September 29, 2023 By Paul Wallin

The Primary Defenses To A Corporal Injury To A Spouse Charge – Penal Code Section 273.5

Finding yourself accused of a corporal injury to a spouse charge in California can be daunting and overwhelming. This blog will break down the charge, examine potential penalties, explore potential defenses, and emphasize the importance of seeking strong legal counsel, helping you understand what to expect and how to best protect your rights.

Our experienced criminal defense attorneys can guide you through the legal process. Call Wallin & Klarich today toll-free at (877) 466-5245 for your free consultation with our experienced attorneys.

Corporal Injury to a Spouse Under Penal Code Section 273.5

Corporal injury to a spouse is classified under Penal Code Section 273.5. This statute specifically addresses the unlawful behavior of inflicting physical injury on a spouse, cohabitant, or the parent of one’s child. Under this section, “corporal injury” refers to any physical injury, whether minor or serious, resulting from an act of violence such as striking, punching, or other forms of physical assault.

Violation of Penal Code Section 273.5 is considered a “wobbler,” meaning it can be charged either as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of the case, including the severity of the injury and any prior criminal history of the accused. Conviction under this penal code can lead to imprisonment, fines, and mandatory counseling programs, along with a lasting criminal record. It is crucial for anyone accused under this code to understand the specifics of the charges and seek appropriate legal counsel to navigate their defense effectively.

Overview of Penalties under Penal Code Section 273.5

Violations of California Penal Code Section 273.5 carry significant penalties, which can vary based on whether the offense is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, as well as the specifics of the case. Here’s a closer look at the potential penalties:

Misdemeanor Penalties

If charged as a misdemeanor, the penalties for violating Penal Code Section 273.5 can include:

  • Imprisonment: Up to one year in a county jail.
  • Fines: Up to $6,000.
  • Probation: The court may grant probation instead of imprisonment, often with mandatory conditions such as attending counseling programs or community service.

Felony Penalties

For felony charges, the penalties are more severe and can include:

  • Imprisonment: Two, three, or four years in a state prison.
  • Fines: Up to $10,000.
  • Probation: In some cases, the court may allow probation, but can impose up to a year in custody as a condition of probation along with a mandatory 52 weeks of domestic violence classes.

Additional Considerations

Beyond the immediate penalties, a conviction under Penal Code Section 273.5 can lead to other long-term consequences, such as:

  • Restraining Orders: The court may issue a restraining order against the accused, restricting contact with the victim.
  • Counseling Programs: Upon conviction for corporal injury on a spouse the court must order 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling
  • Firearm Restrictions: Under federal law a domestic violence conviction results in a lifetime ban on owning or possessing firearms
  • Immigration Consequences: For non-citizens, a conviction can affect immigration status, potentially leading to deportation or denial of citizenship.

Understanding these penalties underscores the importance of seeking competent legal representation, as the consequences of a conviction can extend well beyond immediate legal sanctions, affecting an individual’s personal and professional life.

Key Defenses Against a Corporal Injury to a Spouse Charge

When facing a corporal injury to a spouse charge under California Penal Code Section 273.5, several defense strategies can be utilized to challenge the accusations effectively. Here are some common defenses:


One of the most prevalent defenses is self-defense. If the accused can demonstrate that they were protecting themselves from imminent harm, the court may consider this a valid reason for their actions. Self-defense requires showing that the force used was reasonably necessary to prevent injury or death.

False Accusations

False accusations can occur in cases involving high emotions, such as marital disputes or custody battles. If the defense can provide evidence that the allegations were fabricated out of spite, jealousy, or a desire to gain leverage in another context, this can be a powerful defense. Gathering witness statements, communications, and other forms of evidence can be crucial in proving false allegations.

Lack of Intent

The prosecution must prove that the accused intentionally inflicted physical injury. If the defense can show that any harm caused was accidental or unintentional, this can weaken the prosecution’s case. For example, if the injury occurred during an argument where the accused was acting recklessly but did not intend to cause harm, this defense might be applicable.

Insufficient Evidence

Challenging the sufficiency of the evidence presented by the prosecution is another strategy. This involves scrutinizing the evidence to find inconsistencies, gaps, or lack of credible witness testimony. By creating reasonable doubt about the events leading to the injury, the defense can argue that the prosecution has not met its burden of proof.

Seeking Legal Counsel

Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial when facing a corporal injury to a spouse charge. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you understand your rights, develop a strong defense strategy, and guide you through the legal process. They can also negotiate with the prosecution, potentially leading to reduced charges or a more favorable outcome. Do not hesitate to seek legal counsel to ensure the best possible defense for your case.

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today

If you are facing a corporal injury to a spouse charge, 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. We have offices in Irvine, Tustin, Pasadena, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Torrance, Victorville, and Anaheim.

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

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