Domestic Violence in California – Corporal Injury on Spouse, Cohabitant or Other Person in a Relationship


What is cohabitation?

Any person who willfully inflicts on his or her spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, fiancé, or fiancée, or on any person with whom the defendant has or had an engagement or dating relationship, or on any person who is the mother or father of his or her child, corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition, is guilty of a felony. California Penal Code 273 (a) (b).

The prosecutor does not need to prove you were the spouse of the person with whom you were cohabiting for the situation to constitute “cohabitation.”  In fact, the person need not even be of the opposite sex, nor is a sexual relationship required.

Under California criminal law, a person is considered the “father” or “mother” of another person’s child if the alleged male parent is presumed the natural parent . To be considered a “mother” or “father” of the child, the victim need only be the natural parent of the child.

What is a traumatic condition?

“Traumatic condition” means a condition of the body, such as a wound, or external or internal injury, including, but not limited to, injury as a result of strangulation or suffocation, whether of a minor or serious nature, caused by a physical force.  Some injury is required; it is insufficient if the prosecution proves you merely caused pain or tenderness or emotional harm.

In a prosecution for corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition, the evidence must show the victim’s injury was a result from direct physical contact.

You may also be charged  with attempted corporal injury on a spouse, cohabitant, fiancé, fiancée, person with whom you have or had an engagement or dating relationship, or parent of his or her child, even if it is not shown that the act resulted in a traumatic condition.

What is the Sentence for Domestic Violence?

Courts in California do not take domestic violence cases lightly. There are many factors influencing the prosecutors and judges. You need an experienced defense attorney who has successfully handled domestic violence cases  in California as a prosecuting attorney and a defense attorney to get you the best result.

The offense is punishable by imprisonment in state prison for up to one year, or by a fine of up to $6,000, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

You may be convicted of multiple Penal Code Section 273.5 corporal injury counts based on multiple blows inflicted during the same continuous assault on the victim.

If you have a previous conviction of a domestic violence offense under Penal Code Section 243(e) within seven years of the current offense, the punishment is increased to imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or by both imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

If probation is granted or the execution or imposition of a sentence is suspended, you must be imprisoned in a county jail for not less than 15 days if you have one prior conviction within the seven-year period, or for not less than 60 days if you have two or prior convictions within the seven-year period.

If you have been accused of personally inflicting great bodily injury on a victim of a Penal Code Section 273.5 offense, a Penal Code Section 12022.7 enhancement may be filed against you.  This would tack on an additional and consecutive state prison term of three, four, or five years.

The court must consider issuing an order restraining  any contact with the victim for up to 10 years. The duration of the post-conviction protective order is based on the seriousness of the facts before the court, the probability of future violations, and the safety of the victim and his or her immediate family.

Regardless of prior domestic violence convictions, in any case in which probation is granted, you must complete a 52-week batterers treatment program.

If you have been arrested or charged with a domestic violence crime in Southern California, call The Law Office of Richard Wagner, A Professional Corporation, to discuss your options now at (714) 403-6317.