What makes violence domestic? When the violence is directed toward a spouse, former spouse, intimate partner, former intimate partner, mother/father, or someone with who one has had an engagement or dating relationship with.
The two most common domestic violence charges are PC 243(e)(1) and PC 273.5:
PC 243(e)(1) Domestic Battery is when there is a battery against any person with whom the defendant has had a domestic relationship with.
Under 243(e)(1), it does not matter whether the victim got an injury or not. What matters is whether the defendant intentionally touched the victim in an offensive way.
Bill and Jill are boyfriend and girlfriend. They get into a tit for tat over who is going to get the last chocolate ice cream in the freezer. Bill gets the chocolate ice cream from the freezer and holds it. Jill, raging with a craving, then snatches the chocolate ice cream away from Bill and also slaps his hand away from her while she bites into her ice cream. Technically, this is a domestic battery scenario. They are in a domestic relationship, and, Jill intentionally touches Bill in an offensive way.
Mary and Terry are married. They start arguing about Mary seeing Larry at the bar. While arguing, Marcy, who is 90 lbs., pushes Terry, who is 250 lbs. Even though Mary did no damage to Terry, the fact that she pushed him and that they are in a domestic relationship categorizes this as a domestic battery.
Consequences. PC 243(e)(1) is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, and 52 weeks in a batter’s treatment program.
Domestic Violence with Corporal Injury
PC 273.5 is when there is infliction of injury on a person with whom the defendant has had a domestic relationship with, and, the injury results in a traumatic condition. A traumatic condition can be defined as a minor or serious injury which was caused by physical force.
Laird and Bethany are in a dating relationship. Laird got angry with Bethany over turning the AC on and puts his hands around her neck, squeezing so tight that when he lets go, one could observe red fingerprints on Bethany’s neck. The next day, Bethany has bruising on her neck. The appearance of bruising show a traumatic condition registering these set of facts into the 273.5 category.
Consequences. PC 273.5 can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony. If it is a misdemeanor, one could be looking up to 1 year in county jail, 52 weeks batter’s treatment program, and fines and fees. If it is a felony, one could be looking at prison of 2, 3, or 4 years.
Defenses. Common defenses can include self defense, accident, or mutual combat.
Self Defense: Gray and Bray are get into a fight – they are boyfriend and girlfriend. Gray somehow gets stuck under Bray’s legs and tries to push him off. Bray does not move so Gray bites Bray’s legs to get him to jump off. Although there may be a bite mark on Bray’s leg, Gray only bit because she was stuck and needed to be set free – she was acting in self-defense and had no intention to inflict traumatic injury on him.
Accident: Gray and Bray are arguing near a stairwell. Gray and Bray are yelling at each other. Gray starts failing her arms and crying and accidentally. Bray tries to get close to Gray to comfort her and Gray accidentally hits Bray in his eye, causing slight bruising. Because Gray had no intention of hurting Bray, an accident defense may be used here.
Mutual combat: Gray and Bray both agree to jump into a boxing ring. They put agree to hit each other. Because there is no intention to cause corporal injury, but rather, a mutual agreement that they are going to hit each other in a sportsmanship way, no domestic violence is occurring here.
Domestic violence can be tricky and there are high consequences that come with this conviction. The above is only a sample of basic domestic violence charges. If you are in trouble or encountering a domestic violence charge, or a victim of one – please contact Kristine Koo for a consultation.
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