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Law enforcement officials in San Leandro can be very zealous in enforcing California’s domestic violence laws. Although domestic violence is not a crime unto itself, the term reflects the fact that the law imposes more severe penalties when certain crimes are committed between parties in a domestic relationship. To protect those who may be subject to such harm, domestic violence charges are sometimes imposed where they are not warranted, and restraining orders may be set in place that imposes an undue hardship. So, those who are facing charges involving assault or other domestic violence offenses are advised to consult a skilled San Leandro domestic battery lawyer about their case. A skilled domestic violence attorney could explain your charges, help evaluate your options, and advocate on your behalf in pursuit of a positive outcome to your case.

How Assault and Battery Laws Apply in a Domestic Situation

The terms assault and battery are often used together, but they are technically two separate offenses. Although assault is defined differently in other jurisdictions, in California an assault is an attempt to violently injure another person.

As long as the person attempting to commit the injury has the ability to do so, the crime of assault has been committed, even if no contact is made and no injury results. As defined by California Penal Code §240, the attempt itself is the crime. If the person succeeds in making contact and uses “willful and unlawful” force against another, then that person has committed battery.

Both assault and battery are punished more severely when they are committed against certain members of the population such as first responders. In addition, a battery is treated more seriously when one person in a domestic relationship uses unlawful force against another member of the relationship. A San Leandro domestic battery attorney could help identify what type and level of charges you are facing and what that might mean for your case.

When Does a Crime Become Domestic Violence?

As noted above, domestic violence is not independently defined as a crime by the California Penal Code but occurs when a violent crime is committed by one party to an intimate domestic relationship against another party. The following types of relationships generally trigger a domestic violence designation:

  • Those who are married or were married
  • People who live together or have lived together
  • Parents of a child, even if they have never lived together
  • Couples who are engaged, were formerly engaged, or have ever been in a dating relationship

Penalties for Domestic Battery

A simple assault is treated as a misdemeanor offense with penalties that include up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The penalties for a simple battery are similar, except that the maximum fine increases to $2,000.

When a battery occurs between people in a domestic relationship as defined above, however, the potential term of imprisonment is doubled, so those who commit a domestic violence battery may be sentenced to one year of imprisonment in addition to other potential consequences under CPC §243(e).

If the battery results in “serious bodily injury,” the offense may be penalized under CPC §243(d) and treated as a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. Other domestic violence crimes may have significantly higher penalties, particularly if the offense involves the use of a weapon or if resulting injuries are severe.

Work with a San Leandro Domestic Battery Attorney

Domestic violence cases are complex and often very emotional. Because the law takes a harsh stance against those accused of domestic violence crimes, it is important to make sure that the rights of everyone involved are protected.

Once you retain an experienced San Leandro domestic battery lawyer, your legal advocate could begin working right away to help you avoid pitfalls and reach the right outcome in your case. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn how a qualified attorney could help.

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