Drug and Criminal Defense in San Diego
Free Case Evaluations and 24/7 Availability - Call Today! 619.202.5583

What Is Felony Domestic Violence?

Unfortunately, many people will face domestic violence accusations. The reality is that good, decent people are oftentimes accused of domestic violence. Domestic violence is different than many of other criminal allegations because of the consequences and social stigma.

Under Penal Code Section 273.5(a) and (b) someone can be charged with felony domestic violence if the following occurs:

  1. A person willfully inflicts a physical injury on his or her spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, co-parent, fiancé, fiancée, or a person with whom the person accused has, or previously had, a dating or engagement relationship, and
  2. The injury inflicted results in a traumatic condition.

The issue for felony domestic violence cases is the "traumatic condition" language. Unlike felony battery which requires serious bodily injury or felony assault which requires force likely to produce great bodily injury, felony domestic violence can be charged with much less harm inflicted. The injury may be minor or serious in nature. For example, bruising has been found sufficient under PC 273.5.

Courts have held, however, that tenderness or soreness, without evidence of actual injury, do not satisfy the traumatic condition requirement. If there is no evidence of physical injury, a misdemeanor domestic violence, PC 243(e), will likely be the charge.

Because of the inherently private nature of most domestic violence allegations, false accusations are made and can lead to criminal charges that are not warranted. For example, jealous spouses, couples that are breaking up, custody issues, property disputes, etc., can all motivate a person to make false allegations.

Felony domestic violence convictions carry up to four years in state prison. Other consequences include fines, domestic violence classes, and Criminal Protective Orders (CPOs) under PC 136.2(a)(1)(G)(ii)(I)(e).

If you have been charged, arrested, or under investigation for PC 273.5, contact my office today. Because of the complexities of domestic violence cases, it is important to speak with an attorney that has experience representing clients accused of domestic violence. I will provide a free, confidential consultation.