Domestic violence affects millions of Californians statewide. Many cases go undiscovered and thus unprosecuted, leaving victims unprotected. Domestic violence crimes are particularly prevalent in California, and law enforcement takes prosecuting the perpetrators of these crimes very seriously. Domestic violence crimes affect the community, not just the victim. Because of this, they are pursued aggressively by dedicated domestic violence prosecution units that specialize in convicting domestic violence offenders. Under California law, domestic violence is comprised of several different criminal acts that can occur in various domestic relationships. Corporal injury to a spouse is one of California's domestic violence crimes, and one of the more serious ones at that. Unlike battery on a spouse, which does not require the presence of any physical harm, corporal injury must result in an actual injury. The sentencing for corporal injury to a spouse can vary. The prosecution will rely on the facts and circumstances of your case, your criminal history, and the severity of the injuries the victim sustained when determining your sentencing. If you are charged with corporal injury to a spouse, you can face either a year in a county jail and/or a fine of up to $6,000, or two, three, or four years in a state prison. In addition, the court may issue a restraining order preventing you from contacting the victim for up to ten years. The restraining order may require you to do other things as well, such as pay child support or relinquish your firearms and ammunition. As part of your probation, you may also be ordered to make payments of up to $5,000 to a battered women's shelter, and you may have to pay restitution to the victim. Restitution can include the costs of counseling or medical care to address the injury, physical or emotional, the victim sustained.
A corporal injury charge can apply to situations where the victim was a spouse or former spouse or someone else you are in or have been in an intimate or close domestic relationship with. This can include someone you are or have dated, the parent of your child, a current or past cohabitant, or someone else you are closely related to by blood or marriage. To be convicted of corporal injury to a spouse, it must be proven that you willfully inflicted injury and that you caused the victim to sustain a traumatic condition, meaning an actual physical injury to their person. This could be anything from a bruise or a wound to a serious internal injury. Spousal battery charges, in contrast, do not require the presence of an actual physical injury or "traumatic condition". Like with many California crimes, the punishments increase if you have prior offenses. If you commit corporal injury on a spouse within seven years of a prior related offense, you could face a year in a county jail, or two, four, or five years in a state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If you are on probation for this offense and violate your probation terms, you can face mandatory jail time. As you can see, there are serious ramifications for this charge. It may be a charge worth fighting, if the evidence against you is lacking. You could be charged with domestic battery or domestic assault instead, and these charges can carry with them lesser sentences. It is important to understand the various California domestic violence charges and understand the evidence against you when approaching your defense.
If you are facing domestic violence crime charges, speak with a California criminal defense attorney with experience handling domestic violence cases as soon as possible. Prosecution for domestic violence crimes can be aggressive, and it can be difficult to defend yourself as the assailant. You will have the best chance at a strong defense if you have a qualified attorney assist you with your case. While the above-mentioned standard penalties for corporal injury on a spouse may seem harsh, a skilled attorney may be able to obtain you a better outcome.
If you or a loved one has recently been arrested and are being charged with a domestic violence crime in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings County area, call experienced criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can assess your case and advise you on how to approach your defense. Attorney Martens has over ten years of criminal defense experience and will fight hard for your rights. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.