Battery is the unlawful and willful touching of another person in a harmful or offensive manner. When battery is committed on a spouse or intimate partner, the crime can be charged as domestic violence under PC 243(e)(1). This includes battery committed against a spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, someone with whom the offender has or had a dating relationship, or the mother or father of the offender’s child.
The battery does not require the victim to suffer a serious injury. Even if the individual suffers no injury, you can still be charged with domestic battery if the allegation is of touching the individual in a harmful or offensive way. This could include shoving someone, throwing an object at another person, or even pulling on someone’s clothes.
A conviction for domestic violence under PC 243(e)(1) will subject you to imprisonment in county jail for up to one year, a fine of up to $2,000, or both imprisonment and fine. In addition, a conviction for domestic battery may require the defendant to participate in a batterer’s treatment program or another counseling program. PC 243(e)(1). You will also be required to enroll and successfully complete a 52-week batterer’s treatment program as defined in Pen C §1203.097.
If a judge grants you probation, you may be required to make payments to a battered women’s shelter of up to $5,000, and pay the costs of counseling for the victim. If you have suffered a prior conviction for PC 243(e)(1), the court will likely require a minimum of 48 hours in jail, unless good cause is shown.
For individuals who are not U.S. citizens, a domestic violence conviction is a deportable crime. Pleading guilty to domestic violence can lead to deportation even if the individual has no prior criminal history.
Additionally, under PC 29805, a conviction under domestic violence under PC 243(e)(1) will prohibit you from possessing any firearm or gun for ten (10) years.
Our legal system is based on the idea that you are innocent until proven guilty. However, anyone who is wrongfully arrested for domestic battery knows that just because you are innocent does not mean you are treated fairly by the police or prosecutors. Even friends and family may turn against someone arrested for domestic violence, assuming they are guilty just because they were arrested. Before pleading guilty to any crime, you should talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Your attorney will investigate your case and identify all available legal defenses to fight your conviction. Many domestic violence cases have little to no physical evidence, only relying on the victim’s version of what happened. Your attorney will be able to challenge the alleged victim, identify inconsistencies, and dispute the alleged victim’s story.
Self-defense is another legal defense against domestic battery charges. If you reasonably believed that you were in danger of being harmed by another person, the use of force to defend yourself may be a defense to domestic battery. Defense of others, such as the defense of your children, is another possible legal defense.
Prosecutors may try and get you to plead guilty in order to get a reduced sentence, even if you are innocent. However, before you give up your right to defend yourself, talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case. Your attorney will fight for you and fight your criminal charges.