In Visalia, CA, when law enforcement officials arrive at the scene of a domestic violence disturbance, the officers will always arrest the accused offender. Once an arresting officer arrives to the scene of the crime and deems that the alleged victim is under clear and present danger, the officer will grant an Emergency Protective Order against the defendant.
While many people might think that the suspect in these specific cases is always male, this is simply not the case. Police officers have recently started to see more and more female defendants in spousal abuse cases.
California Penal Code 234(e)(1)
Because there are varying degrees of domestic violence offenses, law enforcement officials must be able to use their trained judgment to correctly charge a suspect. More common than any other charge, California Penal Code 243 (e)(1) is typically issued for specific situations that involve domestic battery where the suspect consciously uses violent force against their significant other.
In regards to California Penal Code 234(e)(1), the term "significant other" can be used to describe both heterosexual and homosexual relationships as both are considered to be the same under California law.
The Difference Between Penal Code 243(e)(1) & Other Penal Codes
Different than other domestic violence offenses, California Penal Code 243(e)(1) is the least serious and is always considered to be a misdemeanor offense. Because the law is viewed to be a less serious crime, women are also commonly known to be charged for this wrongdoing. Once a suspect has been accused of domestic abuse under California Penal Code 243 (e)(1), he or she can be convicted of the crime even if there was no physical injury.
For any case that involves bodily harm, the state of California might decide to seek additional convictions under Penal Code 243 (d) and Penal Code 273.5. It's important to know that both of these charges carry much stronger penalties.
Strongest Penalties for California Penal Code 243 (e)(1)
Carrying the lightest domestic violence penalties, violating California Penal Code 243 (e)(1) can only result in a misdemeanor offense with the potential consequences including a one-year jail sentence, informal probation for no longer than 3 years, and a fine of up to $2,000.
Additionally, the court might require the defendant to complete a domestic violence program while also donating money to certain men's or women's shelters and paying for the victim's therapy, legal costs, and any other relative expenses.
California Penal Code 273.5 - Corporal Injury
Also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, domestic violence corporal injury, and spousal battery, California Penal Code 273.5 is much more serious than Penal Code 243 (e)(1). While men are typically perceived to be the only ones that are charged with this crime, it's important to know that women can be charged as well. There has been an unprecedented amount of female charges within the past several years.
Because of the stiffer penalties, anyone who has been accused of violating Penal Code 273.5 can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the case specifics. Different than many other crimes, once an investigation has started under California Penal Code 273.5, victims no longer can drop the charges. If you are a woman who has been charged with this specific form of domestic violence, you should anticipate that prosecutors will seek maximum penalties regardless of whether or not the victim has reversed any previous statements.
How Does a California Penal Code 273.5 Arrest Occur?
Generally occurring after a loud altercation turns into a physical fight, domestic violence can happen to anyone. While the altercation is taking place, either the victim or a witness will call the dispute into the police. At this point, the police will show up at the scene and take a statement from the potential victim.
Should a police officer see any sign of injury during the initial investigation, he or she will begin documenting the injury by taking pictures of the victim's injuries. Once the evidence has been collected, despite the seriousness of the injury, it can be extremely difficult to have the charges dismissed under California Penal Code 273.5.
Penalties for California Penal Code 273.5 Violations
Depending on whether or not you're convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, the penalties for violating this law can have varying levels of consequences. A felony count of California Penal Code 273.5 will depend on the severity of the victim's injuries, the defendant's criminal background, and his or her history of violence.
When charged with a misdemeanor, you will be faced with:
- Up to a year in county jail
- A restraining order
- Up to three years of probation
- Community service
- Abuse and mental counseling
- Up to $6,000 in fines
- Payments to domestic violence organizations
- Weekly or monthly payments to the victim
A felony charge could result in:
- Up to four years in prison
- Abuse therapy
- Community service
- Mental counseling
- Five additional years in prison
False charges of California Penal Code 273.5 are much more common than you might think. Whether it's because of revenge, out of anger, or a misunderstanding, many significant others are frequently wrongfully charged with domestic violence.
Often, the victim will feel guilty for making the false claim and will try to reverse his or her comments to make things right. Unfortunately, at this point, it's too late to stop the charges once the investigation has started. It's important to remember that both men and women can make poor decisions when an intense domestic dispute takes place. Because of this and the negative consequences that can occur, you should never physically act when you are overemotional.