Domestic Battery

Domestic Battery

Domestic Battery

Penal Code §243(e)(1)


If you or someone you love is being investigated for, arrested for, or has been charged with violating Penal Code §243(e)(1) (Domestic Battery) time is not on your side. Every second of every day that passes, a professional team of experts at the Prosecutor’s Office is building their case against you. We strongly recommend that you contact an attorney immediately after learning about these charges, to help you build a strong, successful defense.



Domestic Battery involves the willful and illegal use of force or violence on a spouse, cohabitant, the parent of your child, former spouse, former fiancé or fiancée, or a former boy/girlfriend. The phrase “illegal use of force or violence” seems like a much higher threshold than it is. In fact, someone only needs to touch the other person for the act to be considered a battery. This could include hair-pulling, grabbing someone by the arm, pushing them, or any other contact that could be considered “offensive.”


In the State of California, Domestic Battery is governed by Penal Code §243(e)(1), which states:


When a battery is committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, former spouse, fiancé, or fiancée, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship, the battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment . . . .

California Penal Code §243(e)(1)


The Elements

In law, every charge carries with it a set of “elements” that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. All of the elements must be proven in order to convict someone of a given crime.


The two elements to Domestic Battery in California are:


  1. The accused person willfully touched the other person in a harmful or offensive way.
  2. The person they touched was a current or former spouse, fiancé, fiancée, boy/girlfriend, co-parent, or cohabitant.


*Note that the victim does not have to be injured for the act to be considered a battery.


Our office is experienced at finding which elements the prosecution cannot meet, or which elements are weak points in the prosecution’s case against you and may keep the prosecution from being able to prove you guilty of Domestic Battery under California Penal Code §243(e)(1).


Possible Penalties

As with many violent crimes, the penalties ascribed to violations are dependent on their severity. Conviction under California Penal Code §243(e)(1) is generally considered to be a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of up to one (1) year in county jail and the loss of the ability to own firearms.


Many instances of domestic battery may be, upon the discovery of additional evidence, charged as aggravated domestic battery or corporal injury. Each of which may be considered felonies and carry maximum penalties up to four (4) years in state prison.



The sooner you call our office the sooner we can hear the truth about what took place.  Depending on the facts of the situation, and whether you’ve called our office soon enough, we may be able to take the facts you share with us and meet with the prosecuting agency to keep charges from being formally filed against you.


If charges have already been filed against you, our office is experienced at going through all of the evidence line-by-line to find discrepancies and discover all possible defenses for your case.  As with all criminal cases, most defenses target at least one of the elements stated above.  Examples of defenses in a Domestic Battery case that we may be able to find in your favor include (but are not limited to):


  • FALSELY ACCUSED: The supposed victim made the claims as a means of getting back at the accused.
  • SELF-DEFENSE: The accused person was defending themselves and used reasonable force.
  • WRONGLY ACCUSED: You were not the person that performed the battery.


*Note: charges of domestic battery are brought by a prosecutor, not by the victim. The victim generally does not have the ability to “drop the charges,” out of fear, concern, or after “cooling down.”


Each case unique and may be better suited to one particular defense over another. Always speak to an attorney about all of your options when deciding the defense that may be best for you.  Call the Law Office of James Hassey at 619-745-5555 for your FREE consultation.