Domenstic Violence Charges

Domestic Violence charges are usually limited to violations of either section 273.5(a) or 243(e)(1) of the Penal Code. There are a few key differences between these two sections. Section 243(e)(1) can only be charged as a misdemeanor and is limited to instances where the alleged injury, if any, is very slight. Section 273.5(a), on the other hand, can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony and is reserved for circumstances in which the alleged injury results in a "traumatic condition." If there is an allegation that the act of domestic violence resulted in Great Bodily Injury, the consequences become even more severe than those listed below, including "Strike" consequences. There are a number of factors that are considered in charging and dealing with domestic violence cases. The first step you should take if you’ve been accused of domestic violence is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.


California Penal Code Section 273.5(a)

(a) Any person who willfully inflicts upon a person who is his or her spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or the mother or father of his or her child, corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four
years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of up to six thousand dollars ($6,000) or by both that fine and imprisonment.

California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1)

(e) (1) When a battery is committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, former spouse, fiancé, or fiancée, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship, the battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment. If probation is granted, or the execution or imposition of the sentence is suspended, it shall be a condition thereof that the defendant participate in, for no less than one year, and successfully complete, a batterer’s treatment program, as defined in Section 1203.097, or if none is available, another appropriate counseling program designated by the court. However, this provision shall not be construed as requiring a city, a county, or a city and county to provide a new program or higher level of service as contemplated by Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

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Penal Code Section 245

One of the most common Penal Codes to be charged with is Penal Code section 245. As you can see below, it is extremely complex, depending on the specific subsection that one is charged with based upon the allegations in the police report. In general, section 245 can encompass everything from swinging a fist at someone (without actually striking them) to actually firing at someone (and even striking them) with a firearm. Making section 245 even more complex is the fact that under certain circumstances, convictions for violations of this section amount to "Strikes." Knowing what factors lead to "Strikes" and which ones do not requires the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. All too often, Defendants enter pleas to violations of section 245 under the mistaken belief that they are avoiding a "Strike" when in actuality, because they have relied upon poor legal advice or their own misunderstanding of the law, they have been left with a "Strike" on their record for the rest of their lives.


California Penal Code Section 245

(a) (1) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm or by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.

(2) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a firearm shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not less than six months and not exceeding one year, or by both a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and imprisonment.

(3) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a machine gun, as defined in Section 12200, or an assault weapon, as defined in Section 12276 or 12276.1, or a .50 BMG rifle, as defined in Section 12278, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 4, 8, or 12 years.

(b) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a semiautomatic firearm shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, six, or nine years.

(c) Any person who commits an assault with a deadly weapon or instrument, other than a firearm, or by any means likely to produce great bodily injury upon the person of a peace officer or firefighter, and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties, when the peace officer or firefighter is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, four, or five years.

(d) (1) Any person who commits an assault with a firearm upon the person of a peace officer or firefighter, and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties, when the peace officer or firefighter is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for four, six, or eight years.

(2) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of a peace officer or firefighter with a semiautomatic firearm and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties, when the peace officer or firefighter is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for five, seven, or nine years.

(3) Any person who commits an assault with a machine gun, as defined in Section 12200, or an assault weapon, as defined in Section 12276 or 12276.1, or a .50 BMG rifle, as defined in Section 12278, upon the person of a peace officer or firefighter, and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 6, 9, or 12 years.

(e) When a person is convicted of a violation of this section in a case involving use of a deadly weapon or instrument or firearm, and the weapon or instrument or firearm is owned by that person, the court shall order that the weapon or instrument or firearm be deemed a nuisance, and it shall be confiscated and disposed of in the manner provided by Section 12028.

(f) As used in this section, “peace officer” refers to any person designated as a peace officer in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2.

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