Los Angeles Domestic Battery Lawyer

When there are no or minor injuries and the defendant has no prior convictions, domestic battery under California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) PC may be your final charge. Call the Los Angeles domestic battery Lawyers at LACD if you're facing any related criminal charges. We offer a free consultation.

If you are arrested for domestic violence charges in Los Angeles, California, most probably you are going to be cited for corporal injury to a spouse in violation of California Penal Code Section 273.5 PC, which is a “wobbler” offense, meaning it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. However, when there are no or minor injuries and the defendant has no prior convictions, domestic battery under California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) PC may be your final charge.

The statute in California makes it a misdemeanor crime to use violence or force or inflict injuries to an intimate partner. However, the law does not require there to be a visible physical injury for one to be convicted of the crime of Domestic Battery.

Charges of domestic battery are different from those of domestic violence, although similar in specific ways. Domestic battery allegations are always prosecuted as misdemeanor offenses, while domestic violence is a wobbler offense, It can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.

Who Is Considered an Intimate Partner Under California’s Domestic Battery Law?

What differentiates domestic battery from other types of battery is that the victim is an intimate partner of the alleged criminal. In California, an intimate partner can be any of the following people:

  • A spouse, fiancé, ex-spouse, or ex-fiancé.
  • The other parent of a child.
  • Anyone in a dating relationship, whether current or former.
  • Anyone in a sexual relationship, whether current or former.
  • Anyone who is cohabitating together.

Intimate partners may be those engaged in either a hetero or homosexual relationship. Additionally, cohabitants may have no romantic link. Instead, two unrelated roommates living together can be considered cohabitating. You can also cohabitate with more than one other person at the same time.

Dating relations that are not sexual can also be considered an intimate partner. So long as there is an expectation of affection between the parties, the relationship can form the basis for a domestic battery charge.

The Law of Domestic Battery in California

WHAT ARE PENAL CODE Section 243(e)(1) PC?

California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) PC (the law) is a misdemeanor level offense, which carries with it other collateral consequences in addition to extensive court penalties.

It is very important to keep in mind that a physical contact does not have to be severe to be charged with a Domestic Battery in Los Angeles. According to California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) PC, even a push or shove without any physical harm can support criminal charges of domestic battery.

If a defendant’s actions were solely verbal and there was no offensive or harmful physical contact, they are not guilty of domestic battery. However, a potential felony charge of criminal threats in violation of California Penal Code Section 422 PC may be brought against defendants who make violent threats.

What Are The Elements of a Domestic Battery Offense?

For a conviction of this offense, however, the prosecutor must prove two elements of the crime to be true. These are:

  • You unlawfully and willingly offensively touched the alleged victim or made verbal threats to them
  • The person must have been an intimate partner to you either currently or formerly

The prosecution’s ability to show that the defendant touched the victim in a harmful or offensive manner and that the victim is either the defendant’s current or former spouse, cohabitant, fiancé, co-parent, or someone with whom the defendant once had a dating relationship is the most crucial element for a domestic battery offense in Los Angeles, California.

How Does a Prosecutor Prove Domestic Battery?

The victim’s testimony is often used by the prosecution in cases of domestic violence. Additional witnesses who saw the battery may appear, and the jury may be shown photographic proof of the injuries. In many situations, the victim may not want to file a complaint, but the prosecutor will often do so even if the witness is uncooperative. A warrant may be issued if the victim does not appear in court after being summoned to testify.

Previously, prosecutors were able to introduce the victim’s hearsay statements to police when the victim was unavailable at trial. The United States Supreme Court recently found this to be a violation of the Confrontation Clause which allows criminal defendants to confront their accusers.

Penalties and Consequences

In California, domestic battery is a misdemeanor crime. If you are convicted of domestic battery, the maximum punishment you will face is up to a year in county jail and a $2,000 fine.

However, the judge has the power to order that you serve summary probation instead of jail time if you are convicted. Probation can replace some or all of your sentenced time behind bars. If you receive summary probation for a domestic violence conviction, you will need to complete California’s batterer’s intervention program or counseling in addition to other conditions. These conditions can include community service, drug or alcohol screening or treatment, and avoiding additional criminal charges.

Additionally, if you are convicted of domestic battery, you will also be subject to a protective order or restraining order that prohibits you from unnecessary contact with the victim. These orders will specifically bar you from any threatening or harassing conduct towards your intimate partner.

Felony vs. Misdemeanor Domestic Battery

Significant differences exist between a felony and a misdemeanor domestic battery. However, there are times when what started as a felony gets considerably reduced to a misdemeanor.

A felony is a serious level of criminal battery offense. It is one that causes the severe injury of another person. When convicted of a felony, you are sentenced to serve time in a prison facility for a minimum of one year and beyond in Los Angeles, California. You can also be placed on probation for a specified period of time. A felony conviction comes with far greater consequences among them being the loss of voting rights, loss of employment and housing opportunities.

A misdemeanor, on the other hand, involves crimes that require a sentence for a period of up to one-year maximum in jail. Under the Penal Code Section 17 (b) PC, there are certain felonies that are reflected as wobblers. A wobbler offense can either be considered as a felony or misdemeanor.

Domestic violence charges may be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony. However, Domestic battery allegations are always prosecuted as misdemeanor offenses. How the prosecutor files the charges is based on the seriousness of the case. Severe injuries (including cuts and broken bones) will almost always result in felony charges. No injury cases will generally be filled as misdemeanors. Prior acts of domestic violence and the criminal history of the accused may also influence how the case is filed.


  • Jail sentence (up to one-year county jail)
  • Counseling (52-week program)
  • 40 hours of community service or physical labor (CalTrans)
  • Various court fines
  • Stay-Away Order from the victim, including moving out of residence
  • “No Harm, No Strike” Order for couples.


  • Prison time (punishable by two to four years in state prison)
  • Counseling (52-week program)
  • 40 hours of community service or physical labor (CalTrans)
  • Various court fines
  • Stay-Away Order from the victim, including moving out of residence
  • “No Harm, No Strike” Order for couples.

Consequences of a Domestic Battery Conviction

If a defendant is found guilty of domestic battery, the court may impose a number of penalties. When someone is found guilty of domestic battery, judges frequently order them to undergo a 52-week domestic abuse counseling program. The offender might also be forced to pay high court fines, complete hours of community service or community labor, and serve jail time. Typically, the court will impose a protective order preventing the defendant from getting in touch with the victim.

The defendant would be barred from having or possessing weapons for a specific period of time and would be required to surrender all firearms. Furthermore, having a domestic battery conviction on one’s criminal record could be problematic with some state professional licensing bodies and would probably be discovered by employers that undertake background checks.

Strategies and Legal Defenses

If you are wrongly accused of domestic battery, the first thing you have to do is find a reputable attorney with experience with such cases. That step is vital, as such cases are often complex and impossible to navigate on your own. With that said, there are three types of legal defense strategies that most lawyers would use in such cases, and they include:


In this scenario, you will have to prove that you harmed your intimate partner in the act of self-defense. However, this will only be a valid defense if you manage to convince the prosecution that you were in danger and that a level of force was absolutely necessary. You ultimately need to prove that you could have ended up with severe injuries if you did not defend yourself


A domestic battery charge can only occur if you touch your partner knowingly and willfully. In this scenario, your attorney will have to argue that while you did touch them, it was unwillingly, and you didn’t mean to harm them in any way.


It may be the case that you get accused of domestic battery without doing anything wrong. Typically, these kinds of false accusations happen due to jealousy or because your current or former intimate partner wants to get revenge (especially if you’ve had recent arguments). Here, your lawyer will have to show and even prove that your intimate partner had a reason to want to harm you and that you were falsely accused.

Regardless of the classification of the offense, it is important that you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel to help you best understand your legal defense while identifying an outcome that best minimizes your risk. At LACD, we patiently await your call (818) 855-2115.

Frequently Asked Question

Domestic battery means that there is any kind of force or unwanted touching in a domestic relationship. It’s common to assume that domestic battery only happens if somebody gets physical injuries like a bruise or broken limb. However, even just a rude or angry touch can because a domestic battery charge.

Domestic battery is slightly different from domestic assault. For a domestic battery charge, the actual act of violence needs to be carried out. For a domestic assault charge, the victim just has to feel threatened and understand that they could be seriously injured if the violent act is carried out. Because battery typically follows assault, the charges are often combined.

Just because you are charged with domestic battery doesn’t mean that you will be convicted and face penalties. There are many situations in which a person may be charged with domestic battery but that individual was doing nothing wrong. The person charged may have been acting in self-defense, or might even be set up by a vengeful spouse. In domestic battery cases, it’s important to realize that things aren’t always what they seem at first.

An experienced domestic violence defense lawyer will build a great defense and may be able to help you get your case dismissed before a trial is necessary. Some common defenses for domestic battery charges include:

If a person is acting to protect themselves or others, then they have an affirmative defense to domestic battery charges.

False allegations:
Because domestic battery allegations happen between domestic partners, they are usually emotionally charged. One spouse could report a false act to get back at the other.

Failure to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt:
The prosecution must prove to the judge or jury that the act happened beyond a reasonable doubt. If they are unable to do this, then the defendant will be found not guilty.

If you’ve been accused, you’re probably curious about what a domestic battery charge’s penalties are. Domestic battery is usually a misdemeanor crime if a deadly weapon wasn’t used or injuries weren’t severe. However, if it’s the third domestic battery offense, a deadly weapon was used, or injuries were severe, then the domestic battery is a felony crime.

In a Nevada domestic battery case, only the prosecutor can drop the charges. The alleged victim may be ordered to testify in court and they can’t drop the charges. This is because domestic battery is a crime governed by the state and the state issues the charges.

However, the victim has the option to file a civil suit even if a criminal charge is already filed. A civil offense would allow the victim to gain money for injuries and loss of wages. In a criminal case, guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, there only needs to be a preponderance of the evidence. Although the victim can’t drop the domestic battery charges in a criminal case, they can drop the charges in a civil case.

An allegation of domestic battery often influences a child custody battle between separated parents. When deciding child custody cases, judges consider what is in the best interest of the child. One factor in this is if a parent has been charged or accused of domestic battery before.

Because domestic battery allegations may be false, the family law court holds a hearing to determine if there is clear and convincing evidence of domestic violence. If that evidence is found, then the individual is presumed to be unfit for custody of the child.

If you have been charged with domestic battery, you can’t legally possess a firearm. Owning a firearm is illegal for any previous felony conviction, and it’s also illegal for any type of conviction involving domestic battery.

This law has no exceptions, meaning that a person in the military, law enforcement, or security industry could be prevented from continuing their employment in that field.

Although domestic battery convictions come with serious penalties and consequences, being accused doesn’t mean that you will be charged. There are many ways to defend and even dismiss a domestic battery case. If you’ve been charged with domestic battery, contact our expert criminal through this form defense lawyers today for a free consultation.

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Legal Advice and Free Consultation

It is essential to speak with an experienced Los Angeles Domestic Battery Lawyer, a lawyer who is skilled in handling domestic violence cases the appropriate way if you or a loved one is accused of domestic battery. Our lawyers at LACD vigorously defends their clients accused of domestic battery or any other domestic violence related crimes in Los Angeles. In many cases we are able to get the charges dropped or greatly reduced before a matter ever reaches court.

Our attorneys have over 55 years of combined criminal law experience and are ready to defend you. Call us right away (818) 855-2115, or fill the form below and we will contact you as soon as possible.

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