Corporal Injury on a Cohabitant

If you were charged with corporal injury to a cohabitant in violation of Penal Code section 273.5, subdivision (a) or (b), then contact an experienced attorney at Jay Leiderman Law. In domestic violence cases, the person who allegedly committed the crime and the alleged victim might live together, but not be legally married.

In these cases, the term “adult cohabitant” is often used to classify the nature of the domestic relationship. Domestic violence within the meaning of this statute includes abuse committed against an adult cohabitant. (Pen. Code, § 13700, subd. (b); Evid. Code, § 1109, subd. (d)(3).)

A violation of Penal Code section 273.5 occurs when a person “willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition” upon the offender’s “cohabitant or former cohabitant.” (Pen. Code, § 273.5, subds. (a), (b)(2).) The statute is intended to allow law enforcement to expeditiously intervene in domestic disputes.

The statute defines “traumatic condition” broadly as “a condition of the body, such as a wound, or external or internal injury … whether of a minor or serious nature, caused by a physical force.” (Pen. Code, § 273.5, subd. (d), italics added.)

A defendant who inflicts only minor injury, such as a bruise, may violate Penal Code section 273.5. However, one who inflicts only “de minimis harm” does not. Id.

Penal Code section 273.5 is a general intent crime that includes both simple assault and misdemeanor battery. The injury resulting in a traumatic condition is what differentiates Penal Code section 273.5 from the lesser offenses.”

Attorney for Corporal Injury on a Cohabitant in Ventura, CA

Being charged with intimate partner violence, domestic violence, spousal abuse, or domestic abuse under Penal Code section 273.5 has long term consequences such as being fined, imprisonment, restraining order, and the damage of personal relationships.
Corporal injury on an intimate partner has severe consequences on your freedom, appearance with your future, and current relationship in addition to the legal implications that arise. Jay Leiderman Law has experience with criminal cases in domestic violence and intimate partner violence. If you are facing a conviction for corporal injury, it is essential to acquire a lawyer as soon as possible. Do not hesitate, call Jay Leiderman Law at (805) 654-0200


Overview of Corporal Injury Law in California


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Battery vs. Corporal Injury

If found guilty of battery against a spouse, cohabitant, or a significant other (i.e., fiancé, fiancée, former spouse, or a person with whom “the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship”) can have a long-lasting impact. The penalties can range from a fine, imprisonment, restraining orders, and more.

Battery against a spouse or cohabitant is a commonly prosecuted crime related to domestic, intimate partner violence or misdemeanor. In California, Penal Code 243(e)(1) is a subsection of Penal Code 273.5. On one hand, domestic battery (Pen. Code, § 243(e)(1)) is charged as a misdemeanor, regardless if there is no physical touching. In other words, even if there is no physical touch between the defendant and the cohabitant that can cause pain or injury, as long as the physical interaction/touching is conducted in an aggressive or harmful manner, it is considered battery. On the other hand, corporal injury on a cohabitant can be treated as either a misdemeanor or a felony; this depends on the case and injury. Inflicting injury on a spouse or cohabitant, resulting in the traumatic condition, is what distinguishes these two cases.

Both battery and corporal injury can have severe legal consequences. If found guilty of corporal injury on a spouse, cohabitant, or fellow parent can harsh effects in current and future relationships; this act is stigmatized by society as immoral.


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Consequences of a Conviction

Being convicted of corporal injury and the consequences vary depending on a multitude of factors. For instance, if the defendant has prior convictions of battery on a spouse, the defendant might encounter different outcomes. The consequences of being convicted of corporal injury or intimate partner violence might include:

There are many offenses of abuse under the California Penal Code that can be charged with or instead of Penal Code 273.5.

For many immigrant cases, being charged with corporal injury or domestic violence can negatively impact your future eligibility status. Under Federal Immigration Law, being convicted of corporal injury (Pen. Code, § 273.5) is considered a “crime of violence” and “aggravated felony.” Also, for many professionals, being charged with corporal injury or domestic violence is viewed as a crime of moral turpitude that can cause the person to lose their license.


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Defenses for Corporal Injury

  • Self-defense – If you were falsely accused of corporal injury, using this defense mechanism is known as an affirmative defense because you are admitting to the crime; nevertheless, you are justifying the action to protect yourself
  • Lack of evidence – if there is not enough evidence that the action led to a traumatic injury

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Assumptions to Defenses for the Crime

  • Recantation – In many cases, the alleged victim recants their statement or does not want to press charges, however, denying the report that was made to the police does not mean that this is a defense to the crime. Many attorneys are aware that domestic violence survivors can be hostile, minimize the violence, or deny their statements; thus, they are persistent in following through with charges against the defendant
  • Dismissing Charges – As stated above, although the survivor might change his/her mind concerning the incident, the prosecutor will continue to pursue charges against the defendant.

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Additional Resources

The California Legislative Information – Follow the link for detailed information regarding the Penal Code section 273.5 and the consequences if found guilty. The website also explains who is considered to be the intimate partner and the ramifications for the person convicted if they violate any section of the Penal Code 273.5. You can also learn more about probation if found guilty, and your rights if a peace officer makes an arrest due to violation of this section.

A Street Intervention – Visit the Psychological Services for Families website to find the service directory. Many services are provided, including “A Street Intervention” program, which is the 52-week Batterer’s program that is required if found guilty of domestic violence. Furthermore, the website provides information on other services, such as child abuse intervention programs.

Key Immigration Consequences of Selected California Offenses – The document is provided by the Immigration Legal Resource Center. It gives detailed information regarding offenses and if they are considered aggravated felony, a crime of violence, or crime involving moral turpitude. View the document for more details on other crimes, including controlled substance offense, the conviction of a crime of domestic violence, firearm offenses, etc. and how it can impact your immigration status. Moreover, the document depicts a chart with offenses that “might be dangerous and towards those that are safer.”


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Corporal Injury Lawyer in Ventura County, CA

Corporal injury, domestic battery, intimate partner, and domestic violence can have negative consequences legally and in your personal life. In some cases, for professionals with licenses and immigrants, it is seen as a crime involving moral turpitude. In another way, in some situations, this act can be defined as a “crime of violence.”

If you are charged with corporal injury, it is critical to consult with a skilled and experienced attorney to help minimize the long-term consequences. In California, corporal injury and domestic violence cases are commonly pursued to the fullest extent; attorneys are persistent in charging the defendant even if the survivor does not want to press charges. It is in your best interest to contact an experienced lawyer. Jay Leiderman Law has experience with criminal cases such as domestic violence. The sooner you retain a lawyer in a criminal case, the better results you can expect.

Call Jay Leiderman Law at (805) 654-0200


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