January 4, 2024 By Paul Wallin

California Domestic Violence Law | PC 273.5 

Before we dive into the specifics of 273.5, it is important to understand what domestic violence is. Domestic violence refers to any type of violent or abusive behavior within a household or intimate relationship. This can include past and present roommates as well as intimate partners. Finally, this can include physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse.

Choosing Wallin & Klarich to represent your case puts you in a better position to receive the best outcome for your case. We have over 40 years of experience in Southern California. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for your free consultation!

What is PC 273.5? 

Now let’s take a closer look at the law itself. California Penal Code 273.5 states that it is illegal to inflict corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon an intimate partner or cohabitant. This means that if someone causes physical harm to their spouse, domestic partner, or anyone they live with, they can be charged under this law.

Although it may seem like a simple definition, the consequences of being charged and convicted under  273.5 can be severe. This law is considered a “wobbler” offense, meaning it can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the case. If convicted, an individual may face jail time, fines, probation, and mandatory counseling.

What the Prosecution Must Prove 

In order to secure a conviction under California Penal Code 273.5, the prosecution must demonstrate a number of key elements beyond a reasonable doubt. First, they must show that the defendant willfully inflicted physical injury on an intimate partner, which resulted in a traumatic condition. “Willfully” here means that the action was intentional, not accidental. “Intimate partner” includes a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or the mother or father of the defendant’s child.

The prosecution also needs to show that the injury resulted in a ‘traumatic condition’, meaning any wound or bodily injury, whether minor or serious, caused by the direct application of physical force. Lastly, evidence of the defendant’s past instances of abuse can be considered, although it is not a necessary condition for conviction.

Remember, every case is unique, and the specific evidence required may vary. It’s essential to seek legal advice if you find yourself involved in such a situation. At Wallin & Klarich, you will never be left wondering what will happen next with your case. Our attorneys will help you through each step of the process, and figure out the best strategy for your case, which will help you get the best possible outcome. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are here to help you. We offer exceptional service, experience, and affordable payment options to help you manage the cost of hiring a defense attorney. Call our office today for a free consultation!

Possible Penalties 

The penalties for violating California Penal Code 273.5 can be quite severe, reflecting the seriousness with which the state treats domestic violence offenses. Whether the crime is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony largely depends on the specifics of the case, including the severity of the injuries inflicted, the presence of any aggravating factors, and the defendant’s criminal history.

If convicted of a misdemeanor, the defendant could face up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $6,000, and/or probation. Felony convictions carry stiffer penalties, including two, three, or four years in state prison and a fine of up to $6,000. If the victim suffers great bodily injury, the defendant could face an additional and consecutive three to five years in state prison.

Moreover, the court may order the defendant to complete a one-year batterer’s program and issue a protective order to protect the victim from further violence. This could involve the defendant being ordered to move out of a shared residence and having limited contact with the victim. Please note that these penalties are discretionary and may vary based on the judge’s decision and the specifics of the case.

Possible Defense 

When faced with charges under California Penal Code 273.5, it is crucial to have a robust defense strategy. Here are a few possible defenses that can be used in such cases:

  1. Lack of Willful Intent: Since the law requires the act to be done willfully, demonstrating that the injury was accidental could be a potential defense.
  2. False Accusation: Unfortunately, false accusations in domestic violence cases are not unheard of. If you can provide evidence that the accusation is false or motivated by revenge or jealousy, it could serve as a strong defense.
  3. Self-Defense or Defense of Others: If you were acting in self-defense or in defense of someone else, and used reasonable force under the circumstances, this could be used as a defense.
  4. Insufficient Evidence: Lastly, if the prosecution cannot provide enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you inflicted a corporal injury that resulted in a traumatic condition, this could lead to the charges being dismissed.

Remember, these are just possible defenses and each case is unique. Always consult with an experienced attorney who can review the details of your case and guide you in building a strong defense.

How a Defense Attorney Can Help

Engaging a competent defense attorney is crucial when facing charges under California Penal Code 273.5. An experienced attorney can provide invaluable assistance in several ways. Firstly, they can meticulously scrutinize the facts of the case, ensuring no details are overlooked. They can also challenge the prosecution’s evidence, question the credibility of witnesses, and suggest alternative interpretations of the events which led to the charge. Importantly, a defense attorney can guide you through the complex legal process, making sure you understand your rights and options at every step. In negotiations with the prosecution, your attorney can work to have your charges reduced, or in some cases, dismissed altogether. Finally, if the case goes to trial, your attorney can mount a strong defense on your behalf, presenting evidence and arguments that may help to secure a not guilty verdict, or at least, a less severe penalty. Remember, navigating the legal system can be daunting and stressful; having an experienced attorney by your side can provide both legal and emotional support. 

Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience representing cases like yours. Call our office today for a free consultation.

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you are facing domestic violence charges, you need an aggressive defense attorney to fight for your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients win their cases or get their charges reduced to a lesser degree. We know the most effective defenses to argue on your behalf, and we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. 

You may not be aware of all your options. Calling our office costs you nothing, but picking up the phone could be the difference between years in prison and years of freedom. Let our skilled attorneys examine your case to find the best way to avoid prison.Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

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