What is Domestic Battery? A Helpful And Useful Overview of Domestic Battery

Table of Contents

What is a Domestic Battery?


Merano Domestic battery is a willful or unlawful touching towards a current or former intimate partner (spouse, cohabitant, fiancé, dating partner, co-parent) in a harmful or offensive way, and not an act of self-defense. An unlawful touching can be defined as:

  • A rude or angry touch
  • The touching does not have to cause pain or injury.
  • Contact with another’s clothing
  • Spitting on another, etc.

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A willful act is committed on purpose, there does not need to be an intent to hurt someone, break the law, nor gain an advantage. See the full law here Penal Code § 243(e)(1)

  • Example: Claire and Paul are in a relationship and hosting a couples game night at their house. Claire is competitive and is set on winning charades. Claire acts out a movie, but Paul is not able to correctly guess the name of it before the timer runs out. Upset, Claire walks back to sit next to Paul on the couch and smacks his arm for losing the round. Claire can be charged for domestic battery.


What defenses are there against a domestic battery charge?

Self-defense can be raised as a defense against a domestic battery claim. Proof that force was needed to defend yourself because you felt threatened by immediate harm. Self-defense is an affirmative defense where you admit to have engaged in certain behavior to protect yourself or another. View the full text of the law here (People v. Myers, 61 Cal. App. 4th 328 (1998); People v. Ross, 155 Cal. App. 4th 1033 (2007))

  • Example: Claire and Paul are mini golfing on a date night. Claire is losing to Paul, and on the last hole Paul scores a hole in one. Frustrated Claire raises her golf club in Paul’s direction and lunges towards him. Paul grabs the golf club and pushes Claire, she falls into the pond and sustains a broken arm. Paul can use self-defense to help against a domestic battery charge.


How can a criminal defense attorney help you when you are charged with domestic battery?

A criminal defense attorney can help with finding alternative solutions to jail. At our office in Laguna Hills, CA, Attorney Christine Martin has had success in finding alternative treatment programs for clients to participate in rather than spending their days in custody. Criminal Attorney Martin can also represent a person charged with domestic battery at trial if there are any disputable in the case the prosecution has filed against you. Please contact Christine Martin Law at (949) 424-3040

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