Los Angeles Domestic Battery Attorney
Have you been arrested for domestic battery in Los Angeles? A domestic violence conviction can have severe consequences, including time behind bars, probation, and expensive fines. A judge can also issue a restraining order that prevents you from contacting or visiting your family. You might even lose custody of your children. You can protect your future by deciding the fight the criminal charges with a strong defense.
Contact The Rodriguez Law Group for immediate legal assistance. Our criminal defense team has more than two decades of experience handling these complex criminal matters. We know that your future is at stake and will do everything we can to protect it. Call to schedule your free consultation today.
California Domestic Battery – Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC
Domestic battery, as defined in Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC, is a commonly charged crime of domestic violence. The crime occurs when you commit a battery, as defined in 242 PC, against someone with whom you share a close relationship. The victim in a domestic battery must be a:
- Spouse (current or former)
- Person with whom you cohabitate
- A parent of your child
- Fiancee (current or former), or
- Dating partner (current or former).
Simply put, domestic battery is the crime of intentionally touching another person in a harmful and offensive manner when you share a special or intimate relationship with that person.
Elements of Domestic Battery
You cannot be convicted of domestic battery unless the state can prove that you’re guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The state must prove each of the following elements of the crime to do this:
- You acted willfully
- You touched the victim in a harmful or offensive manner, and
- You and the victim shared a close relationship, as defined in 243(e)(1) PC, and
These elements are all of equal importance. The state’s case against you cannot be successful if the state cannot prove each of these things.
Domestic battery requires that you act willfully. Willful behavior occurs when you do something on purpose. You don’t necessarily have to have the intent to break the law or hurt another person.
Example: Dan raises his hand in anger at his wife. He does not intend to harm her physically. However, his hand makes contact with her during the abrupt movement. His actions will be considered willful since he intended to raise his hand.
Harmful or Offensive Touching
There’s a common misconception that a battery must cause a noticeable physical injury. This simply isn’t true. A battery can occur with even the slightest touch. The important consideration is that the contact is considered harmful or offensive. Harmful contact will cause an injury. Offensive contact will offend another person’s sense of dignity. Touching can be done directly (with a part of your body) or indirectly (with an object).
A victim of domestic battery can, but does not have to, exhibit visible signs of physical injury. When this happens, you will most likely be charged with a more serious crime. Specifically, you may be charged with corporal injury to a spouse.
Close Relationship With the Victim
The crime of domestic battery requires that you share a special relationship with the victim. The state has to define your relationship and prove that it qualifies under 243(e)(1) PC.
- Spouse: A person to whom you are legally married.
- Former Spouse: A person to whom you used to be legally married.
- Fiancee: A person to whom you are engaged to be married.
- Former Fiancee: A person to whom you used to be engaged to be married.
- Child’s Parent: The other person with whom you created a child.
- Cohabitant: A person with whom you live but are not related (e.g., domestic partners, roommates, joint property owners).
- Dating Partner: A person with whom you share a romantic or sexual relationship.
- Former Dating Partner: A person with whom you used to share a romantic or sexual relationship.
You cannot be convicted of domestic battery if you and the victim do not have one of these very specific relationships.
Penalties for Domestic Battery in Los Angeles
A conviction for domestic battery can have severe criminal and non-criminal consequences.
Domestic battery is classified as a misdemeanor in California. Penalties for this crime of domestic violence can include:
- A maximum of one year in a Los Angeles County jail;
- Criminal fines; and/or
Probation is frequently imposed as a penalty in domestic battery cases, particularly for first-time offenders. The length of your probation will often depend on the severity of your crime. Requirements of probation can include:
- Successful completion of a batterer’s treatment program;
- Restitution to the victim
- Drug and/or alcohol treatment programs
- Mandatory donation of $5,000 to a battered woman’s shelter, and/or
- Community service.
The duration and terms of your probation will be custom-tailored to fit your specific crime and rehabilitative needs. If you have at least one prior domestic battery conviction, you’ll also be required to spend a minimum of 48 hours behind bars.
A conviction for domestic violence can have immediate and long-lasting consequences. Your conviction will linger and affect your life long after you’ve satisfied your criminal sentence. The primary reason for this is your criminal record. The fact that you’ve been convicted of a crime will make you vulnerable to collateral consequences. These are civil and social penalties that exist because you have a record.
Collateral consequences of a domestic battery conviction can include:
- Job loss
- Difficulty finding employment
- Prohibitions on working in certain fields, including healthcare and education
- Restraining orders
- Adverse child custody decisions, and
- Deportation and/or other immigration consequences.
Many times, these collateral consequences can be more devastating than the criminal penalties imposed by the court.
Defending Allegations of Domestic Battery
Remember, you cannot be convicted of domestic battery unless the state can prove that you’re guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high burden of proof. You can make the state’s job much more difficult by asserting a strong and persuasive defense. Defenses that can be used in your domestic battery case can include:
- You did not physically touch the victim
- You and the victim do not share a special relationship, as required by 243(e)(1) PC
- Physical contact was made, but it was not harmful nor offensive
- The victim consented to the touching
- You were acting in defense of yourself or another person
- Your actions were not willful, or
- You have been falsely accused or mistakenly identified.
Do you believe the state has gathered evidence against you in violation of your rights? You can challenge its validity and prevent it from being used against you. At The Rodriguez Law Group, our attorneys will carefully review all evidence in your case and file a motion to suppress any that has been tainted by illegal state activity.
If the motion is successful, the state will be prohibited from using that evidence in its case. As a result, they may be forced to consider a plea or drop the charges.
Los Angeles Domestic Battery Defense Lawyers
Domestic battery is a serious crime. Hiring an attorney to defend you will help you to secure the very best outcome in your criminal case. Contact our Los Angeles domestic battery attorneys to schedule a free consultation. We’ll review your case, explain your rights, and answer any questions you have. The state will begin to build its case against you right away. Call to get started on your defense today.