California Penal Code § 242 defines a Battery as a willful and unlawful use of force by one person against another. California Penal Code § 243(e)(1) adds certain situations in which the battery will be enhanced and will yield a harsher range of potential consequences.
One of the circumstances in which a battery charge would be enhanced is if it is against a person that section defines as a domestic relationship. A domestic battery includes a varying form of relationships, much more than domestic violence as it is defined under California Penal Code §273.5. The court’s take domestic relationships very seriously, as it is a relationship based on trust and vulnerability. When the person being charged is accused of injuring a person in which they share a domestic relationship, the court will consider the factors very carefully and if sentenced, it will be a higher penalty than battery under CPC §242.
One relationship the Court will hold as needing special protection is between spouses. The statute also includes a former spouse. The person must be the current spouse. The domestic battery statute, also includes a cohabitant. A cohabitant can be anyone a person is residing with. This could be a family member, a roommate or a friend. If injury is caused to a person that lives with the person being charged, it is likely it will be a domestic battery charge.