How California Penal Code 273.5 PC Governs Domestic Violence

Sometimes, relationships take a turn for the worse, and a partner becomes violent. Corporal injury is the willful infliction of physical force that results in an injury to an intimate partner. If your partner has accused you of becoming violent, you may be facing serious criminal charges. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you may have the opportunity to take legal precautions to protect yourself and your children. Working with a skilled attorney can help you understand your rights and what you can do to protect yourself and your future.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is an act of physical violence against an “intimate partner.” Generally, corporal injuries are visible, but they may also include internal injuries that can cause a traumatic condition. Some common examples of domestic violence injuries include:

  • Concussion
  • Broken nose
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Scratches

Corporal injury to a cohabitant or spouse is covered under California Penal Code Section 273.5. It is important to note that these injuries do not need to be a major physical condition. Any traumatic condition means the wound or other bodily injuries were inflicted by direct application of physical force.

A minor injury or wound may be considered sufficient to be given a charge of domestic violence. The main difference between the lesser charge of domestic battery and domestic violence is that a corporal injury is inflicted, which triggers the charge of domestic violence.

Who is Considered an “Intimate Partner” in California?

Under California law, an intimate partner is defined as:

  • A spouse or ex-spouse,
  • A former or current registered domestic partner,
  • A cohabitant or former cohabitant (a live-in partner),
  • A current or former fiancé,
  • Someone with whom you currently or used to have a long-term dating relationship, or
  • The mother or father of your children

California Penalties for Corporal Injury

Corporal injury is considered a “wobbler” offense. This allows the prosecutor to decide to charge the offense as a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on a few factors. These factors include:

  • The specifics of the case
  • The defendant’s criminal history (if any)

Misdemeanor Conviction

The penalties associated with a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction include:

  • Up to 12 months in county jail
  • A fine of $6,000 or less

Felony Conviction

The consequences of a felony domestic violence conviction include:

  • Between 2 and 4 years in state prison
  • A fine of $6,000 or less

A Conviction within 7 Years of a Prior Conviction

Different penalties can occur when a prior conviction by the defendant exists in the previous seven years, including convictions for:

  • Sexual battery
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Assault with a stun gun
  • Assault and battery with a caustic chemical
  • Assault and battery that resulted in serious bodily injury
  • Corporal injury on a spouse

The penalties following a conviction after a prior conviction can include:

  • Up to 12 months in county jail,
  • Between 2 and 4 years in a state prison and
  • A fine of $10,000 or less

When a conviction occurs within seven years of a current conviction for the battery of a spouse, the penalties can include:

  • Up to 12 months in county jail,
  • Between 2 and 4 years in a state prison and
  • A fine of $10,000 or less

Contact The Martin Family Law Group for a Confidential Consultation

If you are dealing with any type of domestic violence situation or charges, an experienced attorney with The Martin Family Law Group can help you get the assistance and protection you need. Reach us by using our easy online contact form or by phone to schedule your initial consultation as soon as today.