DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – PC 273.5(a)
(Inflicting Injury on Spouse, Cohabitant, or Fellow Parent Resulting in Traumatic Condition)
Domestic Violence is a very common charge in criminal court. In order to be found guilty of this charge, three elements must be met:
- The defendant willfully inflicted corporal injury on the victim
- The victim was either:
- the defendant’s spouse or former spouse
- a person with whom the defendant is or was cohabitating with
- a fiance or fiancee, or someone with whom the defendant has or had an engagement or dating relationship
- the mother or father of the defendant’s child
- The corporal injury resulted in a traumatic condition
This type of charge can be charged either as a felony or as a misdemeanor, depending on the severity of the injury to the victim and other facts. When a crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, it is called a “wobbler.”
Corporal injury means injury to the body. What’s noteworthy here is that the victim does not need to be a person you are in a relationship with. It could just be the mother or father of your child or someone you USED to have a romantic relationship with.
If charged as a felony, a defendant faces up to 4 years in state prison. If charged as a misdemeanor, the maximum jail time is 1 year in county jail.
- Accidental: Oftentimes, in the heat of the moment, the defendant, while either trying to get out of the situation, or for whatever other reason, accidentally hurts the other person. For instance, the alleged victim prevents the defendant from leaving the house and the defendant attempts to move the alleged victim out of the way and the alleged victim falls and is bruised or bleeds.
- False accusation: Romantic relationships can be toxic, and people sometimes make up accusations to get the other person in trouble. Also, sometimes an accuser has a motive to have the other person locked up in jail. One example is custody of children. It is sad, but these things do happen.
- Self-defense: This is a very common defense because, in the heat of the moment, people sometimes find themselves being attacked. They attempt to break free from their attacker’s grip, or they try to hurt their attack so that their attacker would stop hurting them. The police arrive and it is the attacker who has more injuries. Next thing you know, the attacker is considered the victim and the person defending himself or herself is sent off to jail.
Domestic violence cases can be very messy. In fact, they are among the messiest cases that we handle because emotions are involved and it’s a matter of he-said, she-said. Call and speak directly to a criminal defense lawyer to sort out your case to protect yourself early in the process. We serve LA County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and all of southern California, in both state AND federal court. Call 213-235-7969 and speak to a lawyer today.