Los Angeles Domestic Violence (Corporal Injury on a Spouse) Defense

California PC 273.5

Accused of Domestic Violence in Los Angeles?

In California, domestic violence laws apply to the stalking, threatening, Los-angeles-domestic-violence-lawyerabandoning, damaging property belonging to, or inflicting some kind of physical injury to another person. The most common domestic violence charge falls under Penal Code Section 273.5. This law deals with a corporal injury to someone who is or used to be the accused person’s intimate partner. Charges can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Any domestic violence related charge can lead to serious consequences. A domestic violence conviction can lead to jail, participation in counseling, fines, and restrictions on your ability to possess firearms. Hiring the right Los Angeles violent crime defense lawyer is important. Our Personal Injury Attorneys can help build a strong defense to help get your case dismissed. Contact us today at (800) 458-1488.

How is Domestic Violence Proven?

To get a conviction for violating Penal Code Section 273.5, the District Attorney has to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The accused person willfully or intentionally inflicted a physical injury on a former or current intimate partner
  • The physical injuries caused a traumatic condition for the person who was hurt

Legal Defenses for Domestic Violence

Lack of Willful Intent

If you didn’t intend to harm your partner, you may not have committed domestic violence. For example, if you accidentally shove someone while leaving the room during an argument, and they fall and suffer an injury like a bruise or a concussion, your actions weren’t meant to lead to that consequence.

False Accusations

It’s common for people to be falsely accused of domestic violence by angry intimate partners. In situations where investigators find inaccuracies in the victim’s story, an attorney should be able to prove the allegations were false.


You have every right to protect yourself from physical harm with physical force. A strong self-defense would prove:

  • You had the reasonable belief that you were in imminent danger of being injured by another person
  • You had the reasonable belief that you could only defend yourself by using physical force
  • You didn’t use any more force than what was needed to defend yourself (you didn’t chase down an attacker who flees or keep hitting your attacker after they’ve been subdued)

Lack of Proof

A charge under Penal Code 273.5 involves injuries visible to a person caused by their intimate partner. However, many domestic violence victims refuse to testify. In these cases, an attorney may be able to get charges dismissed or reduced if there isn’t testimony from a third party witness to the domestic violence situation.

Domestic Violence Penalties and Sentencing

Domestic violence charges under Penal Code 273.5 are a wobbler, meaning they can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The District Attorney will choose which to pursue depending on the seriousness of domestic violence charge and the accused person’s criminal history.

Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Penalties

  • Up to one year in county jail
  • Fine up to $6,000
  • Summary or Informal Probation
  • A restraining order keeping you away from the victim for up to 10 years

Felony Domestic Violence Penalties

  • Up to 4 years in state prison
  • Fine up to $6,000
  • Formal Probation
  • A restraining order keeping you away from the victim for up to 10 years


Prior convictions for domestic violence will enhance the sentence for your current charge. If you’ve been convicted of domestic battery within 7 years of a domestic violence conviction, your fine increases to $10,000. Other violent offenses will also increase your felony conviction up to 5 years. Offenses that will increase prison time include:

  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Simple assault
  • Aggravated assault or battery
  • Sexual battery (PC 243.4)

If the injuries you’ve inflicted in a domestic violence charge are serious enough to fit the legal definition of “great bodily injury,” you can face an extra 3 to 5 years in prison for a felony conviction. These are the injuries considered “great bodily injuries” by the law:

  • Broken bones
  • Severe scars or disfigurement
  • Severe concussion
  • Second degree burns (or worse)
  • Severe bruising and swelling
  • Knife wounds
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Loss of a body part or internal organ
  • Damage to internal organs

Domestic Violence Expungement

A conviction under Penal Code 273.5 can be expunged if you were convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or didn’t serve any state prison time for your conviction. Felony charges cannot be expunged.

California Penal Code 1203.4 allows you to petition the court to expunge a misdemeanor conviction of corporal domestic violence. While an expungement won’t completely clear your conviction record, it will keep this conviction from appearing on public databases used for criminal background checks. Your record will still be accessible to law enforcement, court personnel, and any agency considering you for public employment.

You can petition for an expungement if you:

  • Completed all conditions of your sentence and probation
  • Haven’t committed another felony after this conviction
  • Have no criminal charges pending
  • Didn’t violate probation after your domestic violence conviction

Some probation violations won’t make you ineligible for expungement as long as the violation isn’t related to a serious misdemeanor or felony offense.

Hire a Los Angeles Domestic Violence Attorney

Our Team knows how to build a strong domestic violence charge defense. Our attorneys have the experience and skill to help you pursue a dismissal or reduction of your charges. Contact us today. You can reach us at (800) 458-1488.