Arrested for Assault or Battery?
In the context of domestic violence, battery (the unlawful touching of another) is almost always charged under Penal Code Section 243(e)(1). This is a misdemeanor carrying a maximum sentence of one year in county jail. However, anyone convicted of domestic violence will also be required to complete a 52-week domestic violence class. Additionally, domestic violence convictions are considered crimes of moral turpitude in California. This can have serious consequences for future employment. Often, families discovery that the consequences of the domestic violence conviction are worse than the fight which caused that initial call to the police.
In cases where an injury has occurred, the battery will usually be charged as a violation of Penal Code Section 273.5, corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant. This is a felony and carries a maximum sentence of four years in California state prison. A felony conviction will also make you or you loved one essentially unemployable and, if not a U.S. citizen, deportable.
Assault is defined under California Penal Code Section 240 as an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another. Strictly speaking, this is not part of the California domestic violence law. However, it is often filed as a separate count in a domestic violence case. If the court determines that the 240 violation occurred within a domestic dispute, then the same 52-week class will be imposed.
California domestic violence laws are so extreme that virtually every hostile behavior can become a criminal charge. There really is no such things as an innocent argument or dispute in California. If you call the police because of any form of argument or altercation, it is almost inevitable that the government is going to attempt to prosecute your or your loved one. When this happens, you need an experienced domestic violence lawyer. If you have been arrested, or think that you may be, call Attorney Joseph T. Rhea to start your defense.