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Domestic Violence Series – Part 1

This is the first in a five-part blog series covering domestic violence crimes in Placer County. This post outlines the formation of the Placer County Domestic Violence Court and the Family Violence Unity of the Placer County District Attorney’s Office. It also covers the most common domestic violence offenses.

Placer County Domestic Violence Court

In response to increasing domestic violence incidents within the county and to increase batterer accountability and victim safety, Placer County established the Placer County Domestic Violence Court in 2005. A single judge is assigned to this court.

Additionally, the Placer County District Attorney’s Office created the Family Violence Unit, which is composed of five deputy district attorneys that specifically prosecute spousal, child, and elder abuse cases.

This means the judge and district attorneys assigned to the cases within the Domestic Violence Court and Family Violence Unit are extremely specialized, experienced, and skilled at handling these cases.

If you are facing domestic violence charges in Placer County, you need to hire an experienced lawyer.

Typical Domestic Violence Charges

Penal Code Section 273.5 and Penal Code Section 243 are two crimes commonly charged by prosecutors in domestic violence cases. Domestic violence cases are usually emotionally charged and are often highly defensible, so it is important to retain an attorney with specialized experience in such cases.

Penal Code Section 273.5

This is the crime of inflicting corporal injury upon a spouse, cohabitant, or co-parent.

To convict you of this crime, the prosecutor must prove you a) willfully inflicted a physical injury on your spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or the mother or father of your children, and b) the injury inflicted is a traumatic condition.

Note that this crime differs from simple battery because it requires a “traumatic condition” to occur. A traumatic condition is defined as a wound or injury, whether minor or serious, that is caused by physical force. California courts have found bruising and other visible injuries to satisfy “traumatic condition” while soreness and tenderness without any visible wounds do not.

Penal Code Section 273.5 is considered a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the crime and your criminal record.

Penal Code Section 243(e)

This is the commission of a battery against your spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, co-parent, fiancé, or a person with whom you’ve had a dating or engagement relationship.

If no visible injury results from the physical contact, the prosecutor will likely charge this crime instead of Penal Code 273.5 (see above). The prosecutor is allowed to charge battery when it is inflicted in a dating relationship, while Penal Code Section 273.5 does not allow this.

Other Crimes and Enhancements 

There are several crimes and enhancements that are commonly charged along with domestic violence charges. These include:

  • Battery: Penal Code Section 242
  • Stalking: Penal Code Section 646.9
  • Criminal threats: Penal Code Section 422
  • False imprisonment: Penal Code Section 236
  • Threats because of prosecution assistance: Penal Code Section 140
  • Violation of a criminal protective order: Penal Code Section 136.1
  • Two-year enhancement for re-offending while on release: Penal Code Section 12022.1(b)

Call me at (530) 823-5400 to set up a free, confidential consultation. With more than 25 years of experience handling domestic violence cases, I can get you the best possible outcome in your case.