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How Much Time Am I Looking At for a Domestic Violence Charge Under PC 273.5?

Facing a domestic violence charge can be an overwhelming and stressful experience. Understanding your charges and the legal consequences associated with them is essential when dealing with this difficult situation. 

Under California Penal Code §273.5, it is unlawful to cause injury to a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, dating partner, or co-parent of one’s child through an act of physical force. 

For example, a man aggressively squeezes his wife’s arm to the point that it leaves behind visible bruises. This act is considered corporal injury because it resulted in physical damage to her body due to intentional harmful contact. 

So, how much time are you looking at for this crime?

Potential Penalties for a Corporal Injury Domestic Violence Conviction in California

A domestic violence charge of corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant is considered a “wobbler.” A wobbler is a term used within the legal system to refer to crimes that can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or a felony. 

The decision on how to charge such an offense depends on various factors, including the specifics of the act, severity of injuries, and prior criminal history, among others. 

Misdemeanor Conviction 

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you could end up being sentenced up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $6,000.

Felony Conviction 

If you are convicted of a felony, you could face heavier penalties, including up to four years in state prison and a fine of up to $6,000.

Prior Conviction Within The Past Seven Years – Enhanced Penalties

Suppose you have a previous conviction for battery on a spouse, partner, or cohabitant within the past seven years. 

In that case, the penalties for a new conviction of corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant may be increased by:

  • Up to one year in county jail; or
  • Two to four years in state prison; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000.

It’s important to note that these penalties may be stacked, meaning you could serve an additional four years on top of your original sentence.

Collateral Consequences of a Conviction Under 273.5 PC

If you are convicted of corporal injury to a spouse, you face additional collateral consequences as well, including the following:  

  • A domestic violence restraining order can be issued, which will limit your access and contact with the victim.
  • The right to own or possess firearms could also be stripped away from you.
  • Your professional life stands to be affected too. Professional licenses – for example, a license to practice law – may be revoked.
  • Additionally, if you are not a U.S. citizen, facing such a conviction could prevent you from becoming a resident or citizen – or even lead to deportation proceedings.

The consequences are severe, so it’s critical to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you are facing these charges. 

If you’re accused of corporal injury to a spouse, several potential legal defenses can be raised depending on the specifics of your case. Some of the most common include the following:


If your actions were taken to protect yourself from immediate harm, you may be able to avoid liability by providing evidence of this. You must also show that the force you used in defense was reasonable under the circumstances. 

No Traumatic Injury

To be convicted of corporal injury to a spouse, there must be a traumatic condition – some sort of physical injury. Without evidence of physical injuries, you cannot be convicted of this crime.  

False Allegations

False allegations can be raised as a defense if you can provide evidence that the accusations lodged against you were either fabricated or significantly exaggerated.

This might involve presenting clear evidence contradicting their claims—like an alibi showing that you were somewhere else at the time of the alleged crime. 

If you’ve been arrested for corporal injury to a spouse, working with a California criminal defense attorney can help protect you.   

A San Jose Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help If You’ve Been Accused of Inflicting Corporal Injury To a Spouse

Finding yourself in the center of a domestic violence dispute can be one of the most stressful and uncertain times in your life. Regardless of the specifics, you need to secure an experienced San Jose criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

With their knowledge and guidance, they will ensure that you understand what you’re charged with and potential penalties to expect if convicted.

Additionally, your lawyer can investigate your case and gather evidence to build a solid defense. 

A lawyer can also negotiate with prosecutors, as in some situations, it’s better to plead guilty to a less serious crime with less severe penalties instead of risking your freedom at trial. 

No matter what situation you’re facing, working with a domestic violence lawyer should never be overlooked. 

Contact Our Criminal Defense Law Firm of Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys Today For Help.

For more information please contact our criminal defense law firm of Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys at the nearest location for a free consultation.

Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys – San Jose Office
1625 The Alameda, Suite 405, San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 217-8818

Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys – Redwood City Office
600 Allerton St Suite 201G, Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 299-0500

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