Domestic battery is sometimes referred to as spousal battery, a common misdemeanor offense. If you are under investigation or facing criminal charges, Riverside domestic violence defense attorney Gregory H. Comings can help you assert a strong legal defense. Conviction for domestic violence may lead to ongoing consequences, such as loss of custody of a minor child, deportation, and difficulty securing work. Our office understands the sensitive nature of domestic violence and is prepared to handle your matter efficiently, and with compassion.
California’s domestic violence laws include a range of offenses, from misdemeanors to felony crimes. Domestic battery as defined in California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) PC requires that the defendant willfully touch the victim in a harmful or offensive way. This crime is similar to battery, however, to be charged as domestic battery, the victim must be the defendant’s current (or former) spouse, fiance, cohabitant, co-parent, or someone the defendant dated. Cohabitant, as the law defines it, means people who are not related, living together for a period of time that may include factors such as sharing income, a sexual relationship, and the length of the relationship.
As in other crimes, including certain felony domestic violence crimes, domestic battery does not require that the victim be injured. The prosecution has the burden of showing that violence against a family member occurred “beyond a reasonable doubt.” An example of domestic battery includes a man grabbing his wife’s wrists, harshly. His wife need not be injured, but if the prosecution shows he willfully touched her in a harmful way, he could be prosecuted.
If a defendant is charged with domestic battery, they may assert self-defense. This is appropriate if they felt threatened by immediate bodily harm. For instance, the police report may include an admission by the alleged victim that they used force. The defendant may have injuries on their own person. A skilled defense attorney will be able to assess the strength of this defense.
Accident is a defense that may be applied if the incident was not purposeful. For example, if during a house repair, you were using a hammer and it slipped and hit your spouse, any resulting injuries may be deemed accidental. The success of this defense rests upon many factors, including supporting details. In this example, repairs in the kitchen, the location of the hammer, and other possible evidence may be critical.
False accusations may occur in domestic violence cases. A defense attorney can help determine whether this is an applicable defense. The likelihood of this type of defense rests upon the fact that domestic violence includes close relationships between people. Additionally, no physical injury is necessary in order to support charges. As in all crimes, the prosecution must present evidence supporting all elements of the offense, beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that if they fail to prove their case, or to prove one more element of the crime, the defendant cannot be convicted.
As a misdemeanor, domestic battery can lead to a year in jail, fines, and domestic violence classes that may include anger management. Stay away orders may also be ordered. Once convicted of domestic violence, you may face up to a year imprisonment. The long-lasting consequences may result in prevention from certain jobs, such as working with children. Individuals convicted of domestic violence may lose their right to own or purchase firearms.
Domestic violence allegations are taken seriously by law enforcement. A strong defense can make a world of difference in your case, as convictions impact your job prospects and quality of life. Do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule a free consultation. Riverside domestic violence defense attorney Gregory H. Comings knows that every case demands careful attention to the facts, and he is prepared to advocate on your behalf. Contact our office by phone at (951) 686-3457 or online.