Domestic violence crimes do not require the victim suffer visible signs of injury. For instance, domestic battery charges may be successful when unlawful force is used against a person with whom the accused is in an intimate relationship. This force may be a gentle push, it need not have left marks upon the victim. However, if the facts indicate the victim suffered physical injury that caused a traumatic condition, then the crime may be charged as corporal injury to a spouse. If you or a loved one is under investigation or facing criminal charges, the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings can help. Domestic violence defense lawyer Gregory H. Comings advocates for the accused by listening to their side of the story and determining the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. For decades, Attorney Comings has diligently worked to reduce or dismiss criminal charges for people throughout Riverside and nearby communities.
According to California Penal Code Section 273.5, corporal injury to a spouse occurs when a person willfully inflicts corporal injury that leads to a traumatic condition on a victim. As a felony, this crime can lead to imprisonment up to four years, a fine up to $6,000, or both. A restraining order may be issued, preventing the defendant from contacting the victim for a period of time, up to ten years. Legal penalties may increase for a felony conviction if you have certain prior convictions within the past 7 years. These crimes include domestic battery, corporal injury on a spouse, sexual battery, assault causing serious bodily injury, and assault with a deadly weapon.
As a domestic violence crime, corporal injury to a spouse refers to harm caused to an intimate partner. By law, this may include a spouse, a former spouse, fiancee, or cohabitant. A cohabitant may be two unrelated people who have resided together for a certain amount of time, resulting in a relationship. Specific factors may determine whether the victim was a cohabitant, such as the length of the relationship, sexual relations between two people, and sharing of income or property.
Regarding the term “willfully,” corporal injury to a spouse must have taken place on purpose. The prosecution must show that the defendant meant to cause physical harm, resulting in a traumatic condition. A “traumatic condition” is a physical injury, like a wound, that was caused by force. While it does not need to be serious, it must be a natural and probable consequence of the injury. For instance, a black eye, deep bruising, a broken nose, or internal bleeding may be considered a traumatic condition.
A dedicated Riverside attorney can carefully review your case in order to apply an appropriate defense strategy. The best outcome possible depends on the particulars of your case. If you have been charged with corporal injury to a spouse, you may be able to assert self-defense.
The goal of asserting self-defense is to cast reasonable doubt upon the prosecution’s case. For example, if you reasonably believed you were in imminent danger of being unlawfully touched, and you had to assert force against this danger, this defense may be appropriate. You also must have used only the amount of force necessary, no more.
In other cases, a defense lawyer may be able to set forth evidence that you did not intend to inflict injury. If you did not have the intent to harm the alleged victim, then the defense of accident may be valid. An element of corporal injury to a spouse is that a defendant “willfully” inflict corporal injury. If in fact you never had the intent to inflict injury, then the prosecution may not be able to convict you.
Finally, false accusation is a possible defense to charges for corporal injury to a spouse. People may face false accusations of domestic violence based on their intimate partner’s anger, jealousy or desire for revenge. In some cases, the other party may set forth an accusation falsely in order to gain advantage in a child custody dispute. If the alleged victim sets forth false accusations, a conviction will not be successful.
At the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings, we explore all possible legal defenses that may apply in your case. Domestic violence offenses require a lawyer experienced in fighting these kinds of charges. Attorney Comings aggressively negotiates, and if needed, litigates on your behalf to reduce or dismiss your charge to a less serious offense, including simple assault. Our clients reside in Riverside and surrounding areas, and our office can be reached by calling (951) 686-3457 or online.