Every crime in California is defined by a specific code section. Our attorneys explain the law, penalties and best defense strategies for every major crime in California.
There are at least five situations where domestic violence is a felony in California. Felony charges under Penal Code 273.5 could be filed if a person:
Domestic violence is a special relationship crime and there must be a prior relationship between the accused and the victim. The victim must be one of the following:
In California, domestic violence is classified as a wobbler, which means that it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Facts important to a prosecutor in deciding whether to file a felony or a misdemeanor are:
Corporal injury under Penal Code 273.5 means any physical injury, whether serious or minor.
Traumatic condition means any wound or other bodily injury caused by the direct application of physical force.
A conviction for domestic violence is punishable by imprisonment in:
Defenses to a charge of domestic violence include:
Yes. The relationship of the parties is what distinguishes felony domestic violence from other felony assault and battery crimes. Domestic violence can be committed when an accused inflicts even minor injury.
California courts have stated that:
Other felonies require serious or great bodily injury. The Legislature has clothed persons in intimate relationships with greater protection by requiring less harm to be inflicted before the offense is committed. People v. Wilkins (1993) 14 Cal. App. 4th 761.
Under California Penal Code 273.5, any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon an intimate partner is guilty of a felony.
Traumatic condition means 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 is enough.
In this example from a California case, the court found there was NOT domestic violence:
The defendant slapped his wife several times but there was no evidence of even a minor injury. The soreness and tenderness the wife experienced did not constitute a traumatic condition, and the statute requires injury from a traumatic condition, even though the injury may be minor. People v. Abrego (1993) 21 Cal. App. 4th 133.
Please note that in this example the accused was still guilty of misdemeanor battery for slapping his wife.
Under Penal Code 273.5, any person who commits domestic violence is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction shall be punished by:
If a person has certain prior assault or battery convictions within seven years of a new crime the punishment could be increased to:
It is also possible for a prosecutor to add a great bodily injury enhancement to a domestic violence charge under Penal Code 12022.7(a). The additional punishment for this enhancement is:
This great bodily injury enhancement is required to run consecutive to any other punishment.
If probation is granted to any person convicted of domestic violence, under Penal Code 1203.097 the court must impose certain probation conditions. These conditions include:
IMPORTANT: A domestic violence conviction results in the loss of the right to own a firearm.
Domestic violence accusations often come up in divorce or child-custody related situations. It is not unusual for a “victim” to make false or exaggerated claims. Defenses to domestic violence claims could include:
If falsely accused of domestic violence it is very important to immediately begin building a defense. Similar to a police investigation for the prosecution, it is vitally important for an accused to (at a minimum):
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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Colorado domestic violence-related criminal convictions can never be sealed or expunged from the defendant’s record. The conviction remains on the record forever, no matter whether the case was a felony or misdemeanor, or whether the defendant was adjudged guilty through a trial or a plea agreement. But if the criminal charge gets dismissed, defendants can ...
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Domestic violence is not its own criminal offense in Colorado. Instead, it is an enhancement that increases the penalties of any other crimes where the accused and victim are – or were – in an intimate relationship. Whether a domestic violence-related crime is a felony depends on that underlying crime. Which domestic violence-related crimes are ...