Does a Violation of PC 243(e)(1) Require the Alleged Victim to have Visible Injury?

March 20, 2023

California penal code 243(e)(1) pc defines the crime of domestic battery as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon an intimate partner. This statute applies to individuals who are or have been in a dating relationship, cohabitants, or individuals who have a child together.

One of the key elements of this crime is the use of force or violence. According to case law, the use of force must be offensive touching, but it does not require that the alleged victim sustain a visible injury. The use of force can be as minor as a shove or a slap, and it is not necessary for the alleged victim to have visible injuries for an individual to be charged and convicted under this statute.

The reasoning behind this is that domestic battery is considered a crime of violence and it is meant to address the power dynamics in domestic relationships. It is not uncommon for victims of domestic battery to not have visible injuries, especially if the abuse is emotional or psychological in nature. Additionally, the lack of visible injury does not necessarily mean that the victim did not experience fear or trauma from the incident.

However, it’s important to note that the prosecution still has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused did in fact use force or violence against the alleged victim. Even in cases where there are no visible injuries, the prosecution can still establish the use of force through testimony from the victim, witnesses, or other evidence such as photos, videos, or audio recordings.

In addition, the prosecution can also prove that the defendant intended to use force by showing the defendant’s actions and words before, during, and after the incident. For example, if the defendant made threats or had a history of violent behavior, this can be used to establish the intent to use force.

It’s also important to mention that the severity of the punishment for domestic battery is usually related to the degree of the injury caused. If the alleged victim suffered visible injuries, the defendant will likely face a harsher sentence than if there were no visible injuries. Moreover, the district attorney will likely charge the defendant with a violation of penal code 273.5(a).

Furthermore, it’s also important to mention that the defendant could also face other charges in addition to domestic battery if the alleged victim sustains visible injuries. For example, if the victim sustains serious bodily injury, the defendant could face charges under penal code 243(d) which is the crime of battery causing serious bodily injury.

If you have been arrested and charged under PC 243(e)(1), then contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers today. Attorney John D. Rogers is a board-certified criminal law specialist by the State Bar of California. His office is located in Newport Beach, CA and he represents clients throughout Southern California in state and federal matters. If you’re seeking legal representation, give the Law Offices of John D. Rogers a call to schedule a free consultation. 

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