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Blog Home Domestic Violence Information About California Domestic Violence Laws and Penalties

Information About California Domestic Violence Laws and Penalties

By Chad Lewin on February 22, 2016

Domestic violence is a national problem. California is known for being tough on domestic violence offenders. The Golden State has two common domestic violence charges: corporal injury and spousal battery. Here are the differences between the two:

  • Corporal Injury: an injury one person suffers caused by another person. It doesn’t matter how serious the injury (or wound) is, hitting someone else can lead to a domestic violence charge. Don’t forget: if the police are called to the scene of a domestic violence situation, if one person is injured in any way, the police are going to make an arrest.
  • Spousal Battery: in this charge, a person is accused of hitting a spouse, former spouse, fiancee, or person you’re involved in an intimate relationship with.

Common California Domestic Violence Charges

The domestic violence law in California makes it a crime to use physical force–or make threats of harm–against an intimate partner. Here are some of the most common domestic violence charges we see at Criminal Defense Incorporated.

Penal Code 273.5 pc — Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant

This law makes inflicting “corporal injury” that leaves someone suffering a “traumatic condition” on another person a crime. You can face this charge for hitting an intimate partner and causing a visible injury. This means ANY visible injury, even swelling or bruises.

Penal Code 243(e)(1) pc — Domestic Battery

This law makes it a misdemeanor crime when someone is charged with “inflicting force or violence” on their intimate partner. Who this law considers a partner includes a person’s fiancee, person you live with, parent of your child, or your current spouse or romantic partner. This charge doesn’t require a visible injury to lead to an arrest.

Penal Code 422 pc — Criminal Threats

This law makes threatening harm on another person a crime. The following threats fall under this law:

  • Your threat to harm another person is intended to put them in fear
  • Your threat is believable enough for the person to be afraid

This crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony conviction will count as a strike against you under California’s Three Strikes law.

California Domestic Violence Sentencing

Penalties for the above charges vary. The seriousness of the injuries and the accused batterer’s criminal record will play a role in sentencing. In most counties, the sentence for domestic violence is a minimum 30 days in jail, even in first-time convictions. Almost every sentence includes that the defendant attend a year-long domestic batterer class.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you’ve been accused of domestic violence in California, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Criminal Defense Incorporated has helped many clients put together a strong defense. Let us do the same for you. Contact us today at (800) 458-1488.



Posted in: Domestic Violence


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