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.”