Corporal Injury on Family Members in California

The crime of inflicting bodily injury upon a current or former spouse, live in partner or parent of your child is committed through violence resulting in physical injuries against these individuals.

In order to be convicted of this crime, the following facts need to be proven:

The accused had inflicted violence resulting in bodily injury upon the following:

1) A former spouse or the current spouse;

2) A former live-in partner or current live-in partner;

3) The parent of a common child;

4) The accused had full knowledge of the injury caused;

5) The violence resulted in trauma for the victim;

The violence inflicted often comes in the form of corporal punishment such as hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, biting and pushing the victim. While a traumatic condition need not be a visible physical injury, the effects the overall health of the individual injured can either be serious or minor.

When a conviction is meted out for violation of Sec 273.5 of the California Penal Code, the factual circumstances as well as the criminal history of the accused must be taken into consideration. These would determine whether the crime would be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or felony offense. Depending upon the offense, the following penalties are applicable:

For a misdemeanor offense, the following penalties are as follows:

  1. a minimum of three (3) years of summary probation and one (1) year of imprisonment in county penitentiary;
  2. When there is a previous conviction within seven (7) years for battery (Sec 242), sexual battery (Sec 243.4) or a similar offense, then a minimum of fifteen (15) days jail time;
  3. When there are two previous convictions within seven (7) years of this conviction, then jail time is at least sixty (60) days imprisonment;
  4. Required payment of fines between $6,000 and $10,000 if the current conviction is within seven (7) years of a previous conviction for Domestic Battery (Sec 243(e)(1));
  5. Required payment to a shelter for battered women as beneficiary of an amount not more than $5,000 including reimbursement for medical expenses for hospitalization and counseling of the victim;
  6. Compliance with a protective order against the victim to prevent further acts of violence, such as threats, abuse, harassment. This protective order would often have stay away conditionalities;
  7. Compliance with a restraining order prohibiting the accused from having interaction with the victim of up to ten (10) years;
  8. Required attendance in a batterer’s rehabilitation program at least two (2) hours per week or other counseling services as the court would deem appropriate, which may include substance abuse or alcohol education;
  9. Required performance of community service;

For felony domestic abuse, the following are the imposable penalties:

  1. Formal probation for a length of time;
  2. Imprisonment between two (2) and four (4) years in a state penitentiary or up to five (5) years if there was a previous conviction for assault or battery;
  3. If the victim sustains great bodily injury, an additional imprisonment of three (3) to five (5) years in prison;
  4. Registration of a strike under the Three Strikes Law of California;
  5. Required compliance with all the requirements for probation for a misdemeanor;
  6. If the offense is either a felony or a misdemeanor and the accused is a foreigner or immigrant, then another imposable penalty is deportation as this is a crime involving moral turpitude.

Another peculiarity of this crime is that prior acts can be entered as evidence and used during the proceedings for this crime. Before this kind of evidence is allowed, an admissibility hearing needs to be conducted to determine the following:

  • The evidence would prejudice the jury in making a decision on the facts of the case;
  • The evidence would serve to support the current allegations of the case;
  • The time between the conduct of the prior acts and the current case, if it were recent or not;

The crime of corporal injury on a family member is a serious offense in California. Should you be or know anyone undergoing this process, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.