Domestic Violence and Battery Against Spouse

Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) occurs 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 a person with whom the defendant had or has a dating relationship.

Cohabitants can also be an unrelated man and woman or same sex couple living together in a serious relationship for a lengthy period of time. In addition the Court must look at if the couple shared finances and had joint use of property.

This charge is critical in the defense of any prosecution of domestic violence by the District Attorney because it isa lesser included offense in a more serious charge of penal code section 273.5.

That means the elements of the crime of spousal battery take less proof in getting a conviction by the District Attorney. In addition, as a result it will be considered a lesser offense and you will receive a less serious penalty by the Court.

That is why it is important for your lawyer to argue that the elements of the corporal injury to spouse charges cannot be met and the lesser included offense of penal codes section 243(e)(1) should be sought after.

Penal Code section 243(e)(1) is an important alternative to being charged with penal code section 273.5 because it is a straight misdemeanor and cannot be charged as a felony as corporal injury to the spouse can. Usually also a 243 charge will not include injuries that are as substantial as the ones in 273.5 charge. Therefore it is important when charged with a crime for 273.5 that an attorney look at any injury and make a determination if it falls under the “traumatic condition” of that statute. Because if it does not it should be reduced to Penal Code 243.

Penal Code section 243 is a general intent crime and injuries that result from the battery to not have to be a direct result of the Defendant upon the victim. In the case of Penal Code section 273.5 the injury must result from a direct application of force by the defendant on the victim.

It does not extend criminal liability to the direct, natural, and probable consequences of the battery. That means any inadvertent injury suffered by the victim during the assault that was not a direct assault on the victim by Defendant will fall under Penal Code 243.

An example of this type of injury that was found by the Courts to not be a direct application of force was when the Victim got injured by running from the Defendant and was not directly assaulted by the Defendant.

Often District Attorneys will negotiate a plea bargain with Defense Attorneys for the Defendant to plea guilty to Penal Code Section 243. A good Criminal Defense Lawyer can often prove that the Victims injuries were not substantive and cannot be proven to the Jury to be the result of any physical abuse by the Defendant.

Call the Law Office of David P Schwarz to assist you in your Defense to Spousal Battery. Complete the contact form on this website or call promptly (949) 735-9266 or toll-free (888) 768-6901.