Are you facing criminal charges of corporal injury on a spouse in violation of California Penal Code Section 273.5?
Under California Penal Code Section 273.5, corporal injury to spouse is defined as willfully inflicting a physical injury resulting in a traumatic condition on a cohabitant or an intimate partner. The victim could be a current or former spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, cohabitant, or parent of defendant's children.
In Los Angeles County Criminal Courts, corporal injury to a spouse charges are also called domestic abuse, spousal abuse, and willful infliction of a corporal injury. It's considered a general intent crime, meaning the only intent that is legally required is that of intending to make violent contact with the victim.
The legal definition includes many words that should be explained. First, by law, corporal injury to a spouse charges requires the offense must have been committed “willfully.” This means the defendant acted knowingly and deliberately and knew their actions were in violation of the law.
For example, a husband knows that striking his wife with a baseball bat will typically cause an injury and is against the law. However, he strikes her anyway, acting in a willful manner. Next, what is considered a “traumatic condition?”
In basic terms, it's a condition, either internal or external, that is caused by physical force. Typically, the physical injuries are visible, but could also include internal injuries, such as internal bleeding.
Common examples of injuries that would generally be considered a corporal injury includes bruising, broken bones, black eye, severe abrasions, swelling, head trauma, broken nose, or a concussion.
The physical condition of the victim does not have to be serious or life-threatening to be charged or convicted of corporal injury to spouse. A common example in Los Angeles County includes a situation where a husband goes to a bar with some friends and drinks too much.
When he returns home late, his wife is not very happy and an argument is started. The husband becomes enraged and wraps his hands around her neck and begins to choke her, leaving severe bruises on her neck.
Since a reasonable person would believe that severe bruising would likely be caused by squeezing someone's neck with their hands, he could be found guilty of a violation of California Penal Code Section 273.5 due to the traumatic condition caused as a result of corporal injury.
If you have been charged with corporal injury to a spouse or a related crime such as criminal threats, you need to consult with a skilled Los Angeles domestic violence lawyer at Eisner Gorin LLP. It's critical to remember not to make any statements to police detectives. They are not your friend and have one primary goal.
It's to build a solid criminal case against you to secure a conviction. You can be sure that any incriminating statements will be used against you later in court. Our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm has a history of success defending our client's against domestic violence criminal cases. Let's examine the legal definition, legal penalties, and defenses below.
California Penal Code Section 273.5. – Corporal Injury on a Spouse
According to California Penal Code Section 273.5, corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant is legally defined as follows:
The crime of corporal injury on a spouse can only be committed against an individual with whom you had or have an intimate relationship.
Corporal Injury on a Spouse - Elements of the Crime
In order for the Los Angeles County prosecutor to secure a criminal conviction under California Penal Code Section 273.5, they must prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, specific elements of the crime.
These elements include: (1) You willfully and unlawfully inflicted a physical injury on another person; (2) The injury resulted in a traumatic condition; (3) The person you injured is your current or former partner, and; (4) Your actions were not in self-defense.
If the victim sustained a great bodily injury, the Los Angeles County prosecutor could allege an enhancement that would elevate the charge as a “strike” under California's Three Strike laws.
Corporal Injury on a Spouse – Legal Penalties
The legal penalties for a conviction under California Penal Code Section 273.5 can be harsh. This type of domestic violence crime can be filed as either a misdemeanor or felony charge. This is commonly known as a “wobbler.”
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense, the legal penalties include: (1) A maximum of one year in a Los Angeles County jail; (2) A maximum fine of $6,000, and; (3) Misdemeanor summary probation. If convicted of corporal injury on a spouse as a felony charge, the legal penalties include: (1) Two, three, or four years in a California State prison; (2) A maximum fine of $6,000, and; (3) Formal felony probation.
Additionally, the consequences of any conviction of corporal injury on a spouse will most likely include a restraining order or protective order, prohibiting making contact with the victim for up to 10 years.
If your case was prosecuted as a felony offense where the victim sustained significant injuries, the defendant could face a great bodily injury sentence enhancement, leading to an additional three to five years in a California state prison. It should also be noted that the legal penalties will increase if you have recent prior domestic violence or assault convictions.
These include offenses, within the past 7 years, of aggravated battery, assault with a deadly weapon, sexual battery, or any great bodily injury sentence enhancement. Call a Los Angeles domestic violence lawyer at our office for additional information.
52 Week Domestic Violence Course
There are a wide variety of legal consequences of any type of domestic violence related offense. The Los Angeles County prosecutor and judge might make you participate in a 52 week domestic violence offender course.
This would require you to attend the course once a week for an entire year. If you fail to successfully complete the domestic violence course, the judge could impose some jail time. This is just one of many harsh legal punishments available to the prosecutors in a corporal injury case.
10 Year Firearm Ban
Another legal punishment you will face includes gun ownership. In spousal abuse cases, California lawmakers have decided you can't be trusted with a weapon or bullets.
Therefore, if you are convicted of a domestic violence related offense, you might lose your legal right to own or possess a weapon for 10 years. This means if you already owns guns, you must get rid of, or sell all of the guns in your possession or risk a probation violation and a jail sentence. Consult with a Los Angeles domestic violence attorney at our law firm for more information.
3 Year Probation
In most corporal injury to spouse abuse cases, the Los Angeles County prosecutor will demand that you be placed on probation for three years and that you receive some type of legal punishment that fits the circumstances of the crime.
The legal punishment is often negotiable, but typically determined by the serious nature of your conduct. For example, a corporal injury to a spouse case that involves very serious injuries on the victim will be dealt with more harshly.
Corporal Injury on a Spouse – Legal Defenses
An experienced Los Angeles criminal domestic violence defense lawyer at our law firm can use a variety of legal defense strategies to have your charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. Every case of corporal injury to a spouse is unique and any strategy will be based on the specific circumstances. These legal defenses include:
Self Defense - Our attorneys might be able to show you had a reasonable belief you or another person were was in imminent danger from suffering a bodily injury. Therefore, you had a reasonable belief you had to immediately use force to protect yourself, and used no more force than necessary. You have a legal right to defend yourself.
False Accusation – It's not uncommon for people to be falsely accused of domestic violence. In some cases, false accusations are made out of revenge, jealously, or an attempt to gain an advantage in a child custody dispute. Our domestic violence lawyers might be to show the allegations are false by interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence.
Accident – The prosecutor has to be able to prove you “willfully” injured the victim. Our lawyers might be able to show some evidence that the injury was an accident. In fact, it's not uncommon for unintentional injuries to happen during a heated argument, especially if intoxication was involved.
Our law firm has successfully handled any type of domestic violence related cases. We have a long history of success. Here is a review posted from a former client:
Contact a Los Angeles Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you are facing corporal injury on a spouse accusation, the Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at Eisner Gorin are committed to aggressively defending your legal rights. As former LA County prosecutors, we know the best defense strategies to prevent a domestic violence case from getting to trail.
Our attorneys are experienced courtroom negotiators and might be able to prevent formal charges be filed against you through pre-filing intervention defense.
Early intervention into you domestic violence case by our law firm could prove critical to the outcome of your case. Contact our office to thoroughly review the details of your case. We offer a free immediate response. Call our law firm at 877-781-1570.