California Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC

PC 243(e)(1) – Domestic Battery


Domestic Battery – Table of Contents

What is Domestic Battery in California?

Domestic battery is the most common form of violence inflicted upon a current or former intimate partner, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, or a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child. Unlike corporal injury to spouse or cohabitant, domestic battery does not require the victim to have a visible injury and it can only be tried as a misdemeanor. Thus, it is the lesser of the two charges.

Intent is Key

In order to be convicted of domestic abuse the prosecutor must prove that you willfully inflicted force or violence upon your intimate partner or another.

Punishments for a Domestic Battery Charge

If convicted of domestic battery you will face:

  1. Up to one year in county jail
  2. Up to $2,000 in fines
  3. Up to 3-years of informal probation
  4. Forced participation in a 52-week batterer’s program
  5. Pay a maximum of $5,000 to a battered women’s shelter

Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction
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Prosecuting Domestic Battery Charge

As previously noted, in order to be convicted of domestic violence the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you:

  1. Willfully inflicted
  2. Force or violence
  3. Upon your intimate partner

The law does not treat homo-sexual partner any different from heterosexual partners in accordance to domestic battery CA PC 243(e)(1).

Was it Accidental?

To fully understand what the prosecutor has to prove it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the penal code and the language used to write the law. The first element of the crime states that you must willfully inflict; willfully is defined by the state as on purpose or intentional. In basic terms, it means that you cannot be prosecuted for domestic battery if you accidentally hurt your intimate partner. If it can be proven the contact was accidental, a good attorney can push for a dismissal.

Was Force Used?

The next element of the crime states that you use force or violence. In simple terms, this means that you have the physical aspect of the crime, meaning you have to physically touch your intimate partner; even the softest touch can qualify as force or violence. However, if you do not touch your intimate partner or throw something that touches your partner then you cannot be convicted of domestic battery.

Was the Victim Touched?

The final element of the crime states that the action was performed upon your intimate partner. California defines the word touch; furthermore, you qualify as touching someone if you touch their body, clothing, or something attached to that person. If it can be proven there was no contact, a good attorney can push for dismissal.

Was there a Visible Injury?

With a full understanding of the language of the law it is easier to see what the prosecutor has to do to prove your guilt. The one element of the crime that is missing from this crime and not from Corporal Injury on a Spouse or Cohabitant is that there has to be a visible injury. Because CA Penal Code 273.5 is the more serious of the two crimes it requires real and visible signs of abuse. However, Domestic Battery CA PC 243(e)(1) does not require there to be a visible sign of abuse, this makes the prosecutor’s job easier and that’s the reason why you will often be presented with a plea bargain to accept a domestic battery PC 243(e)(1) charge in lieu of a 273.5 charge.


Defending Domestic Abuse Charges

Because of the nature of domestic abuse charges, it is not uncommon for people to be wrongly accused and subsequently wrongfully arrested. These types of crimes often involve jealous and revengeful partners who want to punish their significant others for cheating, breaking up, etc. And believe that filing a false police report is a great way to successfully seek their revenge.

Luckily, for this type of incident there are number of legal defenses that a skilled criminal defense attorney can show in order to prove your innocence, and subsequently get the case dismissed.

Self Defense

The first and commonly used defense is that you were acting in self-defense. California citizens are protected by law from being punished for defending themselves when they reasonably believe that they will suffer serious injury. The laws are very clear, and strict, and state that you must use the least amount of force necessary to protect yourself. This means that if you were initially acting in self-defense but then continue to inflict force upon another person once you’re safe then you can be charged with a crime.

However, if you believed that you were going to suffer serious injury because your intimate partner was aggressively attacking you, or about to attack you, then you should be protected under California law and it will then be up to your skilled criminal defense attorney to prove your innocence.


If the force or violence that you inflicted upon your significant other was an accident then you should not be charged with the crime. As previously mentioned, the act has to willful, meaning that it has to be on purpose and if it wasn’t then you didn’t fulfill the first element of the crime. If your attorney can prove that the force or violence that you inflicted upon the victim was an accident and was not malicious or on purpose then you will not be convicted of domestic battery CA PC 243(e)(1).

False Allegation

Finally, as touched upon earlier, another viable legal defense is that your attorney can prove that you are the victim of false allegations and are innocent of the crime. For the approach, your attorney will have to attack the ‘victim’s’ credibility and see if there have been other police reports filed by this person before and see if they are revengeful and spiteful. If your attorney can prove to the court, the jury, and the prosecutor that you never touched the victim then your charges will be dropped.

The more serious charge is:

CA Penal Code 273.5, Corporal Injury on a Spouse or Cohabitant.

We Want to Help

If you or a loved one is facing domestic battery PC 243, Domestic Battery charges, then it’s imperative to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney immediately. Seppi Esfandi is a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney and has experience defending California in a variety of crimes, including “Domestic Battery”.

Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529

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Lara S.
June 4, 2018
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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