California PC 273.5 | Corporal Injury on Spouse or Cohabitant

Corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant is categorized under domestic violence carries substantial consequences if convicted. Law enforcement and prosecutors treat domestic violence cases seriously and often require the defendant to serve mandatory jail time. However, a number of these cases stem from the victim fabricating or exaggerating the circumstances. It’s important to one retain a skilled criminal defense attorney to expose all deficiencies in the prosecutors case and perhaps earn a dismissal on all charges. At one’s initial appearance in court, the judge often issues a protective order banning all contact with the victim. Additionally, domestic violence charges must be handled at the earliest possible stages, therefore, one should retain an attorney right away.

Contact Attorney John Rogers Immediately

Los Angeles Corporal Injury Lawyer John Rogers understands that charges for domestic violence can occur at any time of day which is why he makes himself available 7 days a week to consult with individuals accused of such offenses. The best approach to defeating domestic violence accusations is early criminal defense attorney intervention, contact Mr. Rogers immediately.

Inflicting Corporal Injury Defined by Statute

In California, inflicting corporal injury is formally defined under Penal Code 273.5(a) which provides, “Any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim is guilty.”

The term “victim” includes:

  • Spouse or Former Spouse
  • Cohabitant or Former Cohabitant
  • Fiance or Fiancee
  • Someone the offender previously had a relationship with
  • Mother or Father of the offender’s child

The term “tramatic condition” is defined under PC 273.5(d) to mean any wound external or internal such as strangulation or suffocation.

Elements of the Crime

In order to prove that someone is guilty of inflicting corporal injury, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Defendant willfully inflicted physical injury on a cohabitant / Spouse
  2. The injury resulted in a traumatic condition
  3. Defendant did not act in self-defense

What is the Punishment for Inflicting Corporal Injury in California?

This charge is categorized as a “wobbler” offense which means the prosecutor holds discretion to charge someone with a felony or misdemeanor. Factors the prosecutor considers are the suspects past criminal record, the level of injury, and whether a weapon or threat was used.

If convicted under this statute as a misdemeanor, the consequences are:

  • Up to one year of incarceration in the county jail
  • Court Supervised Probation
  • Up to $6,000 in fines
  • Anger Management Classes
  • Counseling Classes
  • Protective / Restraining Order Imposed
  • Pay Victim Restitution Costs

If convicted under this statute as a felony, the consequences are:

  • 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison
  • Probation / Parole Supervision
  • Up to $6,000 in fines
  • Anger Management Classes
  • Counseling Classes
  • Loss of Firearm Rights
  • Immigration Consequences
  • Affecting State Licensing
  • Protective / Restraining Order Imposed
  • Pay Victim Restitution Costs

What are the Legal Defenses to Inflicting Corporal Injury on a Spouse or Cohabitant in California?

  • The victim did not suffer a “traumatic condition.” Perhaps the alleged victim overacted to their condition or the alleged victim’s injuries were not great enough to rise to the level of “traumatic.”
  • You did not willfully cause harm to your cohabitant or spouse but instead it was an accident. Note, this statute requires that you purposefully intended to carry out injury on the alleged victim.
  • You were acting in self-defense. The alleged victim could have been the aggressor and you were reasonably defending yourself from injury.
  • You have been falsely accused from the alleged victim. Often times, the alleged victim could be falsifying their injuries for numerous revengeful reasons or exaggerating the circumstances.

Should I talk with Police Officers or a Detective?

Avoid speaking with police officers or a detective at all costs and immediately retain a criminal defense attorney. Police officers attempt to talk to you in an effort for you to make incriminating statements that will later be used against you. It will not help you by talking with police officers and they often engage in scare tactics to make you talk, “I need to know what happened because you’re facing serious time in state prison. Now is the time to talk to me.” Don’t be fooled, simply deny their request and call an attorney.

What evidence do the Police have against me?

  • The Police Report
  • Witness Statements
  • Incriminating Statements of the Accused
  • Photographs of the Victim’s Injuries
  • Audio / Video Recording

What evidence should I gather?

It’s important to gather all information necessary to discredit the victim of your case. A majority of victims contact the defendant in an effort to resolve or apologize for what happened. However, you want to avoid all contact with the victim and forward all information to an attorney. Pertinent evidence includes:

  • Text messages, facebook messages, email exchanges
  • Mental illnesses / deficiencies
  • Whether the victim abuses substances – e.g., drugs and or alcohol
  • Whether the victim has lied previously
  • Victims criminal record
  • Friends and family who know of the victim’s character
  • Names and locations of all witnesses


Dan got into an argument with his girlfriend because he cheated on her with another woman. His girlfriend got so upset she called the police to report Dan being violent and that he struck her. The police show up and arrest Dan for domestic violence. In this case, Dan would not be guilty because he inflicted no injury upon his girlfriend. In addition, Dan has fallen victim to his girlfriend falsely accusing him after being motivated by his cheating.

Free Los Angeles Domestic Violence Attorney Consultation

If you have been arrested, charged, or are under investigation for corporal injury on a cohabitant, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense and Domestic Violence Lawyer John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers immediately. Mr. Rogers is located at 1801 Century Park East, 24th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067. Call 877-888-9820 now for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.