California Domestic Violence: What You Need to Know

Paul Jeffrey Wallin

Written by  Pro

Family Law Attorney - Tustin, CA

Contributor Level 10

Posted over 4 years ago. Applies to California, 2 helpful votes



California Penal Code ? 243(e)(1)

California Penal Code ? 243(e)(1), or "simple domestic battery," is the misdemeanor charge and, therefore, the least serious of these three domestic violence offenses. To be convicted of this offense, all you have to do is intentionally "touch" your "intimate partner" in an offensive or angry manner. That's it. He/she doesn't even have to be injured, only offended. Penal Code ? 243(e)(1) also has a broad definition of "intimate partners." Under this definition, your "intimate partner" includes your fiance or fiancee, your current or former spouse, someone with whom you live or have lived, anyone you are or were dating, or the parent of your child.


California Penal Code ? 273.5

California Penal Code ? 273.5, or "willful infliction of corporal injury", is a more serious offense, in that it requires the accuser to at least suffer some type of injury. The accuser must sustain a "traumatic condition," which can actually be as insignificant as a red-mark or scratch. Here, unlike in Penal Code ? 243(e)(1), your "fiance/fiancee" and "people you are or were dating" do not qualify as "intimate partners." Although this section can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony, it would typically only be filed over the Penal Code ? 243(e)(1) mentioned above if prosecutors were pursuing the felony allegation.


California Penal Code ? 243(d)

California Penal Code ? 243(d), or "aggravated battery," is the felony catchall for domestic battery offenses. This section, too, can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony, but would typically only be used in a spousal abuse situation if there was a "serious bodily injury" rising to felony level, and the accuser didn't meet the definition of "intimate partner" in Penal Code ? 273.5 above. California Penal Code ? 242, or misdemeanor battery, is "any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon another person." This offense is usually charged when the person committing the battery has no domestic-type relation to the alleged victim, and there is no injury involved.

Additional Resources

If you have been accused of committing any type of domestic violence, no matter how minor or severe the charges, the experienced Southern California domestic violence defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have the knowledge and experience to defend your rights. Contact us today for a case evaluation.

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