Domestic Violence in general is charged under Penal Code 243(e) for a misdemeanor and Penal Code 273.5 for felonies.  


The Law on Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Penal Code  243(e)(1)

To Prove Penal Code 243(e)(1), the District Attorney must Prove:

  1.  The Defendant willfully committed a battery upon the alleged Victim and
  2. At the time of the battery, the alleged victim was the defendant's spouse or fiance, or an individual with whom defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating relationship.

The "least touching" may constitute battery. In other words, force against the person is enough, it need not be violent or severe, it need not cause bodily harm or even pain, and it need not leave any mark. Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose.  The slightest touching can be enough to commit a battery if it is done in a rude or angry way.  Making contact with another person is enough to complete a battery.  The touching does not have to cause pain or injury of any kind.  The touching can be done indirectly by causing an object or someone else to touch another person.

When self defense is an issue, the defendant must have unlawfully committed a battery on the alleged victim.


The Law on Penal Code 273.5 Felony Domestic Violence

To Prove the elements of Felony Domestic the District ATtorney must prove that the defendant

  1.  Willfully and unlawfully inflicted corporal injury on the alleged victim and
  2. The alleged victim was either a the defendant's spouse or a person whom the defendant was cohabiting with or a fiance of or someone with whom the defendant has , or previously had, an engagement or dating relationship or the mother or father of the defendant's child; and
  3. The Corporal Injury resulted in a traumatic condition; and
  4. The defendant did not act in self defense.

Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. A traumatic condition is a wound or other bodily injury, whether minor
or serious, caused by the direct application of physical force. The term cohabitants means two unrelated persons living together for a substantial period of time, resulting in some permanency of the relationship. Factors that may determine whether people are cohabiting include, but are not limited to, (1) sexual relations between the parties while sharing the same residence, (2) sharing of income or expenses, (3) joint use or ownership of property, (4) the parties’ holding themselves out as (spouses/domestic partners), (5) the continuity of the relationship, and (6) the length of the relationship.

A person may cohabit simultaneously with two or more people at different locations, during the same time frame, if he or she maintains substantial ongoing relationships with each person and lives with each person for significant periods. A person is considered to be the (mother/father) of another person’s child if the alleged male parent is presumed under law to be the natural father.

A traumatic condition is the result of an injury if:

  1.  The traumatic condition was the natural and probable consequence of the injury;
  2. The injury was a direct and substantial factor in causing the condition;  AND
  3. The condition would not have happened without the injury. A natural and probable consequence is one that a reasonable person would know is likely to happen if nothing unusual intervenes. In deciding whether a consequence is natural and probable, consider all of the circumstances established by the evidence. A substantial factor is more than a trivial or remote factor. However, it does not need to be the only factor that resulted in the traumatic condition

Consequences of a conviction for Domestic Violence Penal Code 243(e)(1) and Penal Code 273.5

If you are convicted of Penal Code 243(e)(1) your exposure in jail is 364 days. Additionally you will be prohibited from possession firearms for 10 years, and you will be required to take a 52 week anger management course.

If you are convicted of felony Penal Code 2753.5 your exposure in state prison is a two, three, and four year triad.  A conviction for 273.5 can be a strike if it is proven that the defendant personally inflicted great bodily injury.  A conviction for 273.5 also prevents the defendant from possessing firearms, voting, jury service, and public office and the defendant is not eligible for county prison on an executed prison sentence.