What is domestic violence crimes that I can be charged with and what are some common defences?
Battery on spouse or cohabitant, PC 243(e)(1)
The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt two things:
- That the defendant committed a battery on a victim. (A batter in an unlawful touching without consent)
- At the time of the battery, Victim was the defendant’s spouse or fiancé, or an individual with whom defendant currently has or has had a dating relationship.
Endangering a child PC 273(a)
- Willfully caused or permitted any child to suffer physical pain or mental suffering, OR
- Willfully caused or permitted any child to be placed in a situation where the child suffers physical pain or mental suffering
PC 273(a) is most often charged in combination with a vehicle code violation such as reckless driving when children are in the car or Driving under the influence (DUI) with children in the car or leaving children in a car while the parent is in the store. PC 273(a) also is charged where living conditions in the child’s home are unsanitary.
Corporal injury to child PC 273d
The prosecution must prove that the Defendant willfully inflicts upon a child any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or an injury resulting in a traumatic condition.
Common defenses are that the Parent was lawfully disciplining their child. Also the prosecution has to prove the the discipline was either cruel or inhumane. California law allows for parents to spank their children as long as the parents are not cruel or cause a traumatic condition. A traumatic condition is an injury that is last a substantial amount of time.
Corporal injury on a spouse or mate - PC 273.5
The prosecution must prove that a defendant willfully inflicts spouse or cohabitant or the mother his child, corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison.
Here the prosecution has to prove that there was an injury inflicted upon the spouse. Commonly a black eye or sever bruising or any injury that causes bleeding is enough for the prosecution to allege this type of charge.
Common defenses are that the accusations are untrue or that the defendant was acting in self defense. In domestic disputes it is all to common for spouse to call the police and either make up or exaggerate the injuries. The most common situation that we see is one spouse is accused of being unfaithful and the jilted spouse strikes the other and then calls the police and accuses the defendant of domestic violence. Later after the situation calms down the spouse retracts the accusation. However these retractions are almost always disregarded by the district attorney’s office as product of batter spouse syndrome. A experienced attorney attorney can often help show the difference between a retraction based on real battered spouse and a retraction of a untrue accusation.