What is the Difference Between Felony and Misdemeanor PC 273.5(a)?

April 25, 2023

In the United States criminal justice system, a felony and a misdemeanor are two different types of criminal offenses. The primary difference between the two is the severity of the punishment that can be imposed upon conviction.

A felony is considered the most serious type of crime and is punishable by imprisonment for more than one year. Examples of felonies include murder, rape, and armed robbery. In contrast, a misdemeanor is considered a less serious crime and is punishable by imprisonment for less than one year or by a fine. Examples of misdemeanors include disorderly conduct and petty theft.

California Penal Code 273.5(a) specifically addresses the crime of corporal injury to an intimate partner. This law makes it a crime to inflict a physical injury on a current or former spouse, cohabitant, or the parent of your child. The offense is considered a “wobbler” which means that the prosecution can charge it as either a felony or a misdemeanor.

If charged as a felony, the punishment is imprisonment in state prison for 2, 3, or 4 years. If charged as a misdemeanor, the punishment is imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year.

The prosecutor will take into account the specific circumstances of the case, including the extent of the alleged victim’s injuries, the defendant’s criminal history, and any other relevant factors when determining whether to charge the offense as a felony or a misdemeanor.

In both cases, a conviction under Penal Code 273.5(a) will result in a criminal record, which can have a significant impact on a person’s future opportunities, including employment and housing. The defendant will also likely be subject to court-ordered counseling, as well as a restraining order, which prohibits contact with the victim.

Moreover, if convicted of a felony, a person may also lose certain rights, such as the right to vote, the right to own firearms, and the right to hold public office. In fact, even a misdemeanor conviction for PC 273.5(a) will carry a lifetime prohibition from owning or possessing a firearm. A person convicted of a felony may also have difficulty finding employment, as many employers are hesitant to hire individuals with criminal records.

Contact Us for Help in Southern California

If you’re being accused of corporal injury under PC 273.5(a), then call the Law Offices of John D. Rogers today. Contact us to schedule a free confidential consultation to discuss your options. Attorney John D. Rogers is a board-certified criminal law specialist by the State Bar of California. He routinely represents clients charged with domestic violence throughout southern California.  

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