Arrested for Domestic Violence? We Can Help!

Domestic violence is an issue taken seriously under California laws. These laws cover a wide scope of domestic violence based on how the offense is defined under the California Penal Code. It is an offense committed against any intimate partner and the abuse is not just the reckless or intentional use of force against the victim but also the threat of using force. As already noted, California laws cover different aspects of domestic violence and distinguish its different types. Most of it is covered in three sections which are;

  • Penal Code 273.5 Corporal Injury to the Spouse or Cohabitant
  • Penal Code 243(e) (1) Domestic Battery,
  • Penal Code 422 Criminal Threats.

Penal Code 273.5 Corporal Injury to the Spouse or Cohabitant

A person might be found guilty under this law if he or she willfully causes physical injury which results in a traumatic condition to his or her intimate partner. The partner could be current or former. The three conditions that need to be fulfilled here are;

  1. The person’s actions which resulted in the injury were intentional regardless of whether the resulting outcome was intentional or not
  2. A traumatic condition was caused by the direct actions. It could be as minor as a bruise or major as a concussion or a broken bone. Other traumatic conditions include wounds, internal bleeding and even injuries arising from strangulation or suffocation.
  3. The injuries must be caused to a former or current intimate partner. These include;
  • A spouse
  • A cohabitant
  • Registered domestic partner
  • A fiancé or fiancée
  • A parent of the defendant’s child
  • A person whom the defendant is seriously dating

California domestic laws make it possible for a defendant to cohabit with several people at the same time. Several factors determine if two people are cohabiting and these include but are not limited to;

  • Sexual relations between two people sharing the same residence
  • Sharing income and expenses
  • Joint use or ownership of property
  • Length of the relationship

Penalties and punishment under Penal Code 273.5

Penalties and punishment under this law depend on the level of seriousness of the injuries and a defendant’s criminal history. The offense can even be charged as the misdemeanor or felony with the latter carrying stiffer penalties. For a misdemeanor, the penalties are a sentence of up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $6000. For a felony, the defendant could face 2 to 4 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $6000. In cases of prior convictions, especially recent ones, the penalties rise to 5 years and a fine of $10,000.

Penal Code 243(e), (1) Domestic Battery

Under this section, it is unlawful for a person to touch their intimate partner or someone they cohabit with, as defined earlier, in an offensive or harmful manner. Unlike the Penal Code 273.5, there is no need for proof of injury or a visible wound. To be convicted, the three things needed to be proved by the district attorney are;

  • The touch was willful, and it was in an offensive or harmful manner
  • The victim is a spouse or ex-spouse, roommate or former roommate of the defendant
  • The defendant in committing the offense was not doing it out of self-defense or defending other people.

This is charged as misdemeanor domestic violence and attracts a fine of up to $2000 and/or up to 1 year in county jail.

Penal Code 422 Criminal Threats

Under this Penal Code, it is an offense to threaten to kill or physically harm someone with the intention that the statement you convey should be well taken as a threat whether you intend to commit the crime or not and regardless of whether you have the ability to carry out the offense. The offense can be committed in writing, verbally or through the use of an electronic device.

The district attorney must prove the following;

  • You willfully made the threat to kill or cause physical bodily harm
  • You conveyed the threat in writing, via an electronic device or verbally
  • You had the intent that the statement be seen as a threat
  • The threat was unequivocal, immediate and specific that it could be carried out
  • As a result of the statement, the other person was in a state of sustained reasonable fear with regards to their safety or someone close to them.

It is charged as a misdemeanor or even a felony. Being a misdemeanor, you face up to 1 year in a county jail while a felony attracts up to 4 years in prison.

If you have been arrested for domestic violence, be sure to contact Legal Aed today!

Contact Us
Call Us