Valencia Resource Center
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, it can be one of the most difficult periods in your life. If you were arrested for the crimes of domestic abuse, child endangerment and/or the related crime of battery, you are likely experiencing familial complications and challenges, in addition to your legal challenges. Domestic abuse, child endangerment and battery are some of the most common charges filed in Valencia and experienced Valencia attorney, Daniel E. Kann provides excellent legal representation with compassion and sensitivity to each of his client's unique circumstances.
If you are charged in Valencia California with battery, domestic abuse or child endangerment, please contact the law offices of Daniel E. Kann. Daniel E. Kann is an experienced Valencia attorney who can help you during this difficult time.
Types of Battery
Battery crimes charged in Valencia California include the following:
- General Battery
- Domestic Battery
- Child Endangerment
General Battery – California Penal Code 242
Under California Penal Code 242, battery is any touching that is found harmful or offensive. Battery is punishable under PC 242 when the following elements are proven:
- The defendant used force or violence upon the person of another.
- The force was willful and unlawful.1
Battery typically involves a punch or shove, but battery convictions can result from spitting, knocking someone over, or even kissing someone when he or she has made it clear that physical contact is unwanted. The alleged victim does not have to suffer injury or harm for a defendant to face a battery conviction. As long as there is evidence that the defendant made unwanted contact, the defendant may be convicted of battery.
Penalties for Battery Conviction
A PC 242 battery conviction is a misdemeanor and punishable in county jail up to six months.
Defenses to Battery Charge under PC 242
Perhaps the most common defense of battery is self-defense. A person has the right in California to defend herself if she feels threatened. In such cases, the prosecution may say that the defendant was involved in a physical fight. The defendant will have to explain the circumstances of the incident and prove her side of the story. Other potential defenses include accidental touching and mistaken identity.
Domestic battery - California Penal Code 273.5
Domestic battery, also known as domestic violence, domestic abuse, spousal abuse or spousal battery, is punishable under PC 273.5 when the following elements are proven:
- The defendant willfully inflicted corporal injury on a victim;
- The injury was upon someone with whom the defendant had a domestic relationship; and
- The corporal injury resulted in a traumatic condition.2
Willfully inflicting corporal injury means that the defendant intended use violent force upon a victim's body. Corporal injury is a physical injury to the body that most commonly derives from hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, pushing or biting. A domestic relationship means one of the following: the defendant's current or former spouse, a person with whom the defendant currently lives or has lived with in the past or it can mean the mother or father of the defendant's child.3 A "traumatic condition" is defined under PC 273.5 as "a condition of the body, such as a wound, or external or internal injury, including, but not limited to, injury as result of strangulation or suffocation, whether of a minor or serious nature, caused by physical force."4 Basically, the prosecution only has to show there is some injury to the victim's body. The injury can be as major as a broken body part or as minor as a scratch, bruise or some swelling or redness on the victim's body.
Penalties for Domestic Abuse
A felony conviction for domestic abuse will result in state imprisonment for two-four years or imprisonment in the county jail for up to a year, fines up to $6,000; or both imprisonment and fines.5 Penalties may be increased if the defendant has a domestic violence conviction under California Penal Code 243(e), a prior conviction under California Penal Code 242 for battery or Penal Code 243.4 for sexual battery, or certain types of assault and that prior conviction is within seven years of the acts resulting in a conviction under PC 273.5.6 In addition to the fines and prison time, the defendant will face probation/parole matters.7
If the defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor PC 273.5 he is subject to same fines as a felony conviction, but is jail time is limited to county jail and to one year. A defendant convicted of a misdemeanor PC 273.5 charge will also face the same probation matters as a felony conviction, except that the defendant will face up to three years of informal or summary probation.
Defenses to California Penal Code 273.5
Legal defense to the charge of domestic battery include:
- The injuries sustained by the victim were the result of an accident.
- The victim has falsely accused the defendant of the crime.
- Defendant acted in self defense.
Child Endangerment – California Penal Code 273a(a)
California Penal Code Section 273a(a) defines the crime of child endangerment8 and in order to convict a defendant of the crime, the prosecution must prove the following:
- The defendant willfully inflicted "unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering" on a child;
- The defendant caused the pain and suffering as a result of criminal negligence; and;
- The incident involving the child happened under the defendant's watch.
For example, a parent who entrusts his or her child to someone who is known to the parent to be reckless, negligent, or violent can be charged with child endangerment. Allowing a child to have access to dangerous objects, weapons, or drugs can also lead to a child endangerment charge. Behavior exhibited towards or in the presence of a child, such as reckless driving, dangerous home conditions, and illegal drug possession, use, and sale, can lead to child endangerment charges. In California, another common example of child endangerment is the act of a parent or caregiver leaving a young child unattended and alone in a hot car.
If these same circumstances are true, but occur in conditions that were not likely to produce harm to the child, the defendant will be charged with misdemeanor child endangerment instead of a felony.
However, if the child endangerment or child abuse leads to the child's death, it is considered a felony and the defendant can be charged with a number of different crimes such as Penal Code Section 273ab, Assault Resulting in Death, Comatose State, or Paralysis of a Child Under 8 and the defendant could face 25 years to life in a state prison. If the abuse or endangerment results in death, the defendant can also be charged with murder under Penal Code Section 187.
Punishment if Convicted under 273a
Child Endangerment under Penal Code Section 273a can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Charged as a misdemeanor, child endangerment can carry up to one year in county jail. Charged as a felony, child endangerment can be punished by two years, four years, or six years in state prison.
Due to the serious nature of child endangerment and the strict penalties associated with the crime under California law, those who have been found guilty of the act of child endangerment will likely be on probation. Such probation contains several unique conditions. If a defendant is on probation, under California Penal Code Section 273a(c), child endangerment probation requires the following:
- A mandatory minimum period of probation of 48 months;
- A protective order shielding the victim from further violent acts or threats, which may include residence exclusions or stay-away conditions;
- A minimum of one year in an approved child abuser's treatment counseling program; and
- If the offense was committed while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, the defendant must abstain from such substances during probation and can be subjected to random drug testing.
However, some or all of these conditions may be dropped if it is found that they would not be in the best interests of justice.9
Defenses to the Charge of Child Endangerment
There are several defenses to the charge of child endangerment. Effective defenses included the following:
- The act was not willful, i.e.; it was unintentional.
- The parent exercised their right to discipline their child, i.e.; they employed "reasonable" corporal punishment such as spanking without causing injury to the child.
- The defendant was falsely accused, i.e.; the child or someone else made up the story.
- The child was injured or somehow endangered but the defendant was not culpable. This could occur where the defendant left the child with a third party whom the defendant had no reason to believe would harm or endanger the child.
Defending Your Rights & Future
Valencia criminal defense attorney Daniel E. Kann has the legal skills and dedication to protect you and your family's future if you are charged with the crimes of Battery, Domestic Battery or Child Endangerment. Daniel E. Kann has dedicated his career to protecting the rights of Valencia defendants and their families. If you have been charged with any of these crimes is imperative that you contact Daniel E. Kann so he can get to work defending your rights as soon as possible.
1California Penal Code Section 242, "[a] battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another."
2California Penal Code Section 273.5 "(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…."
3See PC 273.5(a).
4California Penal Code Section 273.5 (c).
5See California Penal Code Section 273.5(a). Any person found guilty under PC 273.5 ".…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."
6See California Penal Code Section 273.5(g), (e)(1) & (2) which states "(g) If probation is granted, or the execution or imposition of a sentence is suspended, for any defendant convicted under subdivision (a) who has been convicted of any prior offense specified in subdivision (e), the court shall impose one of the following conditions of probation: (1) If the defendant has suffered on prior conviction within the previous seven years for a violation of any offense specified in subdivision (e), it shall be a condition thereof, in addition to the provisions contained in Section 1203.097, that he or she be imprisoned in a county jail for not less than 15 days. (2) If the defendant has suffered two or more prior convictions within the previous seven years for a violation of any offense specified in subdivision (e), it shall be a condition of probation, in addition to the provisions contained in Section 1203.097, that he or she be imprisoned in county jail for not less than 60 days. (3) The court, upon a showing of good cause, may find that the mandatory imprisonment required by this subdivision shall not be imposed and shall state on the record its reasons for finding good cause…. (e)(1)Any person convicted of a violating this section for acts occurring within seven years of a previous conviction under subdivision (a) or subdivision (d) of Section 243, or Section 243.4, 244, 244.5, or 245, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four or five years, or by both imprisonment and a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000)….(e)(2)Any person convicted of a violation of this section for acts occurring within seven years of a previous conviction under subdivision (e) of Section 243 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 ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or by both that fine and imprisonment."
7See California Penal Code Section 273.5(f)-(h) for conditions of probation if convicted under PC 273.5 (a). Penal Code 273.5(f)-(h) states, "(f) If probation is granted to any person convicted under subdivision (a), the court shall impose probation consistent with the provisions of Section 1203.097. (g) If probation is granted, or the execution or imposition of a sentence is suspended, for any defendant convicted under subdivision (a) who has been convicted of any prior offense specified in subdivision (e), the court shall impose one of the following conditions of probation: (1) If the defendant has suffered on prior conviction within the previous seven years for a violation of any offense specified in subdivision (e), it shall be a condition thereof, in addition to the provisions contained in Section 1203.097, that he or she be imprisoned in a county jail for not less than 15 days. (2) If the defendant has suffered two or more prior convictions within the previous seven years for a violation of any offense specified in subdivision (e), it shall be a condition of probation, in addition to the provisions contained in Section 1203.097, that he or she be imprisoned in county jail for not less than 60 days. (3) The court, upon a showing of good cause, may find that the mandatory imprisonment required by this subdivision shall not be imposed and shall state on the record its reasons for finding good cause. (h)If probation is granted upon conviction of a violation of subdivision (a), the conditions of probation may include, consistent with the terms of probation imposed pursuant to Section 1203.097, in lieu of a fine, one or both of the following requirements: (1) That the defendant make payments to a battered women's shelter, up to a maximum of five thousand dollars ($5,000), pursuant to Section 1203.097. (2) That the defendant reimburses the victim for reasonable costs of counseling and other reasonable expenses that the court finds are the direct result of the defendant's offense. For any order to pay a fine, make payments to a battered women's shelter, or pay restitution as a condition of probation under this subdivision, the court shall make a determination of the defendant's ability to pay. In no event shall any order to make payment to a battered women's shelter be made if it would impair the ability of the defendant to pay direct restitution to the victim or court-ordered child support. Where the injury to a married person is caused in whole or in part by the criminal acts of his or her spouse in violation of this section, the community property may not be used to discharge the liability of the offending spouse for restitution to the injured spouse, required by Section 1203.04, as operative on or before August 2, 1995, or Section 1202.4, or to a shelter for costs with regard to the injured spouse and dependents, required by this section, until all separate property of the offending spouse is exhausted. (i)Upon conviction under subdivision (a), the sentencing court shall also consider issuing an order restraining the defendant from any contact with the victim, which may be valid for up to 10 years, as determined by the court. It is the intent of the Legislature that the length of any restraining order be based upon the seriousness of the facts before the court, the probability of future violations, and the safety of the victim and his or her immediate family. This protective order may be issued by the court whether the defendant is sentenced to state prison, county jail or if imposition of sentence is suspended and the defendant is placed on probation."
8California Penal Code Section 273a(a)"Any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, four, or six years."
9California Penal Code 273a (c) states the following "(c) If a person is convicted of violating this section and probation is granted, the court shall require the following minimum conditions of probation:
(1) A mandatory minimum period of probation of 48 months.
(2) A criminal court protective order protecting the victim from further acts of violence or threats, and, if appropriate, residence exclusion or stay-away conditions.
(3) (A) Successful completion of no less than one year of a child abuser's treatment counseling program approved by the probation department. The defendant shall be ordered to begin participation in the program immediately upon the grant of probation. The counseling program shall meet the criteria specified in Section 273.1. The defendant shall produce documentation of program enrollment to the court within 30 days of enrollment, along with quarterly progress reports.
(B) The terms of probation for offenders shall not be lifted until all reasonable fees due to the counseling program have been paid in full, but in no case shall probation be extended beyond the term provided in subdivision (a) of Section 1203.1. If the court finds that the defendant does not have the ability to pay the fees based on the defendant's changed circumstances, the court may reduce or waive the fees.
(4) If the offense was committed while the defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the defendant shall abstain from the use of drugs or alcohol during the period of probation and shall be subject to random drug testing by his or her probation officer.
(5) The court may waive any of the above minimum conditions of probation upon a finding that the condition would not be in the best interests of justice. The court shall state on the record its reasons for any waiver.