Domestic battery is one of the most common criminal charges used in cases of domestic disputes—and it is not always used fairly. If you have been charged with domestic battery, you need to understand the penalties you face and the repercussions it can have on your future. A conviction for domestic battery not only carries jail time, it can also affect your child custody or your divorce. You need to speak to a Los Angeles domestic battery lawyer.
At Simmrin Law Group, we understand domestic battery cases and we know how important your future is to you. Typically, the clients we work with had no intention to hurt anyone in their family and were dealing with very difficult circumstances—or the accusation is completely false. In other cases the battery was a real, but it was a mistake that shouldn’t haunt you for years. Let us help you. We will offer you a free consultation, with no obligation to hire us. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and see what we can do for you today.
What counts as domestic battery in Los Angeles?
Domestic batter is defined by California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1). In most ways, it is simply a battery charge that involves a family member. More specifically, it means that you intentionally touched someone in a harmful or offensive way, if that person was:
Your spouse or ex-spouse,
Someone living with you,
Someone you are currently or previously engaged to,
Someone you’re currently or previous dating, or
The parent of your child
In other words, if you touch your partner or ex in an offensive way, they could claim a case of domestic battery against you. However, there are two important things you should understand about this law:
It doesn’t apply to children. A battery against a child is a separate, more serious offense known as corporal punishment.
You can be convicted even if you didn’t hurt the person. Any use of force or violence can count, even if no injury was caused. If injury was caused, you could face the separate charge of domestic corporal injury.
This means that even “pushing” a partner, grabbing them, or catching the by their clothing and ripping it could count as battery.
Also, although many domestic battery cases are committed against women by men, this is not always the case. Defendants of any gender can face domestic battery accusations, and the court will consider it.
Can a domestic battery charge affect my child custody?
If you are convicted, yes. Although a conviction does not guarantee you lose custody, it will affect the proceedings. Judges in Los Angeles consider many factors when deciding how to rule in child custody cases, and a history of domestic violence of any kind weighs heavily in the process. If you have domestic battery on your record, your spouse or their lawyer can use this as ammunition against you in requesting that the judge cut you out of the picture. You could be left with limited or no contact with your children—even though you love them, and even if you are paying child support.
Technically, not getting convicted does not rule out that the incident will be used against you. Your partner or ex can still bring it up in the proceedings. However, their case is much stronger if you were convicted, and if you were found Not Guilty they might not have a case at all. This is why it’s so important to fight your domestic battery case.
Can domestic battery affect my divorce?
Not directly, but yes. California is a “no fault” divorce state, meaning the judge does not consider who is to blame for the breakup when dividing up assets. However, a history of domestic violence does affect requests for spousal support. Having a domestic battery conviction does not guarantee that you will owe spousal support, but it does mean your own request for spousal support could be rejected. You can fight this in divorce court, but the most effective way is to fight the charge in the first place. Beware of any domestic violence accusations that pop up just before a divorce—you need to speak to a lawyer.
How do I fight a domestic battery charge?
Domestic cases are complicated and often involve a “he said/she said” claim about what happened. That doesn’t mean your case is unwinnable, but it does mean it requires an understanding of the legal system. In our experience, there are several defenses that can be very effective:
The touching, push or injury was an accident—you did not intend to touch or use force
Your spouse or partner struck first, and you had to defend yourself
The accusation is false, and your partner/ex made up what happened
For your defense to work, we need to find any evidence we can to support what happened—or show that the evidence against you is wrong. This is why we start each case by launching our own investigation into what happened, and why we listen to our clients from the start.
What are the penalties for domestic battery in Los Angeles?
Domestic battery is a misdemeanor and the penalties include:
Up to 1 year in county jail
Up to $2,000 in fines
3 years of unsupervised probation
In some cases, the judge will waive jail time (or some of it) but require you to complete a 1-year program about domestic abuse, which you must pay for.
These penalties are bad enough, but often the worst consequences involve your children, family and divorce terms, as shown above. A single domestic battery charge creates a record of “abuse” in the system that can affect all parts of your family life, your finances and your reputation. There are ways to fight these charges, but you need to talk to a lawyer immediately.
Talk to a Los Angeles Domestic Battery Attorney for Free
Accusations of domestic abuse can derail your life. Don’t let that happen to you. Let the legal team at Simmrin Law Group give you the defense you deserve—and a free consultation to get you started. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your FREE consultation today.