35+ Years Criminal Defense Experience in California


Battery On a Spouse – FAQs


California Battery On Spouse Frequently Asked Questions


My spouse hit me first and I was defending myself, but I was the only one who got arrested. What are my options?

Self-defense is always a viable defense against domestic violence charges.  The Los Angeles Spousal Abuse Defense Lawyers of Wallin & Klarich have vast experience with a myriad of affirmative defenses in the spousal/domestic partner battery realm.  In order for the accused to utilize self-defense as a means to potentially circumvent criminal liability, he/she must prove all the following:

  1. The defendant reasonably believed that he/she, or another person, was in imminent danger of suffering bodily injury or was in imminent danger of being touched unlawfully;
  2. The defendant reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against that danger; and
  3. The defendant used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.

Because self-defense is an affirmative defense, the accused has the opportunity to prove the above elements to avoid a guilty verdict.  If the accused can successfully prove all three elements of self-defense, he/she is deemed not guilty.  Although self-defense is a viable defense in many cases, it is only effective when the accused acted reasonably and applied no more force than necessary to defend himself/herself.  For example, if an individual is slapped in the face by his/her spouse and that individual retaliates by punching his/her spouse, leaving the spouse unconscious, that individual cannot successfully raise self-defense.  An accused should consult with a Los Angeles Spousal Abuse Defense Attorney  to better understand the elements required for self-defense.

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I lived with the individual in my battery case, but they were not my spouse or significant other, are there special laws against striking a cohabitant?

No special laws exist surrounding this situation.  Striking a cohabitant, who is not a spouse or significant other, will fall under the same general category as would striking a spouse or significant other.  The law treats the cohabitant in the same manner as it would a spouse.

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My spouse does not want to press charges in my battery case. Can the D.A. still prosecute?

Regardless of your spouse’s wishes, specifically his/her desire not to press charges, the District Attorney (DA) still maintains the power to prosecute for battery on a spouse or domestic partner.  The DA maintains the absolute discretion whether or not to press charges in a spousal battery case.  Therefore, even though your spouse does not wish to press charges against you, the DA may still choose to do so.  In this situation, it is in your best interest to consult the Los Angeles Spousal Abuse Defense Lawyers of Wallin & Klarich for legal advice.

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If the D.A. does prosecute against my spouses wishes, does this improve my chances of winning the case? Can my spouse testify on my behalf?
Although your chances of winning the case may have improved, there nonetheless remains a possibility that you will face criminal punishment.  The DA is permitted to use a range of evidence against you, including but not limited to photographs, statements made by your spouse and expert testimony.  Oftentimes, expert witnesses testify that abused spouses retract their statements in domestic violence cases, which may ultimately shine a negative light on your side of the story.  For this reason, it can be incredibly advantageous to consult with a Los Angeles Spousal Abuse Defense Attorney from Wallin & Klarich.

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To clarify any of the above questions, or to inquire about your particular case, please contact the law offices of Wallin & Klarich by calling (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 .

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