What are the factors or elements of 273.5 PC Felony Domestic Violence?

The California crime of “willful infliction of corporal injury on an intimate partner” is a serious California domestic violence crime and that is why it is usually charged as a felonyThere is a great legislative effort to make the prosecution of Domestic Violence crimes a very high priority in California.

Penal Code 273.5 PC describes the crime of corporal injury on an intimate partner—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.
  3. Under Penal Code 273.5 PC, an “intimate partner” very broadly 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.

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

Legal Consequences:

How Can We Defend You Against Charges of 273.5 PC Felony Domestic Violence?

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 several factors such as:

  • The defendant’s criminal history
  • The injury and degree of trauma itself
  • The facts of the case:

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).

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

Additionally,  a charge of felony domestic violence may lead to adverse immigration consequences for those who are not U.S. Citizens.

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We have been successfully defending clients facing all types of criminal charges in Sonoma & Marin Counties and throughout the entire north bay since 1992.  Just recently one of our attorneys obtained a full jury acquittal in a Domestic Violence case, Result Number 18 on our list of case results, which are linked below:


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