At around 7:00 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, May 20, LAPD officers responded to a call at a downtown Los Angeles high rise. Police were told a man was forced out of a room by a suspect with a gun during an overnight party at the residence. When the people in the room refused to leave after being told to do so, SWAT was called in and a female was taken into custody. What her connection was to the incident is unclear.
After a three to four hour standoff, during which nearby streets were blocked off, a man was taken into custody. He was later charged with domestic violence, though other charges are still pending.
Domestic violence is covered under several California laws, though the two most commonly charged are: 273.5 PC – corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant and 243(e)(1) PC, which covers domestic battery.
Under California Penal Code 273.5 PC, it is illegal to willfully inflict “corporal injury” on a spouse or cohabitant. “Corporal injury” refers to any injury, whether serious or minor. Some examples include:
Grabbing or squeezing a spouse’s arm hard enough to leave bruises
Pushing a spouse or significant other
Hitting and/or kicking a spouse or significant other
The crime is a “wobbler” under California law, which means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $6,000. Felony convictions are punishable by two, three, or four years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $6,000. Additionally, when prosecuted as a felony, domestic violence is subject to other penalties, including the loss of gun-owning privileges, and the potential loss of a professional license.
California Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC, domestic battery, is described as the willful and unlawful touching that is harmful or offensive, and is committed against: the defendant’s current or former spouse, cohabitant, or fiancee, someone with whom the defendant had a past dating relationship with, or the defendant’s child. As with other forms of battery, it’s possible to be convicted of domestic battery even if the victim doesn’t suffer any injury at all. The requirement to be charged is simply to use force or violence against one of the people listed above.
Unlike 273.5 PC, domestic battery is not a “wobbler” – it’s a misdemeanor. The possible penalties include up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Also, when convicted, the defendant is required to attend 52 weekly domestic violence classes.
Luckily nobody was hurt during the standoff. Unfortunately for the suspect, the standoff is likely to result in additional charges besides domestic violence.