Domestic Violence

Orange County domestic violence defense attorney

Corporal Injury to a Spouse – PC 273.5

Domestic violence is a crime with severe punishment in California. One of the most common types of domestic violence is under California Penal Code 273.5. This domestic violence crime is also known as “corporal injury to a spouse.”

Corporal injury to a spouse is committed when you inflict an injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a spouse. A person is considered a spouse under many circumstances including your husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, father/mother of your child. A “traumatic injury” is any wound, whether minor or serious, caused by physical force.

This domestic violence crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony by the prosecuting attorney. If convicted of corporal injury to a spouse, you can face up to one year in county jail if a misdemeanor is charged, and three years in state prison if a felony is charged. You could also face a significant fine and may face deportation if you are not a U.S. citizen.

Misdemeanor Punishment

Domestic Violence can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. The level of what the crime is charged will often times depend on the alleged facts of the case. A misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, though not as severe as a felony, can have severe consequences.

A misdemeanor domestic violence conviction can result in the following:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Several years of probation
  • Restraining orders placed against the defendant
  • Loss of right to visit children
  • Anger management classes
  • Numerous court appearances for progress reports

If you are facing a charge of domestic violence, it is important that you consult with a domestic violence defense attorney. There are several defenses available in a domestic violence case and the specific defense available to your case will depend on the facts.

Felony Punishment

Domestic violence can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. A felony conviction will come with more severe punishments than a misdemeanor.

If you are convicted of a felony domestic violence, you can be sentenced to either:

  • 2, 3, or 4 years in prison
  • 1 year in jail
  • A strike on your criminal record
  • Loss of right to own firearm
  • Loss of right to vote
  • Loss of right to serve on a jury
  • May result in deportation if you are not a U.S. Citizen
  • Restraining order placed against you
  • Anger management classes

If you are facing a charge of domestic violence, it is important that you consult with a domestic violence attorney. Each case is specific and it is important to know what defenses you may have in your case.


The following is what the prosecuting attorney must prove and the instructions that the Jury will read in determining the verdict for a charge of battery under California Penal Code 242, 243(a). Note that this is the general battery crime and there are several different types of battery that can be charged. Also, be aware that if you may be charged with both assault and battery.

Corporal Injury on a Spouse – California Penal Code 273.5

The defendant is charged 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] (spouse/cohabitant/the (mother/father) of (his/her) child);


2. The injury inflicted by the defendant resulted in a traumatic condition.

<Give element 3 when instructing on self-defense or defense of another>


3. The defendant did not act (in self-defense/ [or] in defense of someone else).]

Definition of a Traumatic Condition

[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;


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.]

Additional Info:

Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose.

A traumatic condition is a wound or other bodily injury, whether minor or serious, caused by the direct application of physical force.

[The term cohabitants means two unrelated persons living together for a substantial period of time, resulting in some permanency of the relationship. Factors that may determine whether people are cohabiting include, but are not limited to, (1) sexual relations between the parties while sharing the same residence, (2) sharing of income or expenses, (3) joint use or ownership of property, (4) the parties’ holding themselves out as (husband and wife/domestic partners), (5) the continuity of the relationship, and (6) the length of the relationship.]

[A person may cohabit simultaneously with two or more people at different locations, during the same time frame, if he or she maintains substantial ongoing relationships with each person and lives with each person for significant periods.]

[A person is considered to be the (mother/father) of another person’s child if the alleged male parent is presumed under law to be the natural father. <insert name of presumed father> is presumed under law to be the natural father of <insert name of child>.]

The penalties are severe, therefore it is important to consult an Orange County domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Nam Q. Doan, I will aggressively represent you in all stages of the domestic violence charge. There are many defenses available when charged with this domestic violence crime and I will make sure everyone possible defense is presented. I take pride in getting results for my clients. Call today at (714) 248-DOAN (3626) for more information.