Are You Facing Spousal Battery Charges?

In Orange and Riverside Counties of California, the majority of domestic violence charges are charged as misdemeanors under penal code PC 243(e) (1). This is where a partner inflicts physical harm on the other intimate partner. The partner could be married, cohabiting, or past partner. Gay and lesbian partners are also covered

How is PC 243(e) (1) different?

Domestic violence cases can be charged as felony or misdemeanor charges according to the gravity of the injuries on the victim. However, PC 243(e) (1) is the only charge that is always charged as a misdemeanor. It carries the lightest penalties among domestic violence charges.  It can also be pressed even where the alleged victim has not had visible injuries.

How is PC 243(e) (1) proven?

The prosecutor must show that the accused willfully inflicted violence on the alleged victim. Where ‘Willfully’ means that there was an intention to inflict violence and pain. This means that if you were having an argument with your partner and throw something at the wall which then bounces back and hits the partner, this cannot be counted as willful.

The violence is proven where the accused comes into contact with the partner’s body, clothing or any other item connected to the alleged victim.

What are the penalties for violating PC 243(e) (1)?

This misdemeanor charge can carry a maximum 1-year imprisonment, a fine of $2,000 and informal probation of 3 years. The accused might also be forced to complete a batterer’s counseling program and pay for the victim’s care in a shelter for domestic violence victims.

What is the defense against PC 243(e) (1) charges?

Common defense strategies used to counter PC 243(e) (1) charges include:

  • Wrongful accusation

You could be the victim of a false accusation. Some alleged victims will make this accusation out of malice against the accused. This could be jealousy, scorn, revenge or an intention to portray the accused in a bad light like in a child custody case. If the alleged victim has made such accusations before, your defense is strong.

  • Self Defense

If the alleged victim got injured in a struggle where you were protecting yourself, the charges could be dismissed. You will need a witness or evidence to support a self-defense claim.

  • Accident injury

You can choose to prove that the alleged victim was hurt in circumstances that were not willful hence out of your control. If for example, you hurled a glass at the wall and the shards went on to injure your partner, that can said to be accidental.

What is the best defense?

In choosing the best defense the facts are what matter most. Are there witnesses or is the prosecutor relying on the victim’s word only? Are there visible injuries or photographs if the injuries have healed? What is the accused’s alibi?

A legal defense can also be mounted for example to prove that the court has no jurisdiction to hear the case, or that the charges are time-barred. If the prosecutor has a weak case, the defense attorney can go for a plea bargain.

Get legal assistance

If you are facing PC 243(e) (1) charges, it is strongly advised that you seek help from the Law Offices of Randy Collins. An experienced attorney can get the charges against you dismissed, or the penalties drastically reduced.

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