Domestic Violence and violence in general is something that is very serious and can have very serious criminal consequences if one is convicted. Even worse and almost unimaginable would be domestic violence occurring out on a ship where there is no recourse and no real way to escape. In California, domestic violence laws are governed by PC 243(E)1 and PC 273.5. Both codes require the following elements: 1) you are in some sort of a domestic relationship with the person and 2) There was some sort of a battery that occurred. A battery under California Law is defined as the intentional unlawful touching of another without consent. A battery could potentially be as little as someone grabbing the other person or pushing the other person if that was something that they did not want. For PC 273.5 it goes one step further where there needs to be actual corporal injury. Now this injury does not need to be much but if there is any type of visible injury then PC 273.5 will generally be charged.
If you are a victim of domestic violence on a ship or boat, what can you do?
We reached out to San Diego Domestic Violence Lawyer Alex Ozols to get some more information on how to handle this situation. He explained to us that the first thing you want to do is document all offenses of domestic violence. This is important because if the situations ever progress then you want the prosecutor to be able to use the prior events. Calling the police is a great idea. If you are on a ship, they can send the coast guard to go help you and even sometimes send the local police to document the events. The next thing you want to do is make sure you prosecute this offense. There are two many times where this type of event occurs and the victim will all of a sudden claim it did not. If the event actually occurred then make sure you move forward with it. On the other hand, if you made up the event and it did not occur then admit that to the district attorney immediately. People often ask us, well wont I get in trouble, and the answer to that is maybe. If you lied to police in order to have someone charged then you should have to deal with the consequences. We see all to often that people are being arrested for domestic violence when they actually did not commit the crime.
Penalties for Domestic Violence
The penalties for domestic violence can range anywhere from prison to completing some classes with a fine. In California, if someone is convicted of this crime, whether on a ship or not, they will be required to do 52 weeks of a DVRP class. This can be very tough for most ship owners and ship captains because this makes them have to return once a week to complete the classes, which can be very problematic. If you have been charged with domestic violence while you were at sea, make sure to call a lawyer so they can do everything they can to help.