In California, domestic battery is a crime of violence within the larger category of domestic violence. Domestic battery is governed by California Penal Code 243(e)(1). Penal Code 243(e)(1) defines domestic battery as a battery upon an intimate partner.
Domestic violence can include mental or physical abuse at the hands of an intimate partner.
Important Definitions to Understand
A battery is the willful or unlawful use of force or violence on someone else. Making contact with another person is enough. The touching does not have to cause pain or injury of any kind.
An intimate partner can be the defendant’s current spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, fiancé, mother or father of the defendant’s child, a co-parent, or a person whom the defendant has or had a dating relationship.
Domestic battery vs. Domestic violence
A domestic battery charge under 243(e)(1) is always a misdemeanor.
However, there are more serious domestic violence charges under Penal Code 273.5 that can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the level of injury and case circumstances.
Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction
You should be aware that there are unexpected consequences that come along with a domestic violence conviction. These collateral consequences can affect your work situation and your future job prospects.
When trying to obtain a job, domestic violence convictions will come up in a background check and could result in being denied the job opportunity. Meaning, this could impede your ability to obtain promotions and leadership roles in any job.
Employers are not prohibited from refusing to hire convicted criminals.
Additionally, you may not be able to work in certain fields. Working with women, children, or vulnerable positions will likely be out of the question if you have a domestic violence conviction.
If you are a teacher, firefighter, or police officer, your job may be in serious jeopardy. These considerations should be taken into account when planning your defense with your attorney.
Additionally, a domestic violence conviction may result in the loss of your professional license. Depending upon the nature of the offense, a domestic violence conviction may result in the revocation of your professional license. The board issuing such licensing could review your conviction and determine that you have committed an offense worthy of losing your license.
For example, the medical and legal professions from San Francisco to San Diego have licensing boards that may inquire into a domestic violence conviction. Therefore, it is always advised that you know all of the consequences before you decide how to move forward with a violent crime charge, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can help with this.