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Montecito Domestic Battery

Montecito Domestic Battery Attorney

Montecito is a city of luxury and wealth. However, when you mix expensive wines and wealthy couples, sometimes things can turn dark. Unfortunately, incidents of domestic violence have been trending upward since the the stay at home orders caused by COVID-19 and are a valid concern.

If you have been arrested for domestic battery, it does not automatically mean that you are guilty. It’s important to vigorously fight a domestic battery charge because a criminal conviction will stay on your record and can adversely affect job and educational opportunities down the road.

As a former Prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Offices in both Santa Barbara and San Diego Counties, Sanford Horowitz and his legal team will offer you a free consultation, investigate the evidence against you, and recommend practical steps to achieve the best possible results in your case.


Domestic battery also referred to as “spousal battery” and “spousal assault”, is charged under California Penal Code 243(e)(1) and is the most common misdemeanor offense pertaining to domestic violence allegations.

In order for you to be guilty of domestic battery in Ventura, the prosecutor must be able to prove that your behavior  fits the legal definition of that crime.

The elements of Penal Code 243(e)(1) are:

  1. You willfully touched another person,
  2. That touching was harmful or offensive, and
  3. The person you touched was your intimate partner or former intimate partner

“Willfully” means you acted on purpose or willingly. You do not need to have intended to

  1. Break the law, or
  2. Or even inflict injury on someone else

Example: Ted and Linda, who are dating and share a house, get into a heated argument. Linda tries to storm out of the apartment, but Ted physically restrains her. While Linda is struggling to break free of his grip, she hurts her shoulder.

Ted may have committed the offense even though he didn’t intend to inflict injury on Linda. He did use physical force against her in an offensive way, and he did so willfully.

 “Harmful or offensive” touching doesn’t even have to cause injury or pain—as long as it was done in a disrespectful or angry manner. In this way, the crime is similar to the crime of Penal Code 242 PC battery.

Example: Stan and Molly, who are engaged, are arguing outside of a beach club. Molly is so upset with Stan that she pushes him up against their car.

Molly is much weaker than Stan, and her pushing doesn’t hurt him at all. But because she embraced him in a violent fashion, she could be charged with Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC spousal battery.

The crime of domestic battery can only be committed against someone with whom you have an intimate relationship. Examples of an intimate relationship include:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • A person with whom you are cohabiting (i.e., someone you are living with)
  • A fiancé or fiancée
  • A person who is the parent of your child
  • A person with whom you have, or have previously had, a “dating relationship.”

Most of these relationships are easy to prove. However, it can be difficult to determine if two people were actually cohabiting, or involved in a dating relationship.


California domestic battery is a misdemeanor, and if convicted, you may face the following penalties:

  • Up to one (1) year in county jail,
  • A maximum two thousand dollar ($2,000) fine, and/or
  • Misdemeanor (summary) probation.

It is common for defendants to receive probation (also known as a “suspended sentence”). If this occurs, you will be required, as a condition of probation, to complete a minimum one-year batterer’s treatment program.

If  you receive probation as a sentence, the court may decide that—instead of a $2,000 fine—you must pay:

  1. Up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) to a battered woman’s shelter, and/or
  2. Any reasonable expenses that the victim incurred as a result of the offense, including the cost of counseling.

Finally, if you are convicted of Penal Code 243(e)(1) spousal battery for a second or subsequent time—and you are given probation as a sentence—you still will be required to serve at least forty-eight (48) hours in county jail. The only way around this requirement is if you can convince the judge that there is “good cause” why you should not serve that time.

Fighting a Domestic Battery Charge

There are a variety of legal defenses that can be used against domestic battery charges. Some of the most common are:

  • Self-Defense
  • Defense of Others

The legal defense of self-defense/defense of others applies when all of the following are true:

  1. You reasonably believed that you or someone else was in imminent danger of suffering bodily injury or being touched unlawfully;
  2. You reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against that danger; and
  3. You used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.
  4. If you can prove all of the above facts, then you are not guilty of PC 243(e)(1) spousal battery.


Under California law, self defense is a defense to domestic battery. If you have a reasonable belief that you will suffer harm from your intimate partner if you don’t fight back, then you may be able to claim self defense.


People often falsely accuse their intimate partners of domestic battery. When involved in a passionate argument, one partner may falsely accuse the other of battery out of rage. If you feel that you have been falsely accused, we will ask questions and investigate the facts to demonstrate that to the prosecutor.


If the unwanted physical contact was an accident then that is a defense to the crime of domestic battery. When there is no will or purpose to create an unwanted harmful contact then there is no crime.

If you are facing a charge of domestic violence, Sanford Horowitz Criminal Defense, P.C. knows the law and the best strategies to defend you. We have extensive experience representing clients throughout the Santa Barbara area and want to help you understand the charges you are facing, as well as what your rights are under the law. 

If you’d like to schedule a consultation about your case, call (805) 749-5670 or fill out this contact form.



“Upon” means to touch your intimate partner's body, clothing or something closely attached to or closely connected to them. This can include touching their hat, purse, knocking something out of their hand, or smashing their windshield as they drive away from you.


"Unlawful use of force or violence" refers to any illegal physical contact inflicted upon your intimate partner. The prosecution does not have to show you caused pain or harm, they only have to show that the physical contact was made out of anger or disrespect.


Don’t wait to contact Sanford Horowitz to ensure that your legal rights are protected.

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