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 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.