Spousal abuse is any abusive conduct between individuals considered intimate partners. California law outlines penalties for spousal abuse. It also has a law regarding corporal injury on a spouse.

What Does Corporal Injury Mean?

Corporal injury generally means willful or intentional infliction of an injury on someone that results in a traumatic condition in the victim. Examples of corporal injury include minor or serious wound or other injury to the body caused by physical force.

How is Corporal Injury on a Spouse or Cohabitant Defined in California?

In California, Corporal injury on a spouse is defined as a traumatic condition that results from violent behavior on an intimate partner. An intimate partner is defined as a current or former:

  • Spouse
  • Co-parent
  • Partner
  • Fiancé or fiancée
  • Person the defendant is dating
  • Cohabitant 

Does the “Traumatic Condition” Have to Be Visible?

The traumatic condition can be internal and not visible by the naked eye. The condition does not need to be serious so long as there is a wound or injury of some kind.

What Does the Prosecutor Have to Prove to Convict Me of This Crime?

A prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant:

  • Defendant willfully inflicted a corporal injury on the victim;
  • The traumatic condition resulted from the corporal injury; and
  • The person injured was an intimate partner or a former intimate partner of the defendant

What Is the Punishment for Corporal Injury on a Spouse?

If the charge is convicted as a misdemeanor, 364 days (less than 1 year) in jail, a fine up to $6,000, and/or probation. If it’s convicted as a felony, then it’s two to four years in prison, a fine of up to $6,000 and/or probation.

If you have prior convictions of domestic violence or assault/battery, then your punishment may be increased. You could face a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 5 years.

If the corporal injury inflicted created “great bodily injury” on the victim, then you could face a possible strike under California’s Three Strikes Law.

Are There Any Possible Defenses to Corporal Injury on a Spouse?

Yes. Possible and common defenses include:

  • Accident
  • Mutual combat
  • Self-defense
  • Self-defense of another person
  • False accusation
  • Consent

Should I Talk to a Lawyer about Fighting My Corporal Injury on a Spouse Charge?

Yes. Talk to a California lawyer regarding the possible defenses you can use to fight this serious charge.