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UNDERSTANDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES

When a person is charged with criminal spousal abuse charges relating to an argument involving domestic violence in California, there are two common charges that they face in a criminal court. Those charges are corporal injury to a spouse, which is charged a felony crime or spousal battery which is generally charged as a misdemeanor crime. In this blog I will discuss those two possible charges and will focus in certain issues that I have seen arise in various criminal cases that I have handled involving criminal charges stemming from domestic violence.

Understand however, that ever case is unique and that only an experienced criminal lawyer who is familiar with the facts of your case can properly advise you regarding your criminal matter. That is why if you or someone you love is facing criminal charges, the best thing that you can do for that person is to hire a Los Angeles criminal lawyer to handle the criminal case.

CORPORAL INJURY ON SPOUSE OR COHABITANT

ELEMENTS OF THE CRIME OF INFLICTING CORPORAL INJURY ON SPOUSE OR COHABITANT

A person may be charged with crime of corporal injury on spouse or cohabitant if that person willfully inflicts on his or her spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, or former cohabitant, or on any person who is the parent of his or her child, corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition (in other words an injury).

This crime requires the prosecutor prove that the person accused of the crime of corporal injury on spouse or cohabitant had the intent only to commit the act itself. There is no need that to show that the person accused of the crime actually intended that an injury results from his or her actions.

The California Penal code, defines the term “traumatic condition” as a condition of the body, such as a wound or injury. It makes no difference how serious that wound or injury is. Thus, a slight bruise would qualify under this requirement of the crime of corporal injury on spouse or cohabitant. The injury however, has to be more than slight pain or emotional distress.

Please also note that when police are called to the scene of a domestic violence incident, if one of the parties involved is injured in some way, no matter how slight, it is mandatory for the police to arrest a person for the criminal conduct.

BATTERY ON A SPOUSE OF COHABITANT

Unlike inflicting corporal injury in a spouse the crime of spousal battery is a misdemeanor crime and does not carry as stiff a punishment as the felony crime discussed above.

The California penal code has defined the battery as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another

Under the California Penal code when a person commits battery against a spouse, a person with whom the person accused of the criminal conduct is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of the person accused of criminal conduct’s child, former spouse, fiancée, or a person with whom the person accused of criminal conduct’s currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship that is person may be charged with the crime of spousal battery.

Unlike the crime of corporal injury in a spouse of cohabitant, there is no injury requirement in this crime. Thus even if the victim of a spousal battery crime is not injured in any way, there may still be criminal charges filed.

Often times, even if an injury does occur an experienced criminal lawyer can negotiate a felony charge down to the lesser crime of spousal battery. That is why it is crucial to have the best representation possible when you are facing criminal charges. A criminal lawyer can often times get his client out of a bad situation if he has the experience necessary to handle the criminal case.

PUNISHMENT FOR INFLICTING CORPORAL INJURY ON A SPOUSE OF COHABITANT

The punishments below are the ones prescribed in the California penal code. Many times an experienced criminal lawyer can achieve better results.

The crime of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse may be punishable by imprisonment in state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than one year and a substantial fine.

If a person is convicted of more than one count of the crime of inflicting corporal injury in a spouse of cohabitant, he or she may only be sentenced on one of the counts and the other criminal counts are stayed.

If the person has a previous conviction for a crime involving domestic violence offense within seven years of the current offense the punishment may be increased. There may be other things that will increase a person’s sentence from this crime, depending in their criminal history.

If great bodily injury is inflicted under the commission of the crime of inflicting corporal injury in a spouse of cohabitant then an enhancement of an additional and consecutive term of three, four, or five years in prison.

PUNISHMENT FOR DOMESTIC BATTERY

The crime of domestic battery is punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year.

Often times however, we have been able to get our clients no jail time and minimal or no fines in cases where the crime of spousal battery is charged.

PROBATION FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRIMES

Many times an experienced criminal lawyer can negotiate a plea bargain for his client in cases relating to criminal charges stemming from domestic that will not involve doing any jail time. If no jail time is required and a probationary sentence is granted by the court, then most likely the sentence will involve anger management counseling for the person who has pled guilty to a domestic violence crime.

If you or a loved one is charged in the California court with a criminal act involving domestic violence, they will need the assistance of a criminal lawyer if they want to have their interests represented. Criminal courts in California have their own practices and procedures and only an experienced criminal lawyer can help you. FOR A FREE CONSULTATION AND CASE EVALUATION CALL OUR OFFICE TOLL FREE AT 888 335-6008 OR CONTACT US HERE.