Penal Code 273.5(a) - Spousal Battery
PC 273.5 (a) outlines the elements for the crime of corporal injury to spouse or cohabitant (spousal battery). This crime is made of of three elements:
- Defendant willfully inflicted corporal (physical) injury on the victim.
- The Victim was the defendant’s spouse, cohabitant, or the mother or father of the defendant’s child.
- Corporal injury resulted in a traumatic condition (physical injury).
Essentially, PC 273.5 (a) makes it illegal to purposefully inflict physical injury onto one’s spouse or cohabitant with whom one is romantically involved. As to the first element, it must be shown that the defendant inflicted corporal injury, which just means some amount of physical injury, on the victim. As to the second element, the victim must be someone who is either married to the defendant, parent of the defendant’s children, or in a dating relationship with the defendant. As the the third element, it must be shown that the physical injury resulted in the victim suffering bodily injury. This typically can involve bruising, a bloody nose, or more serious injury. However, if the injury is insignificant enough to disappear in a short period of time, it will very difficult for the DA to classify the injury as a traumatic condition.
Because PC 273.5 is chargeable as either a misdemeanor or a felony, the sentence for this crime can range between 0 days up to 4 years. However, whether the crime is reduced from a felony down to a misdemeanor largely depends on the negotiating efforts and abilities of your attorney.
In addition to the jail/prison sentence, PC 273.5 mandates that any person who has been convicted of this crime as a misdemeanor will be prohibited from possessing or controlling any firearm for 10 years. Additionally, under PC 273.5 Any person who is convicted of this crime as a felony will be prohibited from possessing or controlling a firearm for the rest of his/her life. Yet, under federal law, the defendant will be permanently prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm for the rest of his/her life regardless of whether the crime is charge as a misdemeanor or a felony.