Domestic Battery Lawyers in Orange County
Any battery charge can potentially lead to severe consequences in Orange County, including jail time.
If the battery is claimed to have occurred in a domestic setting, it is viewed even more harshly by the criminal justice system.
However, domestic battery charges can be difficult to prove and many unprovable charges are often filed.
Sometimes, in the heat and stress of domestic life, good people make bad decisions. It would be very unfortunate if that decision has permanent, negative consequences on your life.
Preparing a strong defense against a domestic battery charge is essential if you want to defend against these serious penalties and potentially harsh long-term consequences.
At The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian, our experienced Orange County domestic battery lawyers will listen to and advocate your side of the story and actively defend your rights and freedoms.
Domestic battery charges in California
Domestic battery is often simply termed “domestic violence” but it is more clearly defined under California Penal Code § 243(e)(1).
In order for the prosecution to sustain a conviction for a domestic battery charge in California, they must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant willfully touched another person,
- The touching was harmful or offensive, and
- The person touched by the defendant was an intimate partner or former intimate partner.
Note that the word “touched” is used. This is important because it differentiates the offense from that of domestic assault, where no physical contact is necessary.
It also makes no mention of how forceful the physical contact needs to be. It is not necessary to “strike” or “hit” and “intimate partner” in order to be charged with domestic battery. The mere touching of that person in a way that was “harmful or offensive” is sufficient. Further, that “touching” can be constructive, such as throwing an object that ends up hitting a person, or causing them to be struck by a car door.
The defendant must intentionally or “willfully” commit the act of touching in order to sustain a conviction for a domestic battery charge.
In domestic battery cases, an “intimate partner” may be a cohabitant, current spouse, ex-spouse, a fiancé, a former or current dating partner, or a co-parent.
Almost all domestic battery charges are prosecuted as misdemeanor offenses. However, at times law enforcement agencies often arrest suspects for felony domestic violence charges under Penal Code § 273.5(a).
Remember, with simple domestic battery cases (which account for most of these charges), no physical injury is required for charges to be filed. With a felony domestic violence charge, on the other hand, a conviction requires proof that a physical injury was inflicted on the victim.
Aggravated battery (where there is a bodily injury) is a “wobbler” offense that may be prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor.
What happens if you are charged with domestic battery in Orange County?
A conviction for domestic battery in Orange County is usually punishable as a misdemeanor and could subject you to:
- A county jail sentence of up to one year, and/or
- A maximum fine of $2,000
- Court and restitution fine fees
- A 52-week Batterer’s Treatment Program
In most cases, if it is your first domestic battery offense (and you have no other criminal record), The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian will fight to persuade the prosecutor and/or the judge to grant informal (or summary) probation instead of jail time.
Probation is usually contingent on the defendant completing domestic violence classes, also called the batterer’s treatment program or another suitable counseling program.
In domestic violence or battery cases, the judge’s first duty is to protect the alleged victim and the public. A thorough investigation will be performed to see if protective orders or restraining orders are warranted by the court.
Can domestic battery charges be dropped?
If there is not enough evidence, the evidence is questionable, or your rights were violated when you were arrested, there is a chance that your case could be dismissed and you will never have to stand trial for domestic battery.
However, bear in mind that even if the person who made the initial complaint wants the charges withdrawn and the case dropped, the decision is taken out of her/his hands after the police are called.
The prosecutors at the District Attorney’s office make the final decision about whether or not to proceed with the case.
Defending a domestic battery charge
Poor decisions can be made in stressful domestic situations, resulting in a domestic battery charge.
Sometimes, however, a claim of domestic battery may be purposely used against an intimate partner to damage their reputation. This situation usually arises in a child custody battle between two divorcing parents.
After reviewing the specific details of your case, Bryan R. Kazarian will generally apply one of the following three defense strategies:
Self-defense/defense of others
It may be argued that you acted in self-defense or the defense of others. This requires:
- A reasonable belief that you or someone else was in imminent danger of suffering bodily injury or being touched unlawfully,
- The immediate use of force was deemed necessary to defend against the danger, and
- An appropriate level of force was used to defend against the danger.
No willful act
Nobody can be found guilty of domestic battery without the intent or mental state required to commit the crime.
Domestic battery requires a “willful” act of touching an intimate partner. Therefore, it may be argued that the force or contact with the alleged victim was an accident.
False accusations of battery are, unfortunately, quite common, but it is important to know that the mere allegation of Domestic Violence could lead to the Orange County District Attorney filing such a charge if the victim has reported such an incident. The statement of a victim is commonly enough of a basis for the filing of these charges.
Context is important in these cases and often, things are said and done in the heat of the moment. While there is never an excuse for violence in the family home, false claims of domestic battery may be made due to anger or jealousy, or out of revenge.
Charged with domestic battery in Orange County?
The prosecution must prove every element beyond a reasonable doubt. This can often be called into question by an experienced domestic battery lawyer.
If you or a loved one have been charged with domestic battery, your best defense is for an attorney from The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian to defend your rights and freedoms.
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