Definition and Aspects of Corporal Injury to Spouse/Cohabitant:
Under California Penal Code 273.5 (PC 273.5), domestic violence against a spouse or a cohabitant is a potential felony-level charge that can be punished with fines, prison time, and additional parole requirements. A crime of domestic violence is also often referred to as domestic battery, domestic abuse, spousal abuse, or spousal battery.
A cohabitant, under law, is described as someone the Defendant has been living with for a substantial period of time. Permanency to a relationship has to be established, and this relationship could include joint ownership of the property, shared income and/or expenses, and a possible sexual relationship between the Victim and the Defendant. California law does not make a distinction between heterosexual or same-sex relations.
To establish Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant in court, the Prosecutor must prove:
- The Defendant willfully inflicted corporal injury on a victim
- The injury was inflicted on someone with who the Defendant had a domestic relationship with
- The corporal injury resulted in a traumatic condition
Corporal injury is defined as some type of minor or serious physical injury or harm on a victim’s body. It is often present in the form of kicking, hitting, punching, slapping, pushing, or in some cases, biting.
Willful infliction refers to deliberate and intentional actions, as opposed to accidents. It does not necessarily mean the Defendant desired the specific outcome; Prosecutors only have to prove that the action was deliberate.
Lastly, California Penal Code 273.5 (PC 273.5) refers to a traumatic condition as a condition of the body. It could be something as simple as a minor scratch, redness, or swelling; or as serious as internal bleeding, broken bones, or permanent disfigurement of the Victim’s body.
Example of Corporal Injury to Spouse/Cohabitant:
A man gets into an intense argument with his wife over their recent spurge of expenses. In the heat of the moment, he grabs the wife’s arm to shake her, leaving bruises along her skin. Under California Penal Code 273.5 (PC 273.5), this action constitutes a corporal injury to a spouse.
In an another example of PC 273.5, a man notices that his live-in boyfriend’s phone is left out on the counter. He sees the messages on the phone, revealing that his boyfriend has been having an affair with someone else. In a rage, he confronts his boyfriend by pushing him repeatedly against the wall, resulting in a concussion from the boyfriend. This dispute can result in a charge against the man, under (PC 273.5).
Criminal Offenses Related to Corporal Injury to Spouse/Cohabitant:
Other charges related to California Penal Code 273.5 (PC 273.5):
- Battery – California Penal Code 242 (PC 242)
- Domestic Battery – California Penal Code 243(e)(1) (PC 243e1)
- Aggravated Battery – California Penal Code 243d (PC 243d)
- Assault – California Penal Code 240 (PC 240)
- Elder Abuse – California Penal Code 368 (PC 368)
- False Imprisonment – California Penal Code 236 and 237(a) (PC 236 and 237a)
Defenses to Corporal Injury to Spouse/Cohabitant:
One of the common defenses to corporal injury (PC 273.5) is questioning the willfulness of the Defendant’s actions. If he/she accidentally injures his/her partner, the case for corporal injury should be dismissed.
False accusations can also be common, given the fact that the battery does not require physical injury to be present, and disagreements are part of most domestic dynamics. An efficient defense attorney would attack the false claims in order to undermine the People’s case.
Lastly, if the Defendant acted in self-defense in a mutual struggle between the two parties, and the injuries on the spouse/cohabitant occurred as a result of the Defendant protecting himself/herself, the case should be dismissed.
Consequences and Penalty for Corporal Injury to Spouse/Cohabitant:
Corporal Injury (PC 273.5) is a ‘wobbler,’ which means that it could be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
If charged as a misdemeanor, the punishment could be a fine up to $6,000 and a sentence up to one year in county jail.
If convicted under a felony, the Defendant could face up to four years in prison and fines up to $6,000.
If the Defendant has any of the below prior convictions within the last seven years, the punishment increases to up to five years in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Related convictions include:
- Corporal Injury on a Spouse – (PC 273.5)
- Assault/battery resulting in serious bodily injury – (PC 243d)
- Assault/battery with caustic chemicals – (PC 244)
- Assault with a stun gun – (PC 244.5)
- Assault with a deadly weapon – (PC 245)
- Sexual battery – (PC 243.4)
In addition to the above-listed fines and prison time, the Defendant faces all or any of the following probation/parole punishments:
- Probation or parole for no less than three years
- The restraining order prohibits contact between the alleged Victim and the Defendant for up to ten years
- A protective order that prohibits additional harassment, threats, stalking, and acts of violence against the alleged Victim
- A minimum of one year’s worth of domestic violence classes
- Payments to the alleged Victim for mental health or medical services
- Notice to the Victim of the disposition of the case
- Court-ordered community service
- Additional counseling classes as needed
Additionally, if the Defendant is convicted, he/she will be prohibited from owning or purchasing firearms for ten years in the state of California.
Corporal Injury to Spouse/Cohabitant (PC 273.5) is potentially a felony-level offense which can result in long-lasting consequences, including time served in prison. If you are being charged with Corporal Injury to Spouse/Cohabitant (PC 273.5, it is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
If you are being accused of California Penal Code 273.5: Corporal Injury to Spouse/Cohabitant (PC 273.5) contact Action Lavitch from Action Defense Lawyers for a FREE consultation. Lawyers are available 24/7 at (747) DEFEND U or (747) 333-3638. With a proven track record and speaking both English and Spanish, Action Lavitch and the team from Action Defense Lawyers provide skilled legal representation and professional advice. Having an above 90% success rate for clients, Action Defense Lawyers is the go-to for those charged with California Penal Code 273.5: Corporal Injury to Spouse/Cohabitant (PC 273.5). Book a free consultation today.