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

California Penal Code 273.5(a) makes it criminally illegal to injury a parent, spouse or cohabitant in an act of domestic violence. This is also known as corporal injury to spouse, domestic violence or domestic abuse.

Proving & Defending Domestic Violence 273.5(a)

If you are the victim of, or defending against domestic violence it’s critical that you understand how the law works, and is applied to each situation. In order to prove that a person is guilty of domestic violence, (CA PC 273.5a),  the prosecutor needs to establish the following facts:

  1. The defendant inflicted physical injury to spouse, cohabitant or fellow parent.
  2. The injury resulted in a traumatic condition.
  3. The defendant was not acting is self defense.

California PC 273.5 Reads:

(a) Any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim described in subdivision (b) is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of up to six thousand dollars ($6,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(b) Subdivision (a) shall apply if the victim is or was one or more of the following:

(1) The offender’s spouse or former spouse.

(2) The offender’s cohabitant or former cohabitant.

(3) The offender’s fiancé or fiancée, or someone with whom the offender has, or previously had, an engagement or dating relationship, as defined in paragraph (10) of subdivision (f) of Section 243.

(4) The mother or father of the offender’s child.

What are the Penalties of CA PC 273.5?

CA PC 273.5 can be pursued by the District Attorney as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on the severity of the harm, force used, the defendant’s criminal history and other circumstances relevant to the incident and charges. If the defendant is charged with a felony he or she can face up to 4 years in prison with an additional 5 years if the bodily harm was severe. This would also likely result in a strike on their criminal record. A felony conviction of of domestic violence may also “enhance” future convictions under California’s Three Strikes Law. Additionally, a person would lose their rights to own or purchase firearms in the future. If the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor under CA PC 273.5 they may face up to 1 year in jail and/or probation, fines and community service.

Defending Against or Pursuing CA PC 273.5(a) Charges in San Bernardino & Riverside Counties

Milligan, Beswick Levene & Knox has over 200 years of combined legal experience and has handled countless cases of domestic violence in the Inland Empire. Attorney Stephen Levine is one only a handful of AV-Rated, California Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialists locally. Additionally, family attorney James Knox has pursued domestic violence charges for victims for countless men and women when involved with family legal matters and more commonly, divorce. Contact us today at (909) 798-3300 to discuss your case today.