California Penal Code Section 273.5(a) PC: Corporal Injury To Spouse

California Penal Code Section 273.5(a) PC: Corporal Injury To Spouse

California Penal Code Section 273.5(a) PC makes it illegal to injure a spouse, cohabitant or fellow parent in an act of domestic violence. This offense is also referred to as domestic battery, domestic abuse, spousal abuse or spousal battery.

If you or a loved one have been arrested for this offense, it is very important to meet with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney right away.

Definition and Elements of the Crime

California Penal Code Section 273.5(a) PC makes it illegal to injure a spouse, cohabitant or fellow parent in an act of domestic violence. In order to be convicted under this law, the prosecution must prove the following elements:

  • The defendant inflicted a physical injury upon someone else;
  • The victim was the defendant’s spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or the parent of the defendant’s child;
  • The physical injury resulted in a traumatic condition;
  • The defendant inflicted the physical injury willfully and unlawfully.

As with many incidents involving domestic disputes, corporal injury to a spouse is a criminal offense that is highly susceptible to false accusations made by one party hoping to get their partner in trouble. Unfortunately, once an allegation has been made, police and prosecutors will often go forward even if the accuser regrets their actions and wishes to recant.

Corporal injury to a spouse is a domestic violence offense that may arise from a moment of anger but carry lifelong consequences. If you or a loved one have been arrested for this offense, it is very important to meet with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney right away.

Penalties for Violating Penal Code 273.5(a) PC

A violation of California Penal Code 273.5(a) PC is a wobbler offense. This means the prosecutor has the discretion to charge it as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

If charged as a misdemeanor, the penalties include:

  • Up to one year in county jail;
  • A fine of up to $6,000;
  • Informal probation for up to three years.

If charged as a felony, the penalties include:

  • Two, three or four years in state prison;
  • A fine of up to $6,000.

If the defendant has a prior domestic violence conviction under California Penal Code 243(e) (1) and that prior conviction is within seven years of the acts resulting in a conviction under PC 273.5, then the defendant is subject to the following:

  • State imprisonment for two years, three years, or four years;
  • A fine of up to $10,000;
  • A restraining order protecting the victim.

Legal Defenses

There are several legal defenses that a skilled criminal defense attorney could use to defend against corporal injury to spouse charges, such as:

  • Self-defense – If the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and the defendant acted in self-defense, then they are not guilty of the offense.
  • False accusations – As mentioned above, false accusations are common in domestic violence cases and a dedicated attorney will work to show the accusations are untrue.
  • No traumatic injury – If the injury inflicted did not result in a traumatic condition, an essential element is missing.
  • Lack of intent – The prosecution must prove the defendant willfully intended to inflict injury. If intent is lacking, they are not guilty.

Related Offenses

There are other domestic violence offenses in California closely related to corporal injury to a spouse, such as:

  • Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC – Domestic battery. Inflicting force against a spouse, cohabitant, etc. that results in a non-serious physical injury.
  • Penal Code 273a – Child endangerment. Willfully inflicting unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering on a child.
  • Penal Code 273d – Infliction of injury on a spouse or cohabitant.

Fighting These Allegations with an Experienced Attorney

Being accused of domestic violence can have devastating effects on your freedom, finances, family and future. Therefore, it is critical to have an experienced Los Angeles domestic violence defense lawyer on your side.

A skilled attorney will carefully examine the evidence against you, look into the background of the accuser, challenge any overly aggressive police tactics, and build the strongest defense to have your charges reduced or dismissed. With so much at stake, you need strong legal representation.

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who has both prosecuted and defended domestic violence cases. He understands how to effectively challenge these allegations and protect your rights.

For a free consultation, call 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or complete our online form.

References

[1] California Penal Code Section 273.5(a) PC: Corporal Injury To Spouse

[2] California Corporal Injury Law: Penal Code 273.5 PC | Kann California Defense Group

[3] Penal Code 273.5 – California Legislative Information – CA.gov

[4] Corporal Injury to Spouse – California Penal Code 273.5 PC – Eisner Gorin LLP

[5] Corporal Injury to Spouse | California Penal Code Section 273.5 – Goldstein Law Group

[6] California Code, Penal Code – PEN § 273.5 – Codes – FindLaw