California statutory law contains special provisions for domestic violence crimes, which are crimes committed by an individual against an intimate partner. Included in these special provisions is the crime of “domestic battery,” also known as “spousal battery” or spousal assault,” contained in California Penal Code § 243 (e). The California Legislature has declared that these specified crimes merit special consideration when imposing a sentence based on society’s condemnation for violence committed against victims with whom the offender has formed a close or intimate relationship.
In California, the definition of a “battery” is found in California Penal Code § 242. It states that a “battery” is “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” If a victim of a battery is found to be within the protected class of people found in § 243 (e)(1), the crime of “battery” transforms into the crime of “domestic battery.”
The crime of domestic battery occurs when a battery is committed against the following victims:
- a spouse,
- a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting,
- a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, former spouse, fiancé, or fiancée, or
- a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship,
Thus, any willful or unlawful use of force against an intimate partner as defined in § 243 (e)(1) will cause the perpetrator to be charged with battery under subsection (e) (domestic or spousal battery) and face the penalties as described within this statutory section.
“Willful” means that the offender intended to perform the act of making unwanted physical touching or contact. It does not mean that the offender intended to harm an intimate partner or intended to commit a criminal act. “Upon the person” means touching an intimate partner’s body, clothing or something closely attached to or closely connected to him or her. This may include touching a piece of clothing, purse, or knocking something out of a partner’s hand. “An unlawful use of force” involves any illegal physical contact and does not require any intention to cause pain or injury.
The attorney that any defendant hires may be crucial to achieving the best possible result. John Patrick Dolan has forty years of criminal defense experience. Contact Dolan Law Offices today at 760-775-3739 or 562-824-4007 to discuss your situation or find out more online here.