When you are accused of physically injuring a family member, former cohabitant, or other person in a domestic relationship with you, you may face serious penalties that can impact your future. Being accused of domestic battery or domestic violence can leave you reeling, especially as this charge often involves a close relation or loved one.
But you do not have to handle accusations of domestic battery or violence alone. Reach out to an attorney at Elite Criminal Defense to learn more about the charges you’re facing and your legal options.
Under California’s Penal Code Section 243, domestic battery refers to any type of force being used on a cohabitant, spouse, other parent of your child, or person you currently or previously dated.
Visible injuries are not required to be charged with domestic battery. For example, if your ex-spouse claims you shoved them, they do not have to show bruises or marks for charges to be brought against you, though more severe charges may be included if they are injured.
Domestic violence covers a wide swath of charges, including domestic battery, but what does Penal Code 13700 PC have to say? This section of the state criminal code specifies that domestic violence includes any abuse against a partner or former partner where one of the following happened:
If you are accused of committing domestic violence, you may be facing additional, related charges. For example, if you are accused of physically harming your current or former romantic partner, you may face accusations of corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant.
Keep in mind as well that some domestic violence charges are “wobblers” — meaning they can be misdemeanors or felonies. If you are unsure about these charges or the penalties you are facing, talk to our team about your case and legal options.
If you are convicted of domestic battery or another domestic violence-related crime in California, the penalties you face can vary widely, from fines and probation to serious time in prison.
The exact penalties you’re facing depend on the precise charges and the details of your case. We’ll summarize some of the potential penalties below, but a trusted criminal defense attorney at our firm can help you understand the specific of your case.
If you face a misdemeanor charge (such as domestic battery), you may at first assume that the penalties won’t be severe. But here’s the truth:
You may be sentenced up to one year of jail time in the county jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
For most people, a year behind bars and fines in the thousands of dollars are pretty serious. The point? Don’t ignore your charge just because it’s a misdemeanor.
Domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony in California. If you’re charged with a felony, you could face up to $10,000 in fines and as long as five years in prison (longer under certain circumstances).
As if incarceration and high fines aren’t enough, you may also suffer the non-criminal repercussions of a felony conviction. Those can include damage to your reputation, loss of gun rights, inability to secure housing, and trouble finding a job.
When you are accused of both domestic battery and domestic violence, or one but not the other, you may be confused about the difference. What is the difference between domestic violence and battery? The answer lies in the legal definitions of these two criminal offenses.
Namely, domestic battery requires some use of force against the alleged victim. This can be as minor as a shove. No physical injury is required under this definition.
Meanwhile, domestic violence requires that the alleged victim has suffered an injury as a result of the incident in question.
Also, domestic battery is a misdemeanor in California. And domestic violence can be either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances.
You may have a combination of different charges being leveled against you. Talk with your attorney about your best options moving forward.
When accused of domestic violence or battery, you need a strong defense strategy before entering the courtroom. Without the right legal strategy, you may flounder in court, leading to a conviction that haunts you for years to come.
Unsure about your defense options? Talk to your lawyer. They have the tools you need to take action and build the proper defense for your case.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the common defenses used against domestic battery and domestic violence charges.
If a family member or domestic partner tries to harm you, you may have no choice but to fight back. Preventing harm to yourself or someone else, like a child, can save lives, but you may have been arrested in the confusion and aftermath.
A defense attorney who can gather evidence to help show that you only harmed another person because inaction would have led to further harm.
Sometimes, accidents happen. You may have been involved in an argument with a family member; in the argument, they slipped and injured themselves. Whether they falsely accused you or someone else witnessed and misread the situation, you may have been arrested and charged with domestic violence.
But if the situation was truly an accident, you didn’t willfully commit the crime you’re accused of. An experienced defense attorney can use this defense to great effect.
The allegations against you may simply not be true. For example, you may have a vengeful former spouse trying to gain full custody of your children or otherwise take revenge on you. Unfortunately, you may have been arrested on their word.
In these cases, you may need a lawyer’s help to prove you could not have been the one at fault for their injuries or the battery they claim happened. Talk to your lawyer about gathering evidence in your defense.
Thanks to our legal system, you don’t simply get accused of domestic battery and then go straight to jail. The prosecution has to prove that you committed the crime.
But how do they do that?
They have to show that the following elements were present in the incident in question:
Strong defenses to the charge of domestic battery will focus on disproving one of those elements. And if the prosecution is unable to prove those elements, you are unlikely to be convicted of domestic battery in California.
Domestic battery is never a felony. In California, it’s always a misdemeanor.
However, various related crimes, including domestic violence are either felonies or “wobblers,” meaning they can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors depending on the situation.
Domestic battery and domestic violence often come with separate but related charges. That’s often because the incidents that can lead to these charges are chaotic and complicated.
Unfortunately, you may be found guilty of multiple criminal charges if you do not fight back. A defense attorney can help you understand all of your charges and the best way to fight them.
Let’s take a look at some charges often linked to domestic battery and domestic violence in California.
Corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant refers to cases where you are accused of inflicting intentional injury on an intimate partner or cohabitant. This offense differs from domestic battery because the alleged victim must actually have been injured.
That often means there will be some physical signs of harm to the victim related to this charge. A black eye, bruises, lacerations, broken bones, and more may be evidence against you.
Aggravated battery occurs when someone has committed battery that leads to severe bodily injury. While not specifically a domestic crime, aggravated battery can occur in domestic situations that also lead to domestic battery or domestic violence charges.
The cohabitant in your situation may be an older relative currently staying or living with you because they cannot take care of themselves. In these cases, you may be charged with elder abuse if someone claims you are inflicting physical, verbal, or mental abuse on them or neglecting them.
Noncitizens living in California may face additional penalties for domestic battery or domestic violence. Even for a misdemeanor conviction, there may be immigration consequences up to and including deportation.
That means it’s incredibly important to mount a thorough defense against your charge. Avoiding a conviction could mean your immigration status remains intact.
Without any action on your part, a domestic violence or domestic battery conviction may remain on your record forever. But these and related charges may be eligible for expungement under certain circumstances and after you have completed your probation or incarceration.
If you are convicted of domestic battery or domestic violence, you may be unable to own a gun for 10 years. That’s thanks to the rules set forth by Penal Code 29805 PC.
While your accuser may want to drop the charges, whether that is because you are still in a dating relationship or they do not want to carry on with the case, you may not be out of trouble. The prosecutor can choose to continue on with your case, regardless of your accuser’s wishes.
Domestic battery is typically defined as offensive physical touch on a family member, former spouse, or current intimate partner. No injury is required for you to be charged with domestic battery; you can be charged with domestic battery for a light shove under the right circumstances.In fact, if there is a physical injury, you’re likely facing a different or additional charge, such as corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant.
Domestic battery, domestic violence, and related charges can impact your life for years. Even false accusations can lead to jail time and a long legal battle ahead. When you are involved in a criminal case after a domestic partner or other family member accuses you of abuse, you need an attorney you can trust.
If you face a domestic battery PC 243(e)(1) & domestic violence PC 13700 charge, a San Diego criminal defense attorney at our law firm can help.
Contact Elite Criminal Defense about your situation and legal options. We offer consultations when you call 619-642-2310 or fill out our online contact form.
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