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Domestic Battery, PC 243(e)(1)

Facing charges of domestic battery can have serious consequences and retaining strong legal representation will help. Domestic battery charges are commonly filed in addition to other domestic violence crimes. It is not recommended that you choose to face these charges alone, hire an aggressive criminal defense lawyer to fight on your behalf.

What is Domestic Battery?

California’s Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC domestic battery is defined as:

  • Purposefully and unlawfully touching someone else in an either harmful or offensive manner, and
  • The act was committed by the defendant’s:
    • Current or ex-spouse,
    • Current or ex-fiancée,
    • Current or ex-partner (that they used to have a dating/romantic relationship with), or
    • The mother or father of the defendant’s child.
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Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC domestic battery is also referred to as spousal battery and one can be convicted of it even if the alleged victim sustained no injuries. This is because using any kind of force or violence against the alleged victim is considered battery.   

Examples:

  • Stacy is caught off guard when she finds out that her ex-husband is trying to get full-custody of their two kids. As soon as he comes by to visit with the kids she pushes him, attempting to force him back into his driver seat.
  • Max gets jealous when he sees his wife talking to the mailman. Thinking she was flirting he begins to yell at her and aggressively grabs her by the shoulders and tries to shake her.

Closely Related Offenses and the Differences

  • California’s Penal Code 273.5 PC corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant;
    • This law prohibits the act of committing corporal injury (that may have traumatic results) upon another individual who is or was a former spouse, cohabitant, and/or mother or father of your child.
  • California’s Penal Code 242 PC battery;
    • This is when the unlawful application of physical force or offensive touching was committed against another individual who is not the offenders’ intimate for former intimate spouse or partner.

Associated Offenses

  • California’s Penal Code 240 PC assault;
    • This is when the act or attempt to apply physical force upon another individual is committed. This can sometimes be included as a lesser offense for domestic battery because the alleged offender does not have to make physical contact, the attempt to assault them is enough.
  • California’s Penal Code 591 PC damaging a telephone line;
    • Damaging a phone line is commonly charged in addition to domestic violence offenses. This is because there are many instances where the alleged victim claims the defendant damaged the physical phone line or took and damaged their mobile phone devices.
  • California’s Penal Code 601 PC aggravated trespass;
    • Threatening another individual and causing them to reasonably fear for their safety or the safety of their loved ones, and
    • Entering the individuals home, business, or workplace within thirty days of making said threats with the intention to carry them out.
  • California Penal Code 422 PC criminal threats;
    • Communicating threats to seriously harm another person with the intention to make them afraid of what you may do and actually causing them to reasonably fear for their safety or the safety of their family members.

The Prosecution

To get a conviction for Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC domestic battery, the prosecution must first prove the facts of the crime otherwise known as “elements of the crime” took place. They are as follows:

  • You willfully and unlawfully harmed or offensively touched another person; and
    • Keep in mind the alleged victim does not have to sustain any injuries, bruises, or markings.
  • This other person currently is or was your former romantic partner; or
  • Currently is or was your former cohabitant; or
  • The parent of your child.

Who Can Be Charged?

There are obvious situations and not so obvious situations in which someone could be charged. The following are examples of who can face charges for Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC domestic battery.

Examples:

  • Lance gets angry when he thinks his wife used their joint debit card to withdraw the money he earned from work. When he calls her, she ignores his complaints and states that the money was automatically withdrawn by the bank for the house payment. Angry and thinking she just used it to go shopping he confronted her and losing his temper, threw a glass jar at her feet. It broke and shattered across her bare legs and feet, causing her to sustain cuts and gashes.
    • Lance could face charges for PC 243(e)(1) domestic battery if he intended for the glass to break and hurt his wife.
  • Veronica meets Kyle at the dog park and they begin seeing each other romantically. Veronica’s boyfriend, Dan finds out and starts to follow Veronica and Kyle around without them realizing it. Dan finally reveals his himself and attempts to aggressively push Kyle, but Kyle steps back and kicks him in the gut.
    • Dan could face charges for PC 243(e)(1) domestic battery because he attempted to push Kyle. He could also possibly face charges for PC 646.9 stalking, if it comes to light that Dan was following both Veronica and Kyle around for a long period of time.
    • Kyle feared for his safety and acted in self-defense to protect himself against the unlawful physical contact coming from Dan.

Legal Defenses

Facing a PC 243(e)(1) domestic battery offense is not a charge you should face alone. Even though it has misdemeanor penalties, it does not look good on your permanent criminal background history.

Having this on your record can possibly affect visitation or custody rights of your children as well as future job and/or education opportunities. These are only some of the reasons why retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney is so important.

The following are some of the most common defenses that are used to fight charges of domestic battery.

  • Accidental situations;
    • Example:
      • Lucy breaks up with Sheryl and tells her she’s moving out. Sheryl attempts to hug Lucy but ends up tripping and colliding with her, causing them both to fall to the ground.
    • False accusations;
      • Getting falsely accused of domestic battery often happens in situations where emotions are raw. For example:
        • Susan gets kicked out of her boyfriends’ apartment for cheating on him. On her way out she trips down the three step porch. Embarrassed and bruised she falsely accuses him of pushing her out the door, causing her to fall down the steps.
    • Self-Defense;
      • Using self-defense means that you reasonably thought you were in danger of being unlawfully touched, harmed, or injured, and
      • You used the reasonable amount of force necessary to protect yourself.
        • For example, Teresa assumed because she was only 4 feet 9 inches tall she could hit her boyfriend when she was angry with him and he would not defend himself. One night, Teresa got intoxicated and began swinging punches at him. When she started aiming her strikes at his face, he pushed her.
    • Coming to the defense of another person;
      • This defense can apply in situations where you reasonably believed that another individual was in danger being unlawfully touched, harmed, or injured; and
      • You only used necessary and a reasonable amount of force when defending this individual from their would-be attacker.
        • For example, Stephanie was having a heated argument with her boyfriend as their toddler screams and runs around their legs. She sees her boyfriend raise his hands and thinks he is going to hit their child. Before he could get a chance to hit anyone, she rams her shoulder into his stomach forcing him to fall to the couch. Even if he was not intending on hurting anyone, if Stephanie reasonably feared that he would hit her or their child, she could be justified in tackling him to the couch.
    • Lack of willfulness/intent;
      • For instance, Robert got upset with his ex-wife and kicks a soccer ball towards to the wall. It ends up bouncing off and hitting her in the face, but he did not intend for the ball to hurt anyone, let alone his wife.

Penalties

If convicted of California Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC domestic battery, you face misdemeanor penalties:

  • Possible misdemeanor (summary) probation,
    • If granted summary probation you may be court-ordered to complete a one-year batterer’s program.
    • However, if there is a previous conviction for domestic battery you could face a minimum of 48 hours in the county jail, regardless of being granted probation.
  • Up to $2,000 in fines, and/or
  • Up to 1 year confined in the county jail.

Punishments and Penalties for Related Offenses

  • California’s Penal Code 273.5 PC corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant;
    • If convicted of a misdemeanor:
      • Misdemeanor (Summary) probation,
      • Up to 1 year in the county jail, and/or
      • Up to $6,000 in fines.
    • If convicted of a felony:
      • Felony (Formal) probation,
      • Up to $6,000 in fines, and/or
      • 2, 3, or, 4 years in a California state penitentiary.
    • Regardless of whether you face misdemeanor or felony charges for PC 273.5, you could also have a restraining order placed against you, prohibiting any contact with the victim for a span of ten years.
  • California’s Penal Code 240 PC assault;
    • Simple assault is a misdemeanor:
      • Up to $1,000 in fines, and/or
      • Up to 6 months in the county jail.
    • California’s Penal Code 591 PC damaging a telephone line;
      • Misdemeanor;
        • Summary probation,
        • A maximum fine of $1,000, and/or
        • Up to 1 year in a county jail.
      • Felony;
        • Formal probation,
        • A maximum fine of $10,000, and/or
        • 16 months, 2, or 3 years served in the county jail.
  • California’s Penal Code 242 PC battery;
    • Simple battery has misdemeanor consequences:
      • Possible anger management classes,
      • A ten-year firearm ban,
      • Fines up to $2,000, and/or
      • Up to 6 months in a county jail.
  • California’s Penal Code 601 PC aggravated trespassing;
    •  Misdemeanor;
      • Summary probation,
      • Up to $2,000 in fines, and/or
      • Up to 1 year in the county jail.
    •  Felony;
      • Formal probation,
      • Up to $10,000 in fines, and/or
      • 16 months, 2, or 3 years confined in the county jail.
  • California Penal Code 422 PC criminal threats;
    • Misdemeanor;
      • Up to $1,000 in fines, and/or
      • Up to 1 year in a county jail.
    • Felony;
      • Up to $10,000 in fines, and/or
      • Up to 3 years in a California state prison.

We Can Help

Being charged with any type of California domestic violence offense is serious and is a definite negative mark on your criminal record. If you or someone you know is facing such a charge, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Anna R. Yum.

Attorney Yum is a former prosecutor who is well-known for her aggressive stance on fighting for defendant’s rights. Her experienced understanding of the justice system has led her to a winning record, including instances where she was able to get charges reduced or dismissed.

Call us at 619-233-4433 or email us the details of your case if you have any questions or would like a free consultation.

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