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Domestic Battery Defense Attorney

Domestic battery falls under the umbrella of domestic violence. So, when someone is arrested for domestic violence in southern California, they’ll typically be cited for corporal injury to a spouse (California Penal Code Section 273.5 PC), which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If there are slight or no injuries, and the defendant doesn’t have a prior criminal record, the individual is typically charged with domestic battery (California Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC). As a misdemeanor offense, a domestic battery conviction can result in extensive court fines and additional consequences.

The Prosecutor’s Burden

For a defendant to be guilty of domestic battery, the prosecutor must show that they touched the victim in an offensive or harmful manner and that the victim is a current or former spouse, fiancé, co-parent, cohabitant, or a person with whom the defendant had a previous personal relationship.

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Elements of Domestic Battery

What many folks don’t realize is that in California, the physical contact in domestic battery doesn’t have to leave a mark or result in permanent injury; it can be slight. So, even a push that doesn’t cause any physical damage meets the threshold for criminal charges of domestic battery. If an individual’s behavior is utterly verbal without any physical contact at all, there is no domestic battery. However, if that same individual verbally threatened violence, they can be charged with criminal threats (California Penal Code Section 422 PC), a potential felony.

Proving Domestic Battery

The victim’s testimony is usually the heart of the prosecutor’s case for domestic battery. In addition, the prosecutor may present witnesses who saw the battery and photographs of the injury. Even if a victim has second thoughts and doesn’t want to press charges, the prosecutor will typically move forward, despite the uncooperative witness. In these cases, the victim is subpoenaed to testify, and if they don’t appear in court, a warrant will be issued.

Domestic Battery Conviction Penalties

The court can impose several penalties on those convicted for domestic battery. A defendant will often have to complete a 52-week domestic abuse counseling program. Also, the court may impose jail time, community service or labor, and payment of court costs. Typically, the judge issues a protective order to prevent the defendant from contacting the victim.

A convicted defendant must give up all firearms and will not be permitted to own a firearm for a specified timeframe. The defendant will have a domestic battery conviction on their criminal record, which will likely cause issues with employment background checks and licensing boards.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for domestic battery, your best next move is to contact DRE Law to consult with a domestic violence defense attorney. DRE’s lawyers are savvy, persistent, and compassionate. They’ll do whatever it takes to ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your case.