Domestic Violence and Corporal Injury to Spouse

Under Penal Code section 273.5 which states anyone who willfully inflicts corporal injury that results in traumatic condition is guilty of a felony or misdemeanor and will potentially do prison time of 2,3 or 4 years or serve time in the county jail not to exceed one year. The victim can be the spouse or former spouse or current cohabitant or former cohabitant. In addition, even if they were in a dating relationship the charges can apply.

Any substantial evidence that establishes the victim as the mother or father of the defendant's child is sufficient to sustain a conviction because the statute was intended to protect persons of the opposite sex who live in "intimate" and "significant relationships" without marriage. They can be cohabitants with one another as well and fall under the penal code statute.

In addition, this crime can be charged as a felony and or misdemeanor. The District Attorney needs to clearly allege the charges as either one.

“A “traumatic condition” is a condition of the body such as a wound or external or internal injury, whether of a minor or serious nature, caused by a physical force.” “In addition A traumatic condition is a wound or other bodily injury, whether minor or serious, caused by the direct application of physical force.”

“The corporal injury statute requires a lesser showing of harm so that law enforcement officers can intervene more expeditiously in domestic disputes. In other words, the legislature has clothed persons of the opposite sex in intimate relationships with greater protection by requiring less harm to be inflicted before the offense is committed.”

Moreover, “A traumatic condition is the result of an injury if:

  1. The traumatic condition was the natural and probable consequence of the injury;
  2. The injury was a direct and substantial factor in causing the condition;
  3. The condition would not have happened without the injury.

A natural and probable consequence is one that a reasonable person would know is likely to happen if nothing unusual intervenes. In deciding whether a consequence is natural and probable, consider all of the circumstances established by the evidence.

A substantial factor is more than a trivial or remote factor. However, it does not need to be the only factor that resulted in the traumatic condition.]”

Conviction of Corporal Injury to Spouse and effect on Immigration Status

If a person is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor under this statute it is not determinative whether the offense will be deportable. It must be proven it was of moral turpitude for Immigration purposes.

Lessor Included Offenses

Often the charge of Corporal Injury to Spouse is charge with lesser included offense such as Assault and Battery Penal Codes sections 240 to 243

Potential defenses to Corporal Injury to Spouse

Often a person will seek to claim that the victim was potentially the aggressor or consented to the injuries that resulted. In addition, since the offense requires the element of willfulness the defense can be used that the perpetrator was not willful in their intent to cause injury to the victim.

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