There are many different types of domestic violence charges in California. If you have been charged with any of them, including domestic battery, you likely have questions about what your future holds. Keep reading to get the facts and then contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 if you are in need of a free legal consultation.
What is Domestic Battery?
First and foremost, let us discuss the definition of domestic battery. According to California law it has three elements:
- Willful and unlawful touching
- Touching that is harmful or offensive
- Touching that is committed against an intimate partner
Without all three elements present, it is not a case of domestic battery.
Can I Be Convicted of Domestic Battery Even if I Did Not Injure the Alleged Victim?
Yes. Note that the elements required to be convicted do not involve injury. It is only required that you use force or violence against the person in question. For example, if you pushed your significant other, this could potentially be considered a domestic battery even if there was no injury.
How is Domestic Battery Charged and What Are the Potential Penalties?
It is a misdemeanor and can result in penalties up to and including fines of as much as $2,000 and up to one year in county jail. The severity of the punishment will vary widely based on the specifics of the case and the criminal background of the accused.
What Legal Defenses May Apply to a Domestic Battery Charge?
Of course, the best way to defend you against a domestic violence charge is to consider the specifics of your case. However, some of the most common defense options including showing that the accused did not act willfully, showing that the alleged victim does not qualify as an intimate partner, or providing that the defendant was acting in self-defense.
Who Can Legally Be Considered an “Intimate Partner”?
Domestic violence charges cannot be brought for violence or threats against any victim – the alleged victim must be a person that the defendant either has an intimate relationship with or used to have an intimate relationship with. This of course includes spouses and ex-spouses, but it also includes roommates or former roommates, a parent of the defendant’s child, and other relationships. While it may still be a crime if the person does not qualify as an “intimate partner,” it does not qualify as domestic violence.
What Can I Do if I Am Charged with Domestic Battery?
Talk to a criminal defense attorney. Do not talk to the police. Do not admit to anything. Give law enforcement your name and other identifying information but do not answer their questions about the alleged incident. Even if you are entirely innocent and feel confident you can prove it, it is best to wait for your attorney before making a statement. Contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 to learn more about your options.