Domestic Battery


Penal Code 243(e)(1)

Domestic battery” also referred to as “spousal battery” and “spousal assault” is charged under California Penal Code 243(e)(1) and is the most common misdemeanor offense pertaining to domestic violence allegations.

To be convicted of Domestic Battery the Prosecutor must prove:

  • Defendant willfully inflicted unlawful force or violence upon his/her intimate partner.

An intimate partner includes one of the following:

  • A current or former spouse,
  • A fiancé or fiancée,
  • A co-parent of Defendant’s child,
  • A person that Defendant is having or a had a dating relationship with,
  • A person living with Defendant.

Unlawful Use of Force defined:

  • Any illegal physical contact
  • inflicted upon Defendant’s intimate partner.

NOTE:  The Prosecutor does not have to prove defendant caused pain or harm to his/her intimate partner. The only thing that has to be demonstrated is that the contact stemmed from anger or to harass.

Upon the person defined:

  • Any touching about the intimate partner’s body, clothing or something closely attached to or closely connected to the intimate partner, such as a clothing garment, briefcase/purse. 

Willful defined:

  • Intentional hostile or offensive unwanted physical touching/contact.

If convicted of domestic battery under PC 243(e)(1) you could face the following penalties:

  • Up to $2,000 in fines;
  • Up to one year in county jail;
  • Informal probation 🡪for up to three years.
  • If probation is granted, the court will require you to complete a one year batterer’s treatment program.