WHAT IS DOMESTIC BATTERY?
California Penal Code 243(e) (1) sets forth the crime of Domestic Battery. Domestic battery is an aggravated form of a simple battery as discussed in other sections. A §243(e)(1) violation is a combination of a simple battery as defined by §242, paired with the victim being a cohabitant of the Defendant, a spouse, the Defendant’s child, fiancé, fiancée, a person the Defendant is or was dating, and ex-spouses. As fully set forth in the article about battery, battery consists of (1) a physical contact with the “person” of another, a willful act which caused the physical contact, and a determination that the physical contact was harmful or offensive. It is irrelevant if the victim is actually hurt, though it would make the Prosecution’s case much easier to prove. The domestic battery offense consists of all those acts involved in simple battery, and a victim who falls into the category set out above.
There are many ways someone could be exposed to a criminal charge of domestic battery under California Penal Code §243(e) (1), some of those ways are included below:
• During a particularly heated argument between a boyfriend and girlfriend, the girlfriend wraps her hands around her boyfriend and strangles him.
• A man, who is agitated with his ex-wife, grabs her arm to keep her from walking away, leaving a bruise on her arm.
• A homosexual man is furious that his boyfriend went out to the club and cheated on him with a complete stranger, so he punches him in the face and busts his lip.
In order to be convicted of domestic battery, the Prosecution must prove 3 elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
1. You acted willfully in touching another person.
2. The touching was either harmful, or offensive.
3. The victim of the harmful or offensive touching was an intimate partner, or a previous intimate partner.
Since the Prosecutor will have to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt, it is important to understand every element involved in the charge. The attorneys at Orange County Criminal Attorney have experience dealing with all sorts of criminal charges, including charges for domestic battery. Utilizing their expertise in criminal defense OCCA attorney will effectively advocate for a dismissal of the charges against, a reduction in the charge against you down to simple battery, or if necessary, for a lesser penalty against you.
WHAT DOES “WILLFULLY” MEAN IN A DOMESTIC BATTERY CONTEXT?
The first element that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt is that the Defendant acted willfully. Willfully in this context means that the Defendant meant to do the act that resulted in the physical contact; it doesn’t matter whether or not the defendant intended to cause harm or anything else. It only matters that the Defendant’s conduct was voluntary and intentional. In order to prove the willful element of this crime, the Prosecution will have to show that the Defendant intentionally engaged in conduct that by its very nature is foreseeable to result in harmful or offensive physical contact with another person’s body. Similarly stated, the conduct the Defendant was engaged in was likely to result and negative consequences. Battery is a general intent crime, the only intent the Defendant needs is the intent to do the action.
Julia was having dinner at a sushi bar in downtown San Diego when Joey, who was sitting at the bar next to her, started crying. Julia, being a compassionate woman, wanted to comfort Joey, so she gave him a hug. Julia is probably not guilty of a battery because a hug is not harmful or offensive. However for purposes of the element of acting willfully, Julia satisfied that element of battery because she willfully engaged in the conduct that caused the physical contact with Joey.
WHAT IS “HARMFUL OR OFFENSIVE TOUCHING” IN THE DOMESTIC BATTERY CONTEXT?
Another element, which the Prosecution is required to convince the jury of beyond a reasonable doubt is that the physical contact with the victim was also harmful or offensive; this could be rude, and angry, or hostile. As mentioned above, a battery doesn’t require that the victim actually be injured, although if they are, it will make the Prosecution’s case very simple.
Clark and Joey have been roommates for 10 years, one day after Joey beat Clark at Madden 25, Clark through his controller at Joey. This is sufficient to form the basis of a domestic battery charge against Clark because there was a harmful or offensive touching, which was caused by Clark’s willful conduct. Remember from the battery section, battery can occur through indirect means, such as throwing an object and having that object connect with the person of another.
Bubba was at a restaurant with his Wife Honey. Honey was being very rude to Bubba while she drank her big gulp full of gravy. Bubba, who had had enough of her attitude, slapped the cup of gravy out to honey’s hands. Bubba could be found guilty of domestic battery against Honey. Remember items connect to the other person are considered part of their body for purposes of battery. Since Bubba willfully engaged in the conduct that resulted in him slapping the cup of gravy, which is not part of Honey’s body, he has committed a simple battery against Honey. Since Honey is Bubba’s wife, he has committed domestic battery.
WHAT DOES “AGAINST AN INTIMATE PARTNER” MEAN IN THE DOMESTIC BATTERY CONTEXT?
The final piece of the puzzle that the Prosecutor must prove is that the simple battery was committed against an intimate partner of the Defendant. The list off relationships that qualify as an intimate partner can be found above. This statue protects people that are involved in a serious relationship from domestic violence. Further the Courts have identified what constitutes a dating relationship as a relationship where affection and sexual involvement is expected independent of money. The relationship does not have to be monogamous, and the relationship does not have to be for the purpose of remaining together forever.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES I CAN FACE IF I AM CONVICTED OF DOMESTIC BATTERY?
In California, a domestic battery is charged as a misdemeanor, the punishment for which is incarceration for up to one year, probation (misdemeanor), or a fine of up to two thousand ($2,000), or a combination of all three. Additionally, the Defendant may have to be entered into the domestic violence register.
ARE THERE IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES IF I AM CONVICTED OF DOMESTIC BATTERY?
Since domestic battery is a misdemeanor here in California, the punishment is not as harsh as other offenses. However, if the Defendant does not have citizenship in the United States, they could face deportation. Domestic batter is known as a “deportable” offense under federal law. Thus, if you are charged with domestic battery, and are not a US citizen, you may be deported. If you are a non-US citizen who is facing charges of domestic violence under §243(e) (1), contact an attorney at Orange County Criminal Attorney immediately. OCCA attorneys will work with you to build a strong defense for your case, and avoid negative immigration consequences.
WHAT ARE THE LEGAL DEFENSES MY OCCA ATTORNEY CAN RAISE IF I AM CHARGED WITH DOMESTIC BATTERY?
As mentioned above, a §423(e) (1) is a misdemeanor. However, a conviction for domestic battery can have far reaching implications. First, the offense will go on your criminal background, which can be seen by anyone conducting a background search n, you. Typically employers review an individual’s background check before hiring them. If there is a violent offense on your record, they may not hire you. Further, you may have to be entered into the domestic violence registry, which can be seen by a large array of people. Finally, if you are not a US citizen, you may face deportation if you are convicted. As such, you should contact an OCCA attorney immediately if you are facing domestic battery charges. Our skilled attorneys will fight for your rights, attempt to avoid deportation consequences, and obtain the lowest penalties available. Some of the defenses your OCCA attorney are able to raise include:
• Your conduct was designed to keep yourself safe from physical harm against you, or your conduct was for the purpose of protecting another person from immediate harm to their person.
• When you engaged in the conduct forming the basis for the Prosecution’s case against you for a violation of California Penal Code §243(e) (1) domestic battery.
There are times where the Defendant’s conduct was unintentional, or sometimes the victim misunderstood the Defendant’s actions. Utilizing this defense, it is necessary that your OCCA attorney, as well as the Prosecutor, be aware of the circumstances surrounding the incident. If you have been charged with a domestic battery, be sure to contact one of the skilled attorneys at Orange County Criminal Attorney immediately. OCCA attorneys can aid you in developing the best defense available, if you did not act willfully.
Clark, who is a homosexual, and his boyfriend Brandon were arguing in the two-story Villa they shared in La Jolla by the water. Brandon was becoming incredibly agitated as Clark explained to him that he wanted Brandon to move out because he needed space to think. Brandon grabbed Clark’s favorite porcelain vase and threw it at the wall. Unfortunately, the vase exploded on impact and sent pieces of porcelain flying all over the room. One piece of the porcelain hit Clark and gashed him across the cheek. In the event that a charge is brought against Brandon for domestic battery, Brandon may argue that he cannot be convicted because he did not act willfully in causing Clark to be touched.