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California Domestic Battery Laws

Battery is an intentional and illegal use of force or violence on the body of another person. It is not important that there is an injury. Even if there is no injury a person may be charged with the offense of battery if they use force or violence on the body of another person.

If you touch someone offensively it can be treated as battery. If you throw something at someone, it can be considered as an offense of battery. If you spit on the body of another person, it can also be charged under battery statutes.

Domestic battery refers to unlawful and wilful use of force or violence against an intimate partner. Such an act is considered as an act of Domestic Violence in the State of California.

Who is an Intimate Partner?

Domestic or Spousal Battery is defined under 243(e)(1) of the California Penal Code. The section defines domestic battery as battery committed against the following category of people:

  1. Spouse, or
  2. A person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, or
  3. A person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, or
  4. Former spouse, or
  5. Fiancé, or fiancée, or
  6. A person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had a dating or engagement relationship.
What is the Punishment for Domestic Battery?

Under the California law, domestic battery is a misdemeanour. Such crimes are punishable with an imprisonment of up to 1 year in a county jail or a fine of up to $2,000 or both.

Can Angrily Pushing Your Partner Land You in Jail?

Yes. For battery to be charged, it is not important for the other party to sustain injury. If you use force on the body an intimate partner, you can be charged with the offense of battery. Pushing your partner is a kind of domestic battery.

Can Slapping your Spouse Land You in Jail?

Yes. Slapping someone comes within the purview of use of force on the body of another person. It is and could be charged as battery. You can be arrested and face charges for slapping someone. It is not important that the victim suffers injury. The essential ingredient is wilful and intentional use of force or violence.

In our office, we see the crime of domestic battery charged by husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends and even people who have only been intimate on occasion. Grabbing, smacking, pushing, or shoving someone can constitute a battery.

What are the Rules for Probation in Domestic Battery Cases?

Under this section probation can be granted in lieu of imprisonment or fine. The section prescribes the following conditions that have to be fulfilled to get probation under this section:

  1. Section 243(e)(1) prescribes that if probation is granted or the sentence is suspended, the offender must attend and complete a batterer’s treatment program for a period of 1 year.
  2. If probation is granted, the court may ask the offender to make payment to battered women’s shelter up to $5,000 or to reimburse the victim for the cost of counsel and other reasonable expense.
What are the General Defences That are Available to a Person Charged With Domestic Battery?

The following defences are available to a person charged under this section:

  1. One can contest and claim that they have acted in self-defence. A person claiming that they acted in self-defence must prove that they thought that there is an imminent danger and they in their mind believed that use of such force was necessary to tackle such danger.
  2. One can contest by stating the act or incident was caused by an accident. The act was not intentional.
  3. One can contest that they are being falsely implicated.

We see charges of Domestic Violence Battery ever day in the court houses throughout Southern California. If you are charged with this crime it is critical that you hire an experienced lawyer to defend you.

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