Corporal Injury on an Intimate Partner
Penal Code 273.5 PC

The California crime of “willful infliction of corporal injury on an intimate partner” is a serious California domestic violence crime.

Penal Code 273.5 PC describes the crime of corporal injury on an intimate partner1—which may also be referred to as

  • Domestic violence,
  • Domestic abuse,
  • Willful infliction of corporal injury,
  • Intentional infliction of corporal injury, and/or
  • Spousal abuse.

In order to be guilty of willful/intentional infliction of corporal injury, you must:

  1. Willfully inflict a physical injury on an intimate partner, and
  2. As a result, cause a “traumatic condition” in that person.2

And an “intimate partner” means someone who is

  • the defendant's spouse or former spouse,
  • the defendant's cohabitant or former cohabitant,
  • the defendant's fiancé(e) or former fiancé(e),
  • a person with whom the defendant has or used to have a dating relationship, or
  • the father or mother of the defendant's child.3

The requirement that the victim suffer some kind of concrete physical injury distinguishes the crime of corporal injury on an intimate partner from the less-serious domestic violence offense of Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC domestic battery.4

Examples

Here are some examples of behavior that could qualify as 273.5 PC willful infliction of corporal injury:

  • A man squeezes his ex-wife's arm hard enough to leave bruises;
  • A woman pushes her boyfriend into a glass cabinet, leaving him with cuts all over his body; and
  • A gay man punches and kicks his live-in boyfriend, leaving the boyfriend with a broken rib.
Battery_spouse

Penalties

Willful infliction of corporal injury is what is known as a wobbler in California law. This means that it may be charged as either a California misdemeanor or a California felony, depending on

  • The facts of the case, and
  • The defendant's criminal history.5

If it is charged as a misdemeanor, Penal Code 273.5 carries a potential sentence of up to one (1) year in county jail, and/or a fine of up to six thousand dollars ($6,000).6

And if it is charged as a felony, the defendant may face two (2), three (3), or four (4) years in California state prison.7

Plus, as a crime of domestic violence, an intentional infliction of corporal injury conviction can lead to serious immigration consequences for defendants who are not U.S. citizens.8

Legal defenses

In addition to the harsh penalties, corporal injury on an intimate partner—as a domestic violence offense—is an unfortunate charge to have on your record. Fortunately, there are ways to defend yourself with the help of an experienced domestic violence defense attorney.

Some of the legal defenses you can use to fight corporal injury charges include:

  • You acted in self-defense,
  • You didn't “willfully” injure your accuser, and
  • You were falsely accused (this is all too common in domestic abuse cases).
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In order to help you better understand California corporal injury on an intimate partner laws, our California domestic violence attorneys will address the following:

1. The Legal Definition of California “Corporal Injury on an Intimate Partner”

2. Penalties for Penal Code 273.5

2.1. Probation conditions
2.2. Immigration consequences
2.3. Corporal injury and California's three strikes law

3. Legal Defenses to Willful Infliction of Corporal Injury Charges

4. Reluctant Witnesses in California Domestic Violence Cases

5. Penal Code 273.5 PC and Related Offenses

5.1. Penal Code 243(e)(1) domestic battery
5.2. Penal Code 415 disturbing the peace
5.3. Penal Code 368 elder abuse
5.4. California child abuse laws

If, after reading this article, you would like more information, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

You may also find helpful information in our related articles on California Domestic Violence Crimes; Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC Domestic Battery; The Legal Definition of a Wobbler in California Law; Legal Definition of a California Misdemeanor; Legal Definition of a California Felony; Immigration Consequences of a California Criminal Conviction; Common Legal Defenses to California Crimes; Self-Defense as a Legal Defense in California Criminal Law; Falsely Accused of a California Crime?; Misdemeanor (Summary) Probation in California; Felony (Formal) Probation in California; Penalties for Violating a California Restraining Order or Protective Order; Penal Code 243.4 PC Sexual Battery; California's “Great Bodily Injury” Sentencing Law; California Deportable Crimes; California Crimes of Moral Turpitude; California's Three Strikes Law and Proposition 36 Reforms; How to Clear a “Bench Warrant” in California; The California Hearsay Rule Evidence Code 1200 EC; California Evidence Rules; California “Disturbing the Peace” Laws; Legal Definition of a California Infraction; Penal Code 368 PC California's Elder Abuse Law; and Penal Code 273a Child Endangerment.

1. The Legal Definition of California “Corporal Injury on an Intimate Partner”

In order for you to be guilty of intentional infliction of corporal injury in California, your behavior must fit the legal definition of that crime. This means that the prosecutor must be able to prove that certain facts (known as “elements of the crime”) are true.

The elements of Penal Code 273.5 corporal injury on an intimate partner are:

  1. You willfully inflicted a physical injury on someone else,
  2. The physical injury resulted in a traumatic condition, and
  3. The person you injured was your intimate partner or former intimate partner.9

Dv_gavel


Let's look more closely into some of these terms to get a better sense of their meaning.

Willfully

"Willfully" means you acted on purpose or willingly. You do not need to have intended to break the law.10

Example: Rob and Maureen are in the process of getting a divorce. Rob visits Maureen in the house they used to share to discuss issues related to their children, and they get into an argument.

Rob grabs Maureen's arm and twists it, intending simply to intimidate her. Instead, he dislocates her elbow.

Rob did not intend to cause Maureen such a serious injury. But he did act willingly when he twisted her arm. Therefore, he may be guilty of PC 273.5

Traumatic condition

A traumatic condition is defined as any wound or other bodily injury caused by the direct application of physical force. It does not need to be serious—a minor wound or injury will suffice.11

Some examples of injuries that are “traumatic conditions” for purposes of California's intentional infliction of corporal injury law are:

  • A broken bone,
  • A concussion,
  • Internal bleeding,
  • A sprain,
  • A bruise, and
  • Injuries arising from suffocation or strangulation.12
Black_eye
Even a minor injury such as a black eye qualifies as a "traumatic condition" for purposes of California's corporal injury law.

Resulting from the physical injury

You can only be convicted of Penal Code 273.5 willful infliction of injury if the injury you inflicted actually did cause the traumatic condition.13

A traumatic condition is considered to be the result of an injury if:

  1. The traumatic condition was a natural and probable result of the injury;
  2. The injury was a direct and substantial cause of the traumatic condition; AND
  3. The condition would not have happened without the injury.14

Example: Kim hears that her boyfriend Saul has been seeing another woman. She confronts him outside of his apartment. Their conversation turns into an argument, and Kim pushes Saul several times.

Saul turns to walk away from Kim, and he trips and falls. He ends up with cuts on his leg from the fall.

Kim is not guilty of Penal Code 273.5 corporal injury—because Saul's “traumatic condition” (his cuts) is the result of his walking away, and not of her pushing him.15

Against an intimate partner

The crime of corporal injury on an intimate partner can only be committed against someone with whom you have an intimate relationship. For purposes of Penal Code 273.5, this includes:

  • A spouse or former spouse,
  • A person with whom you are cohabiting (i.e., someone you are living with),
  • A fiancé or fiancée,
  • A person who is the parent of your child, and
  • A person with whom you have, or have previously had, a “dating relationship.”16
Wedding_ring

For purposes of California domestic violence law, it is possible for a defendant to cohabit with more than one person at the same time.17

Example: Nelson and Carrie are dating. They sign a lease on an apartment and move in together. Then Nelson tells Carrie that he thinks he should move out. Nelson moves in with a new girlfriend named Laura.

Nelson spends most nights at Laura's apartment. But he and Carrie continue their romantic relationship, and Nelson spends several nights a week at the apartment he and Carrie used to share. He keeps a key to that apartment and still uses that address for his official mail.

Nelson is considered to be “cohabiting” with Carrie because of the ties he maintains with their old apartment.18

2. Penalties for Penal Code 273.5

The penalties for corporal injury are set out in PC 273.5, the corporal injury statute. The offense is a wobbler, which means the prosecutor may choose to seek either misdemeanor or felony penalties.19

Which track the prosecutor pursues will likely depend on:

  • The facts of the case, and
  • The defendant's criminal history.

The basic misdemeanor penalties for willful infliction of corporal injury include:

And the basic felony penalties for this offense are:

  • Two (2), three (3) or four (4) years in state prison,
  • A maximum six thousand dollar ($6,000) fine, and/or
  • Felony (formal) probation.21
State_prison

In addition, for either felony or misdemeanor corporal injury, you are likely to be the subject of a restraining order or protective order preventing you from making any contact with the victim, for up to ten (10) years.22

Prior offenses

The potential penalties increase if you have fairly recent prior convictions for other California domestic violence offenses or assault/battery offenses.

For example, the maximum fine increases to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) if you have a prior conviction for domestic battery (PC 243(e)(1)) within the past seven (7) years.23

Also, the maximum fine increases to ten thousand dollars ($10,000), AND the maximum felony prison sentence increases to five (5) years, if you have a prior conviction within the past seven (7) years for any of the following offenses:

Great bodily injury sentence enhancement

If you are charged with corporal injury on an intimate partner as a felony—and the victim's injury is significant enough—you could also face a sentence enhancement under California's “great bodily injury” sentencing law.

“Great bodily injury” is defined as a significant or substantial injury. It can lead to an additional three (3) to five (5) years in prison for a PC 273.5 defendant.25

2.1. Probation conditions
Probation_jacket

If you are sentenced to probation—also known as a “suspended sentence”—for either felony or misdemeanor corporal injury, your probation conditions will include at least some of the following:

  • A minimum 15-day stay in county jail if you have a prior conviction in the past seven (7) years for any of the offenses listed above, and a minimum 60-day stay in county jail if you have two (2) or more of these priors in the past seven (7) years;
  • A requirement that you make payments of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) to a battered woman's shelter;
  • A requirement that you reimburse the victim for counseling and other reasonable expenses arising out of your criminal behavior; and/or
  • A requirement that you attend a batterer's treatment program.26
2.2. Immigration consequences

The consequences of a corporal injury conviction can be particularly serious for a defendant who is not a U.S. citizen.

Because Penal Code 273.5 intentional infliction of injury is a crime of domestic violence, it is a “deportable crime” under federal immigration law.27

It is also a so-called “crime of moral turpitude”—which means it can have consequences not just for your immigration status but also for your ability to testify in court and certain professional licenses as well.28

2.3. Corporal injury and California's three strikes law

Corporal injury on an intimate partner may also be a “strike” offense under California's three strikes law—IF the allegation is that you inflicted “great bodily injury” on the victim.29

This means that if you are convicted of a corporal injury with great bodily injury charge—and are subsequently charged with any felony—you will be considered a "second striker." As such, your potential sentence will be twice the term otherwise required by law.30

AND if you accumulate three serious and/or violent felony convictions (for California “strike” offenses), one of which could be a Penal Code 273.5 PC charge with great bodily injury—you could face a sentence of twenty-five years to life.31

3. Legal Defenses to Willful Infliction of Corporal Injury Charges

As you can see, Penal Code 273.5 charges are serious business. If you are charged with this offense, you and your criminal defense attorney will want to work hard to fight these charges—or get them reduced.

Gavel

Some common legal defenses that can help you do that are:

Self-defense/defense of others

The legal defense of self-defense/defense of others applies when all of the following are true:

  1. You reasonably believed that you or someone else was in imminent danger of suffering bodily injury or being touched unlawfully;
  2. You reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against that danger; and
  3. You used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.32

If you can prove all of the above facts, then you are not guilty of intentional infliction of injury on an intimate partner.

Example: Michelle catches her husband Jason in bed with her sister Leah. Furious, Michelle grabs a kitchen knife and comes at Leah with it.

In order to restrain Michelle, Jason is forced to wrestle her to the ground, causing her to hit her head. She still won't drop the knife, and he is in danger of being stabbed by it, so he chokes her just long enough to get her to drop it.

Jason can probably fight corporal injury on a spouse charges by arguing successfully that he was acting both in self-defense and in defense of Leah.

Lack of willfulness

You are only guilty of Penal Code 273.5 PC corporal injury if you willfully injured the victim.33

Sometimes injuries occur by accident—especially during heated arguments between spouses or other intimate partners. If this is what happened in your case, you may be able to beat the charge—or at least get it reduced to a lesser offense, such as Penal Code 243(e)(1) domestic battery.

False accusations

People are wrongly arrested for domestic violence, including intentional infliction of corporal injury, far too often. The arrest is typically based on false allegations initiated out of anger, jealousy, or a desire for revenge.

Fortunately, a good criminal/domestic violence defense attorney has seen this situation many times before—and knows how to interview witnesses and gather evidence so as to help the truth come out.

Witness_stand

4. Reluctant Witnesses in California Domestic Violence Cases

One peculiar situation that arises quite often in domestic violence cases—including intentional infliction of injury cases—is that the accuser either

  1. decides not to testify against the defendant, or
  2. recants his/her accusations altogether.

Some common versions of this scenario are:

The accuser decides s/he wants to “drop the charges”

Even if the “victim” (often referred to in domestic abuse cases as the “complaining witness”) decides that she or he “doesn't want to press charges”—there is a good chance that the prosecutor will proceed to charge the defendant anyway.

This is because prosecutors often assume that the alleged victim is only dropping the charges because

  • s/he is being threatened or coerced by the defendant, or
  • s/he is being emotionally manipulated by the defendant.34

But according to Riverside criminal defense attorney Michael Scafiddi35:

“A “victim” who doesn't desire prosecution can still affect how the prosecutor handles the case. This situation can make the prosecutor's job harder—and so can help persuade him/her to reduce the charge, offer a more generous plea agreement, or even dismiss the case if the evidence is already weak.”

The accuser refuses to testify in court

Another common wrinkle in California domestic abuse cases is when the alleged victim refuses to testify against the defendant at trial.

But the prosecutor has the “subpoena power” of the court—which means that the accuser can be forced to come to court and testify even if s/he does not want to.

Subpoena

In order to compel a witness into court, the prosecutor must personally serve the witness with a subpoena to appear.38 If the witness still refuses to appear, then the judge in the case can issue a “bench warrant” for his/her arrest.37 As extreme as this situation may sound, it is not that unusual in Penal Code 273.5 cases.

The accuser cannot be brought into court

And if the accuser or another witness still cannot be made to appear (maybe s/he has gone into hiding, or fled to Mexico)—then there is a good chance the prosecutor will not be able to continue with the case.

That is because the “hearsay rule”—an important California evidence rule—requires that the defendant have a chance to confront and cross-examine witnesses against him. If this is not possible, then the witness's out-of-court statements are not admissible.38

5. Penal Code 273.5 PC and Related Offenses

There are a number of related offenses in California criminal law that may be charged instead of—or along with—Penal Code 273.5 corporal injury on an intimate partner. Some of these are:

5.1. Penal Code 243(e)(1) domestic battery

Penal Code 243(e)(1) domestic battery is another, less serious domestic violence offense.

Domestic battery is defined as any willful and unlawful touching of an intimate partner that is harmful or offensive. Unlike 273.5 PC corporal injury, it does not require that the victim actually be injured in any way.39

And unlike intentional infliction of corporal injury—domestic battery is a misdemeanor, with a maximum fine of two thousand dollars ($2,000) and a maximum county jail sentence of one (1) year.40

If the case against a domestic violence defendant is weak—and particularly if it is difficult to prove that s/he actually caused an injury in the alleged “victim”—then domestic battery may make sense as a charge reduction and/or plea bargain.

Police_outside_house
5.2. Penal Code 415 disturbing the peace

California "disturbing the peace" laws —set out in Penal Code 415 PC—make it a crime to

  • fight someone in public,
  • make unreasonable noise so as to disturb others, or
  • direct provocative "fighting words" toward another person in public.41

Disturbing the peace is considered a low-level misdemeanor. A conviction for this offense carries a maximum of ninety (90) days in jail.42 In some cases, it can also be treated as an infraction.43

Prosecutors are often willing to "reduce" domestic violence charges—including in some cases PC 273.5 charges— to disturbing the peace as part of a plea bargain agreement. This can be a great outcome for a defendant—because PC 415 doesn't carry the stigma, penalties, or immigration consequences of a domestic violence conviction.

5.3. Penal Code 368 elder abuse

Penal Code 368 PC, California's elder abuse law , makes it a crime to willfully or negligently impose unjustifiable physical pain and/or mental suffering on a person who is 65 or older.44

If a defendant's conduct amounts to corporal injury on an intimate partner, but the alleged victim if 65 or older, prosecutors could elect to charge him/her with both Penal Code 273.5 and Penal Code 368.

This offense is a wobbler, carrying a potential state prison sentence of two (2), three (3) or (4) years, and a fine of up to six thousand dollars ($6,000), if it is charged as a felony.45

5.4. California child abuse laws

California child abuse charges often go hand-in-hand with domestic violence laws.

If you have minor children—and are accused of intentional infliction of corporal injury on your spouse or other intimate partner—then you may also find yourself facing prosecution for Penal Code 273a child endangerment.

In most case, this offense is a misdemeanor. But it becomes a wobbler if it is alleged that you put a child at risk of great bodily injury or death.46

Call us for help…

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For questions about Penal Code 273.5 willful infliction of corporal injury, or to discuss your case confidentially with one of our California criminal defense attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

We have local criminal law offices in and around Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.

For more information on domestic violence crimes in Nevada, please see our page on domestic violence crimes in Nevada.

Legal References:



1 Penal Code 273.5 PC – Willful infliction of corporal injury; violation; punishment. (“(a) Any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim described in subdivision (b) is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of up to six thousand dollars ($6,000) or by both that fine and imprisonment. (b) Subdivision (a) shall apply if the victim is or was one or more of the following: (1) The offender's spouse or former spouse. (2) The offender's cohabitant or former cohabitant. (3) The offender's fiancé or fiancée, or someone with whom the offender has, or previously had, an engagement or dating relationship, as defined in paragraph (10) of subdivision (f) of Section 243. (4) The mother or father of the offender's child.”)

2 Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instruction (“CALCRIM”) 840 – Inflicting Injury on Spouse, Cohabitant, or Fellow Parent Resulting in Traumatic Condition (Pen. Code, § 273.5(a)). (“The defendant is charged [in Count ] with inflicting an injury on [his/her] ([former] spouse/[former] cohabitant/the (mother/father) of (his/her) child) that resulted in a traumatic condition [in violation of Penal Code section 273.5(a)]. To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that: 1 The defendant willfully [and unlawfully] inflicted a physical injury on [his/her] ([former] spouse/[former] cohabitant/the (mother/father) of (his/her) child); [AND] 2 The injury inflicted by the defendant resulted in a traumatic condition. <Give element 3 when instructing on self-defense or defense of another> [AND 3 The defendant did not act (in self-defense/ [or] in defense of someone else).]”)

3 Penal Code 273.5 PC – Willful infliction of corporal injury; violation; punishment, endnote 1, above.

4 Compare CALCRIM 840 – Inflicting Injury on Spouse, Cohabitant, or Fellow Parent Resulting in Traumatic Condition (Pen. Code, § 273.5(a)), endnote 2, above, with CALCRIM 841 – Domestic Battery.

5 Penal Code 273.5 PC – Willful infliction of corporal injury; violation; punishment, endnote 1, above.

6 See same.

7 See same.

8 Immigration & Nationality Act (“INA”) 237, 8 U.S.C. 1227 – Deportable aliens. (“(a) Classes of deportable aliens: Any alien (including an alien crewman) in and admitted to the United States shall, upon the order of the Attorney General, be removed if the alien is within one or more of the following classes of deportable aliens: . . . (2) Criminal offenses (E) Crimes of domestic violence, stalking, or violation of protection order, crimes against children and (i) Domestic violence, stalking, and child abuse Any alien who at any time after admission is convicted of a crime of domestic violence [including intentional infliction of corporal injury], a crime of stalking, or a crime of child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment is deportable. For purposes of this clause, the term “crime of domestic violence” means any crime of violence (as defined in section 16 of Title 18) against a person committed by a current or former spouse of the person, by an individual with whom the person shares a child in common, by an individual who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the person as a spouse, by an individual similarly situated to a spouse of the person under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction where the offense occurs, or by any other individual against a person who is protected from that individual's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the United States or any State, Indian tribal government, or unit of local government. (ii) Violators of protection orders Any alien who at any time after admission is enjoined under a protection order issued by a court and whom the court determines has engaged in conduct that violates the portion of a protection order that involves protection against credible threats of violence, repeated harassment, or bodily injury to the person or persons for whom the protection order was issued is deportable. For purposes of this clause, the term “protection order” means any injunction issued for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts of domestic violence, including temporary or final orders issued by civil or criminal courts (other than support or child custody orders or provisions) whether obtained by filing an independent action or as a pendente lite order in another proceeding.“)

9 CALCRIM 840 – Inflicting Injury on Spouse, Cohabitant, or Fellow Parent Resulting in Traumatic Condition, endnote 2, above.

10 See same. (“Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose.”)

11 CALCRIM 840 – Inflicting Injury on Spouse, Cohabitant, or Fellow Parent Resulting in Traumatic Condition, endnote 2, above. (“A traumatic condition is a wound or other bodily injury, whether minor or serious, caused by the direct application of physical force.”)

See also Penal Code 273.5 PC – Willful infliction of corporal injury; violation; punishment. (“(d) As used in this section, “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. For purposes of this section, “strangulation” and “suffocation” include impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a person by applying pressure on the throat or neck.”)

12 See same.

See also People v. Gutierrez (1985) 171 Cal.App.3d 944, 952.

13 CALCRIM 840 – Inflicting Injury on Spouse, Cohabitant, or Fellow Parent Resulting in Traumatic Condition, endnote 2, above.

14 See same. (“[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; AND 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.]”)

15 Based on the facts of People v. Jackson (2000) 77 Cal.App.4th 574.

16 Penal Code 273.5 PC – Willful infliction of corporal injury; violation; punishment, endnote 1, above.

17 People v. Moore (1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 1323, 1335. (“We conclude as a matter of law that for purposes of criminal liability under [Penal Code 243(e)(1)], a defendant may cohabit simultaneously with two or more people at different locations, during the same time frame, if he maintains substantial ongoing relationships with each and lives with each for significant periods.”)

18 Based on the facts of the same.

19 Penal Code 273.5 PC – Willful infliction of corporal injury; violation; punishment, endnote 1, above.

20 See same.

21 See same.

22 Penal Code 273.5 PC – Willful infliction of corporal injury; violation; punishment. (“(j) Upon conviction under subdivision (a), the sentencing court shall also consider issuing an order restraining the defendant from any contact with the victim, which may be valid for up to 10 years, as determined by the court. It is the intent of the Legislature that the length of any restraining order be based upon 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. This protective order may be issued by the court whether the defendant is sentenced to state prison, county jail, or if imposition of sentence is suspended and the defendant is placed on probation.”)

23 Penal Code 273.5 PC – Willful infliction of corporal injury; violation; punishment. (“(f). . . (2) Any person convicted of a violation of this section for acts occurring within seven years of a previous conviction under subdivision (e) of Section 243 shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.”)

24 Penal Code 273.5 PC – Willful infliction of corporal injury; violation; punishment. (“(f)(1) Any person convicted of violating this section for acts occurring within seven years of a previous conviction under subdivision (a), or subdivision (d) of Section 243, or Section 243.4, 244, 244.5, or 245, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four, or five years, or by both imprisonment and a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).”)

25 Penal Code 12022.7 PC – Terms of imprisonment for persons inflicting great bodily injury. (“(e) Any person who personally inflicts great bodily injury under circumstances involving domestic violence [including willful infliction of corporal injury] in the commission of a felony or attempted felony shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for three, four, or five years. As used in this subdivision, “domestic violence” has the meaning provided in subdivision (b) of Section 13700. (f) As used in this section, “great bodily injury” means a significant or substantial physical injury.”)

26 Penal Code 273.5 PC – Willful infliction of corporal injury; violation; punishment. (“(h) If probation is granted, or the execution or imposition of a sentence is suspended, for any defendant convicted under subdivision (a) who has been convicted of any prior offense specified in subdivision (f), the court shall impose one of the following conditions of probation: (1) If the defendant has suffered one prior conviction within the previous seven years for a violation of any offense specified in subdivision (f), it shall be a condition thereof, in addition to the provisions contained in Section 1203.097, that he or she be imprisoned in a county jail for not less than 15 days. (2) If the defendant has suffered two or more prior convictions within the previous seven years for a violation of any offense specified in subdivision (f), it shall be a condition of probation, in addition to the provisions contained in Section 1203.097, that he or she be imprisoned in a county jail for not less than 60 days. (3) The court, upon a showing of good cause, may find that the mandatory imprisonment required by this subdivision shall not be imposed and shall state on the record its reasons for finding good cause. (i) If probation is granted upon conviction of a violation of subdivision (a), the conditions of probation may include, consistent with the terms of probation imposed pursuant to Section 1203.097, in lieu of a fine, one or both of the following requirements: (1) That the defendant make payments to a battered women's shelter, up to a maximum of five thousand dollars ($5,000), pursuant to Section 1203.097. (2)(A) That the defendant reimburse the victim for reasonable costs of counseling and other reasonable expenses that the court finds are the direct result of the defendant's offense.”)

27 INA 237, 8 U.S.C. 1227 – Deportable aliens, endnote 8, above.

28 Maya-Cruz v. Keisler (2007) 252 Fed.Appx. 136, 137. ("Maya-Cruz was convicted of the misdemeanor crime of willful infliction of corporeal injury to a spouse under California Penal Code 273.5(a), which makes it a felony to "willfully inflict[ ]" upon a spouse or cohabitant a "corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition." Maya-Cruz was charged with this crime as a misdemeanor under California Penal Code 17(b)(4), which allows the prosecutor discretion to specify the crime as a misdemeanor. Maya-Cruz does not dispute that the crime of corporeal injury to a spouse is a crime of violence nor does he dispute that he was sentenced to 365 days in jail for this offense after violating the terms of his probation. He therefore rests his legal claim solely on his contention that his crime cannot be an "aggravated felony" because it is a misdemeanor under state law and he was not sentenced to more than one year. We disagree. A crime is an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43) "without regard to whether, under state law, the crime is labeled a felony or a misdemeanor." United States v. Gonzalez-Tamariz, 310 F.3d 1168, 1170 (9th Cir.2002) (quoting United States v. Corona-Sanchez, 291 F.3d 1201, 1210 (9th Cir.2002) (en banc)). Further, the clause "at least one year" in 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(F) includes "those crimes that receive a sentence of exactly one year," see United States v. Gonzalez-Tamariz, 310 F.3d at 1171, as well as crimes where the maximum sentence is one year, see United States v. Alvarez-Gutierrez, 394 F.3d 1241, 1244-45 (9th Cir.2005). Lastly, "[t]he fact that this term of imprisonment was not imposed until after [petitioner] violated his probation is not legally significant." United States v. Jimenez, 258 F.3d 1120, 1125 (9th Cir.2001).")

29 Penal Code 1192.7(c)—Definition of “serious felony” [including corporal injury with great bodily injury]. (“(c) As used in this section, “serious felony” means any of the following: . . . (8) any felony in which the defendant personally inflicts great bodily injury on any person, other than an accomplice, or any felony in which the defendant personally uses a firearm; . . . .”)

30 California Penal Code 667(e) - Three strikes law. ("(e) For purposes of subdivisions (b) to (i), inclusive, and in addition to any other enhancement or punishment provisions which may apply, the following shall apply where a defendant has one or more prior serious and/or violent felony convictions [including Penal Code 273.5 PC with great bodily injury]: (1) If a defendant has one prior serious and/or violent felony conviction as defined in subdivision (d) that has been pled and proved, the determinate term or minimum term for an indeterminate term shall be twice the term otherwise provided as punishment for the current felony conviction.")

31 See same. (“(2)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (C), if a defendant has two or more prior serious and/or violent felony convictions [including willful infliction of corporal injury with great bodily injury] as defined in subdivision (d) that have been pled and proved, the term for the current felony conviction shall be an indeterminate term of life imprisonment with a minimum term of the indeterminate sentence calculated as the greatest of: (i) Three times the term otherwise provided as punishment for each current felony conviction subsequent to the two or more prior serious and/or violent felony convictions. (ii) Imprisonment in the state prison for 25 years. (iii) The term determined by the court pursuant to Section 1170 for the underlying conviction, including any enhancement applicable under Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 1170) of Title 7 of Part 2, or any period prescribed by Section 190 or 3046. (C) If a defendant has two or more prior serious and/or violent felony convictions as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 or subdivision (c) of Section 1192.7 that have been pled and proved, and the current offense is not a serious or violent felony as defined in subdivision (d), the defendant shall be sentenced pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) unless the prosecution pleads and proves any of the following: . . . .”)

32 CALCRIM 3470 - Right to Self-Defense or Defense of Another (Non-Homicide [with respect to acts involving California spousal abuse]). ("The defendant acted in lawful (self-defense/ [or] defense of another) if: [1] The defendant reasonably believed that (he/she/ [or] someone else/ [or] <insert name of third party>) was in imminent danger of suffering bodily injury [or was in imminent danger of being touched unlawfully]; [2] The defendant reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against that danger; AND [3] The defendant used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.")

33 CALCRIM 840 – Inflicting Injury on Spouse, Cohabitant, or Fellow Parent Resulting in Traumatic Condition, endnote 2, above.

34 See, e.g., Study shows why domestic violence victims drop charges , Reuters, Aug. 19, 2011.

35 Riverside criminal defense attorney Michael Scafiddi is a former officer with the Ontario and Banning police departments. He has been involved in the criminal justice world in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties for over 30 years and is on a first-name basis with prosecutors, judges, probation officers, and police detectives all over the Inland Empire. Scafiddi defends clients accused of everything from DUI to robbery to domestic abuse.

36 Penal Code 1331 PC – 1331. Witnesses; disobedience to subpoena [including in Penal Code 273.5 cases]; refusal to be sworn or to testify; contempt; liability to defendant; statutory damages. (“Disobedience to subpoena, etc. Disobedience to a subpoena, or a refusal to be sworn or to testify as a witness, may be punished by the Court or magistrate as a contempt. A witness disobeying a subpoena issued on the part of the defendant, unless he show good cause for his nonattendance, is liable to the defendant in the sum of one hundred dollars, which may be recovered in a civil action.”)

37 See same.

38 Evidence Code 1200 EC – The hearsay rule [applies to all criminal cases, including willful infliction of corporal injury cases]. (“(a) “Hearsay evidence” is evidence of a statement that was made other than by a witness while testifying at the hearing and that is offered to prove the truth of the matter stated. (b) Except as provided by law, hearsay evidence is inadmissible. (c) This section shall be known and may be cited as the hearsay rule.”)

39 Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC – [Domestic] battery; punishment [contrast with Penal Code 273.5 PC]. (“(e)(1) When a battery is committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of the defendant's child, former spouse, fiancé, or fiancée, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship, the battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment. If probation is granted, or the execution or imposition of the sentence is suspended, it shall be a condition thereof that the defendant participate in, for no less than one year, and successfully complete, a batterer's treatment program, as described in Section 1203.097, or if none is available, another appropriate counseling program designated by the court. However, this provision shall not be construed as requiring a city, a county, or a city and county to provide a new program or higher level of service as contemplated by Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.”)

40 See same.

41 Penal Code 415 PC – Fighting; noise; offensive words [potential plea bargain from PC 273.5]. (“Any of the following persons shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than 90 days, a fine of not more than four hundred dollars ($400), or both such imprisonment and fine: (1) Any person who unlawfully fights in a public place or challenges another person in a public place to fight. (2) Any person who maliciously and willfully disturbs another person by loud and unreasonable noise. (3) Any person who uses offensive words in a public place which are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction.”)

42 See same.

43 Penal Code 17 PC - Felony; misdemeanor; infraction; classification of offenses. ("(d) A violation of any code section listed in [Penal Code] Section 19.8 is an infraction subject to the procedures described in [California Penal Code] Sections 19.6 and 19.7 when: (1) The prosecutor files a complaint charging the offense as an infraction unless the defendant, at the time he or she is arraigned, after being informed of his or her rights, elects to have the case proceed as a misdemeanor, or; (2) The court, with the consent of the defendant, determines that the offense is an infraction in which event the case shall proceed as if the defendant had been arraigned on an infraction complaint.") California Penal Code 415 PC "disturbing the peace" [potential plea bargain from willful infliction of injury charges] is listed in Penal Code 19.8 PC.

44 Penal Code 368 PC [may be charged along with intentional infliction of corporal injury]. (“(b)(1) Any person who knows or reasonably should know that a person is an elder or dependent adult and who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured, or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation in which his or her person or health is endangered, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not to exceed six thousand dollars ($6,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years.”)

45 See same.

46 Penal Code 273a PC – Willful harm or injury to child; endangering person or health; punishment; conditions of probation [may be charged along with PC 273.5 spousal abuse]. (“(a) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, four, or six years. (b) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions other than those likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health may be endangered, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”)

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