The crime of corporate injury is defined by California Penal Code §273.5. To be convicted of corporal injury, the jury must find that you acted willfully, and inflicted a corporal injury, which leaves a traumatic injury on another person. This is generally known as domestic violence, or domestic abuse. This crime can only be committed against someone the Defendant has an intimate relationship with. Examples include girlfriend, someone you are cohabitating with, a fiancé, a wife, and family members of the person you have an intimate relationship with. The traumatic injury inflicted on the person does not have to be significant, you can be found guilty of corporal punishment if you leave even a minor visible injury. This law protects people who are in serious relationships from being the victim of domestic violence.

It is necessary to note the difference between corporal injury, and domestic battery. Domestic battery is defined in California Penal Code §243(e)(1). The key requirement in a domestic battery charge is the act of touching an intimate part of the victim’s body. The key component in a corporal punishment charge is an act causing tramatic injury to a person with whom you have an intimate relationship.


  • A husband punching his wife

A girlfriend who throws a lamp at her boyfriend and leaves a bruise. An ex-husband who is jealous of his ex-wife’s no romance and comes to her house to slap her.One roommate kicks another roommate, breaking their leg. To be convicted of corporal injury, as defined by California Penal Code §273.5, the Prosecution must prove 3 elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. You willfully caused physical harm to the victim;
  2. The physical harm resulted in a traumatic condition.
  3. The victim is currently, or once was, an intimate partner of yours.

Each of these elements requires a brief explanation. If you are charged with corporal injury, contact an attorney at Orange County Criminal Attorney immediately. OCCA attorneys have ample experience defending clients in all manners of crimes, including corporal punishment. The expertise OCCA attorneys bring to bear can result in the charges being dropped altogether, or receiving a lesser sentence if convicted. If the Prosecution does not prove each, and every, element beyond a reasonable doubt, you cannot be found guilty of corporal injury. OCCA attorneys will fight vigorously to obtain a favorable verdict for you.

What Does Willfully Mean When Charged With Corporal Injury?

As stated above, one factor that the Prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that you acted willfully. This means you acted willfully, as opposed to involuntarily. Regardless of your intentions, the fact that your act resulted in the harm to an intimate partner is sufficient to satisfy this element. It is no defense to say you didn’t mean to hurt your partner. The Courts scale this definition back a little to limit the willfulness to actions, which by their very nature, will probably result in a direct injury to aperson. Additionally, the act must be one which you knew, or should have known, would result in the application of physical force against your partner. The “should have known” aspect above is dependent on a reasonable persons knowledge, as well as your personal knowledge of the situation. Thus, you can still be held accountable under the willfulness prong if other, ordinary, people would have realized the act would lead to physical harm to a person


David and Vivian are engaged, and live together. One day, David looked through Vivian’s phone and found messages he did not like. When David confronted Vivian, Vivian refused to respond. David, in a rage, grabbed Vivian’s wrist and twisted it. David’s action resulted in Vivian’s wrist breaking. David can be found guilty of corporal injury because he acted willfully by grabbing Vivian’s wrist and twisting, the willful act caused a traumatic injury, and Vivian is an intimate partner.

What Is A Traumatic Condition?

A traumatic condition is defined as a wound, serious bodily injury, or even a minor injury caused by the physical force you used. California Courts seem to construe this element rather strictly, including even minor injuries such as scratches and bruises in the definition. To be convicted of child abuse, it is critical that the traumatic physical condition was caused by the act, and the injury. That is your act had to have caused the injury, and injury must have caused the traumatic physical condition.

Who Is An Intimate Partner?

As mentioned above, the final factor the Prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that the victim was your intimate partner. The only people who can be a victim of corporal injury, is someone you have an intimate relationship. This could be a girlfriend, fiancé, wife, mother-in-law, and ex-girlfriends. This law is designed to protect people in intimate relationships from domestic abuse. Courts has established that a “dating relationship” exists when there is frequent, intimate interaction, where the main purposes is affection or sexual, without consideration of money. Additionally, it is not necessary for the relationship to monogamous, or long term.

What Are The Penalties For Corporal Injury?

The crime of corporal injury is known as a “wobbler offense.” This means that the Prosecution can charge you with felony corporal injury, or a misdemeanor corporal injury. Naturally, the form of the charge will dictate the degree of the penalty associated with it. It is important to have an astute attorney in your corner when it comes to how to charge, and how to sentence you. At Orange County Criminal Attorney, we have extensive experience dealing with Prosecutors in Orange County. Having an OCCA attorney on your side can increase the odds of your charge coming in the lesser misdemeanor form, as well as minimize the degree of the penalty you face.

If you are charged with misdemeanor corporal injury, you could face up to a year in jail, misdemeanor probation, a $6,000 fine, or a combination of all three. Having competent counsel can minimize the punishment you receive.

Alternatively, if you are charged with felony corporal injury the punishments become more severe; the extent of which is determined by what happened. The penalties associated with felony corporal injury include jail time ranging from two (2) to four (4) years, felony probation, a fine up to $6,000, or a combination of those penalties. If the Prosecution proves the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt, the corporal injury can be aggravated:

  • That within the last 7 years, you have been convicted of a domestic violence offense; and
  • The victim suffered serious bodily injury from your conduct. 

Restraining Orders

In addition to being charged with a misdemeanor, or a felony, you could also receive a restraining order to prevent you from having any contact with the victim. This can be especially harmful if you live with the victim, as chances are you will be forced to move out for the duration of the restraining order. The length of the restraining order could be up to ten (10) years. 
Immigration consequences

Immigration Consequences

The penalties for felony corporal injury conviction can be extreme. Corporal injury is a type of crime known as a “deportable offense.” Thus, if you are an immigrant who is convicted of felony corporal injury, you may be deported pursuant to federal law. If you are an immigrant charged with felony corporal injury in California, immediately contact an attorney from Orange County Criminal Attorney. Having an attorney handling these matters can result in a quick resolution, in your favor. The consequences are very severe, and it is essential that you have an attorney building the strongest case possible for you.

What Legal Defenses Could My OCCA Attorney Pursue If I Am Charged With Corporal Injury?

As mentioned above, being charged with corporal injury is known as a “wobbler.” This means that the Prosecution can opt t charge with either misdemeanor corporal injury, or felony corporal injury. The decision will be based on the circumstances surrounding the offense. A conviction for corporal injury will go on your criminal record, which will appear on all subsequent background checks. This may have a negative impact on your job prospects, and may even result in losing your job. In addition to all the penalties mentioned above, a conviction will also place you on the “Domestic Violence Register”, which is accessible by many people. If you are accused of corporal injury, contact an OCCA attorney immediately. It is critical that we begin building your defense early on in the process to give you the best chances. A well prepared case can aid the Prosecution in deciding not to press charges against you, or at least charge and seek a lesser amount.

In defending you against a charge of corporal injury, an attorney at Orange County Criminal Attorney may raise a number of defenses to protect your freedom. Some of these defenses include:

  • You were acting to protect yourself or someone else.
  • You did not act willfully 

A key showing before the Prosecution can maintain a conviction for violation of this statute is that you acted willfully when you engaged in the conduct that caused the corporal injury. A strong defense is that your actions were unintentional. For example, if you were inebriated and stumbled into the person who you are accused of causing corporal injury, you cannot be guilty of the offense because the stumbling was a result of the effect the alcohol had on your system, and not a result of an act you intended to engage in against the victim.