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Domestic battery charges are no laughing matter. Your reputation with your family, at work and in your community can be negatively impacted even if you are not convicted. If you are convicted, you could lose important rights. So, it is to your benefit to understand what constitutes domestic battery in California, and what penalties apply if you are convicted.

California domestic battery law

California law states that battery is an intentional and unlawful use of force against someone else. The crime of battery includes domestic battery.

Domestic battery occurs when a person commits battery against a spouse or ex-spouse, a partner they live with, their child’s other parent, fiancé or someone with whom they have a current or past dating relationship.

Domestic battery in California has enhanced penalties. If a person commits the basic crime of battery, they can face a fine of up to $2,000 and/or a jail term of six months. If a person commits domestic battery under this section of the law, they could face a fine of up to $2,000 and/or a jail term of 12 months.

It is possible to be released on probation or have your sentence suspended if you are convicted of domestic battery. However, to do so, you must participate in and complete a batterer’s treatment program for at least one year. Other conditions of probation can include either making payments to a domestic violence shelter or reimbursing the victim’s counseling and other expenses incurred due to the offense.

It could happen to you

Even couples who love each other deeply argue sometimes. Sometimes these arguments escalate into physical altercations by one or both parties.

Even if your partner was the one who started the fight or even if they hit you first, you could be arrested for domestic battery. If so, you need to understand the charges you face so you can develop an appropriate defense.