spruce And Domestic Battery
The charge of corporal injury and domestic violence is very similar, with one key difference. Under Penal Code 243e1, the court can charge you with domestic battery even if you do not cause any injury to the victim. On the other hand, the court will charge you under penal code 273.5 with corporal injury if you cause injury to the victim in the cause of domestic battery. Therefore the difference between the two crimes is causing injury to your intimate partner.
Corporal injury is a wobbler offense, unlike a domestic battery, a misdemeanor. A wobbler offense means the prosecution can charge the crime as a felony or a misdemeanor. If the court convicts you of corporal injury, the judge could sentence you to a maximum of one year in county jail, charge you a maximum fine of $6,000, or both. If the court charges the offense as a felony, the judge could sentence you to three or four years in prison, charge you a maximum fine of $6,000, or both.
Call a Criminal Attorney Near Me
Domestic battery charges can negatively affect your personal and professional life. Therefore, it is paramount to enlist the services of a highly qualified attorney to help you fight the charges. The court will charge you with the offense if the prosecution proves various elements of the crime. The prosecution has to prove you acted willfully and you did not commit the offense in self-defense or the defense of others. Remember, the court can also find you liable for the offense even if you do not cause injury to the victim. Luckily, you can present various defenses against the charges. You can state you acted in self-defense, you did not commit the crime intentionally, and that the accusations leveled against you are false.
Therefore, you need to enlist the services of a highly experienced attorney since the law covering domestic battery is complicated. At California Criminal Lawyer Group, we have highly experienced attorneys who have helped many clients charged with domestic battery in Anaheim defend their rights. If you or your loved one needs help in fighting domestic violence charges in Anaheim, do not hesitate to contact us at 714-766-0965.