Domestic violence presents society with serious criminal justice and public health issues. Annually in California over 100,000 arrests are made for misdemeanor and felony domestic violence charges while countless additional cases of intimate-partner violence remain unreported. Since 1994, California law has required defendants in domestic violence cases who are convicted and granted probation to complete a certified batterer intervention program (BIP).
In California, “domestic violence” is abuse committed against a class of persons that includes a partner that is in some intimate relationship with the accused. This “abuse” exists when a person intentionally or recklessly causes, or attempts to cause, bodily injury to an intimate partner. Under California Penal Code § 13700, “abuse” also exists when a person places a partner in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to another, which may also include the partner or another person.
California Penal Code section § 273.5 involves corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition to any of the following:
- The offender’s spouse or former spouse;
- The offender’s cohabitant or former cohabitant;
- The offender’s fiancé or fiancée, or someone with whom the offender has, or previously had, an engagement or dating relationship; or
- The mother or father of the offender’s child.
A Batterers’ Intervention Program is a curriculum of 52 weekly domestic violence classes. Individuals convicted of certain California domestic violence offenses are required to complete this program as part of their terms of probation.
Most individuals convicted of a domestic violence crime are sentenced to probation regardless of whether the offense was a misdemeanor or a felony. The result is that most people convicted of domestic violence must take and complete a domestic violence class such as a BIP.
A Batterers’ Intervention Program is a combination of education and counseling that focuses on the causes of domestic abuse, its effects on a victim; and any required changes that must occur to prevent it from happening again in the future. Participants in a batterer’s intervention program usually meet once a week for a few hours.
Participants may only miss three sessions during the program. Absences are only authorized if a member can show good cause. While offenders must pay for the batterer’s intervention program out-of-pocket, the overall cost depends on the defendant’s financial status.
Offenders must also successfully complete a final evaluation to fully comply with the program’s requirements. Defendants who fail to complete a BIP are technically in violation of their domestic violence probation and face jail time and/or fines, regardless of whether it was on informal/misdemeanor probation or a formal/felony probation.
Criminal law specialist John Patrick Dolan protects the rights of those charged with assault, domestic violence or spousal abuse. Mr. Dolan has over forty years of experience working to help his clients obtain the best resolution possible when freedom and reputation are at stake. Call us today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here. We guarantee our efforts to fight for the best possible outcome in your domestic violence case.