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Domestic Battery

Domestic battery is sometimes known as family violence and in most cases, a family member physically abuses a member in a domestic relationship. A member of a domestic relationship can include any member of a family and some courts also include a girlfriend/boyfriend or cohabitant. The domestic battery law is an extension of the battery laws that exist in the state of California.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) states that domestic battery is a health concern that is plaguing our nation and upon reviewing their statistics it is clear why. According to the NCADV, every minute that passes by 20 people are victims of physical abuse coming from a partner, spouse, or boyfriend/girlfriend. In a year the number of victims of physical domestic abuse equates to more than 10 million cases. The NCADV also includes that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience a form of physical abuse from their partners in their lifetimes. The numbers are staggering and create a bigger picture of the problem at hand.

With more than twenty-thousand calls to the domestic violence hotline every day, it is clear that domestic violence and domestic battery are issues that we all need to be aware of so to prevent future domestic related crimes.  Women between the ages of 18 and 24 are more commonly are victims in sever domestic violence relationships. The NCADV provides numerous statistics on topics that include rape, stalking, homicide, and violence directed at children. To learn more about the NCADV and their mission to reduce the number of domestic violence crimes, please visit their page at www.ncadv.org.

If you are a victim of domestic battery, there are numerous options that can help you to safely leave the relationship. Sometimes individuals who are in a domestic violence relationship may not know that they are being abused which is why third parties are encouraged to report any suspicion of domestic violence. If you constantly hear yelling from your neighbors or you hear constant crying or bangs on the walls, you may be sitting next to a domestic violence case. To report an incident involving domestic assault or domestic battery, you are encouraged to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.

If you are being charged with a domestic violence crime, you should speak with a local state attorney to discuss your situation. If you are being charged with domestic battery, you will need the assistance of a law professional who can guide your case in a courtroom. There are times when a person may be acting out of defense and causes physical harm to another person that may come off as domestic battery. In such cases, the individual will need to prove that their actions were not intentional.

On the other hand, if you are a victim of domestic violence, you will need to prove that your spouse or partner has intentionally caused physical harm to you. Our attorney can help you place a restraining order and other actions that can limit the probability of a repeated offense. To talk with a local state attorney about your specific case and of the factors surrounding the case, you are encouraged to contact us the Long Beach Criminal Attorney at 562-308-7807. We are ready to hear your case and determine the best possible option for your situation. Domestic battery cases are not easy, often victims and offenders can feel betrayed by one another. We understand the difficulties that arise which is why we engage in each case with a high level of professionalism.

Under California Penal Code 242, domestic battery is when there is a use of force that is unlawful and on purpose which aims to cause harm to another individual. The subsequent penal code (PC 243) explains that a simple battery crime can be punished with up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2000. A simple ‘battery’ helps us define that any physical force or an unlawful touch can have grave consequences for first-time offenders. However, the punishments do not stop there. Whenever there is a crime against a family member, the law describes a greater prison sentence and other provisions.

California Penal Code 242 Section (e) explains that battery directed toward a 1) spouse, 2) cohabitant, 3) ex-spouse, 4) fiancé, 5) girlfriend or boyfriend, can be penalized with up to $2000 and up to a year in jail. In addition, such individuals will be required to attending a counseling program that aims to reduce the likelihood of a repeated offense.

Domestic Violence and Domestic Battery

Domestic violence and domestic battery are two different entities even though they may sometimes be used interchangeably.  Domestic violence is a word that can be used to describe both domestic battery and domestic assault or simply an ongoing abusive relationship. On the other hand, domestic battery is used to describe the act of inflicting harm on another person in a domestic relationship. The Department of Justice establishes that domestic violence is a pattern of abuse that aims to maintain control over a person in a domestic relationship. The law defines the following as domestic violence:

  • Blackmail or threaten: blackmailing or threatening to inflict harm to another person in a domestic relationship is a form of abuse.

Physical and emotional abuse:

  • physical abuse can include punishing, biting, throwing, kicking, elbowing, and any other form of physical action that can be used to cause harm to another person. Physical abuse can also include physically forcing someone to do something they do not want to do.
  • Emotional abuse can include name calling or harsh critique of a partner or a person in a domestic relationship. Emotional abuse aims at lowering the self-esteem of a partner or child usually with the aim of making the individual think that there is no better option than himself or herself.
  • Psychological abuse: can include keeping a person locked away from loved ones or from doing other life activities. Psychological abuse aims at provoking fear through threats. In some cases, individuals may threaten to kill themselves or hurt another member of the family if the other person fails to adhere to whatever the request may be.
  • Sexual Abuse: is a term used to describe a wide array of actions that are considered abusive. Sexual abuse includes rape, touching sexual body parts, physical violence to force sex, and ‘talking dirty’. Any actions that force the victim to have unsolicited sex or that aims to provoke the victim is considered a form of sexual abuse. Individuals that sexually abuse another individual may be charged with sexual battery.
  • Stalking/Internet Stalking: following a person, sending a person love letters or flowers, appearing at his or her workplace, spying, Facebook stalking, Instagram stalking, sending online messages, are all legal actions. However, these actions are illegal when you know well that the person no longer wants your attention, but you keep on insisting and following the person around.

Domestic violence is a global health concern that affects the well-being of families all across the nation and all across the world. Victims who are suffering in an abusive relationship may not understand that there are outlets out there that aim to help and relocate a person that is a victim of harsh domestic violence. Sometimes the person inflicting the damage may not even be doing so with intention but may be suffering from a behavioral condition.

The Violence Against Women Act of 1994

In 1994 the United States passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which aims to reduce the number of violent crimes against women. One of the important features of this act is that it established a hotline that can be accessed by anyone that is an abusive relationship or who wishes to file claims against a partner for domestic battery.  In addition to the hotline, VAWA established certain protections for victims of domestic battery. In the event that a victim of domestic battery is in fear of his or her life, victims can request to be placed in a new home and can claim confidentiality. Furthermore, the act establishes that an undocumented battered spouse is capable of applying for permanent U.S residency.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) includes funding of legal fees when a victim files a protection order. The fees can include the costs of an attorney or other processing fees. VAWA also establishes that a protection order must be respected in all territories within the United States border this includes tribal land and neighboring states. In addition, as mentioned earlier an undocumented victim can be rewarded with a protection order or restraining order and a legal US resident status otherwise known as a green card.

Domestic Violence Penalties

In the state of California, domestic violence is a serious offense that can result in up to six thousand dollars in fines and a prison sentence depending on the gravity of the situation. In California, the domestic violence laws aim to protect the well-being of individuals that belong to a family. Domestic battery is not always committed by a man, but more often than not a man is an instigator which is why these laws are aimed at children and women in a family. However, the laws may be applied to any individual that physically abuses a member in his or her own family or who cohabits a living space.

If you are in the state of California, you can face the following charges for engaging in domestic battery:

  • A fine of up to $2000 and a jail sentence of up to a year according to Section 243 (e)
  • A fine of up to $2000 and a jail sentence that can range up to four years in state prison under Section 243 (d)
  • Under section 273.5 a domestic battery felony may be penalized with up to $6,000 and up to four years in prison

Terms and conditions may increase depending on the factors of the case. For example, a long prison sentence can be placed in the domestic battery resulted in the death of a member of a domestic relationship. The terms and conditions may also increase if the individual committing the crime has had a history of domestic violence crimes.

In addition to domestic violence, the law in the state of California includes dating violence laws that aim to protect individuals in a dating relationship. According to the law, dating violence can be committed by an individual in an affectionate or intimate relationship. The validity of the relationship will depend on the type of relationship that exists between the two individuals, how long the relationship has lasted, and the number of times that the individuals interact with each other. If you are in an abusive relationship with your partner, the domestic battery laws apply to you. Even in the absence of matrimony, the domestic battery laws may still apply to you if your partner is physically abusive.

Individuals who are charged with a domestic battery should consider contacting an attorney. Relationships are a complicated matter where one individual may be falsely accusing their partner of domestic abuse. In such cases, the individual will face the full consequences of the law and may face jail time if they are found guilty. In a courtroom, the judge will take into account all of the factors that are successfully presented in a courtroom. To ensure that your side of the story is heard, you will need professional legal representation. If you are in the state of California and you wish to have your case reviewed, please contact the Long Beach Criminal Attorney at 562-308-7807.

We are ready to review your case and determine any possible weaknesses in the prosecuting parties claims. Do not let your partner wrongly convict you. There are cases where partners falsely accuse the other in order to gain monetary compensations. Domestic battery cases hold a variety of factors that can alter the judge's opinion on the case. To have a clear understanding of your case, speak with a legal professional today.