Simple Domestic Battery (California penal code section 243(e)(1))

In California, domestic battery is one of the many subsections of domestic violence that constitutes a crime when one person unlawfully applies physical force to another who, by virtue of a legislatively defined relationship, is considered a domestic to the defendant.

When a battery is committed against a spouse, roommate with whom the defendant has a sexual relationship, a person with whom the defendant has or had a dating relationship, child in common, or any other significant domestic relationship, the battery is considered to be domestic violence and is punishable more seriously than a simple battery against one who does not have a similar relationship.

If a defendant is convicted of domestic battery, the batterer's treatment program will be ordered by the court. This program is a 52-week class that meets once a week and only allows for a limited number of absences. If the program is not available, the court may require a counseling program that is deemed to be an equivalent.

Domestic battery involves touching, no matter how slight, if done in a harmful or offensive way to one's spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend, or even one with whom the defendant has a casual sexual relationship. The relationship between the parties is what separates domestic battery from simple battery — with domestic battery being the more serious offense. In the case of domestic battery, it matters who you touch, not just that you touched someone.

The fact that force is used is what separates a battery from an assault. These two concepts are often confused, but are in fact different. The mental state required for battery is the same as that required for assault. An assault is an inchoate or incipient battery; a battery is a consummated or realized assault. An assault is a necessary element of battery, and it is not possible to commit battery without also committing assault. Specific intent to cause injury is not required in the case of assault, nor is a subjective awareness of the risk that an injury may occur. Assault only requires an act (intentional) and knowledge of those facts sufficient to establish that the act by its nature will probably and directly result in the application of physical force against another.

In many cases involving domestic battery, there is no actual injury to the alleged victim. Accordingly, by the time charges are filed, the alleged victim often wants nothing to do with the prosecution. This is a common sentiment expressed to seasoned criminal defense lawyers. Many people are under the mistaken belief that the alleged victim can simply call off the charges or convince the prosecution to dismiss the case. In Southern California, the prosecution will not dismiss the case simply because the victim does not desire prosecution. In fact, the prosecution is accustomed to this fact and it will not serve as a deterrent to a criminal prosecution. The only effective deterrent is an effective lawyer.

Attorney Keith J. Bruno has broad knowledge of the criminal justice system and understands that the system puts the accuser ahead of the accused. He is a husband and a father with firsthand knowledge of family dynamics. Contact us by telephone or email now. We are ready and well qualified to investigate and litigate your case.