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.
Unlike CPC §273.5, the domestic battery statute also includes a fiancé, or someone with whom the person being charged has previously had a dating or engagement relationship with. This goes beyond the relationships described in the domestic violence statute. It includes any person with whom the person being charged with may have had a romantic relationship with.
Domestic battery also extends to the mother or father of the child shared with the person being charged. This is also the case under the domestic violence statute.
Any charge that comes from a domestic relationship must be carefully considered. There is room for many false accusations, especially because oftentimes many emotions are involved. False accusations are common, and therefore each element must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt before the court of law will find anyone guilty of the charge.
The consequences of a domestic battery is a fine of up to $2,000 and/or imprisonment up to one year in county jail. Whether it is a higher fine or a longer time in jail will depend on the specific facts of the case and the person’s prior criminal history.
With such a high range, there is room for negotiation. A knowledgeable San Diego Domestic Violence attorney can prepare a powerful argument that assures the person faces the lowest possible sentence if the case is not reduced or dismissed.