Corporal Injury

Corporal Injury

Corporal Injury

Penal Code §273.5


If you or someone you love is being investigated for, arrested for, or has been charged with violating Penal Code §273.5 (Corporal Injury) time is not on your side. Every second that passes is vital.  Likely, the Prosecutor’s Office has already engaged their professional team to begin building their case against you.  And, depending on when you’re reading this, they could be working against you as you’re reviewing this information. We strongly recommend that you contact an attorney immediately after learning about these charges, to help you build a strong, successful defense.



Corporal Injury involves causing a traumatic condition on a victim that is either a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, fiancé, former fiancé, girl/boyfriend, former girl/boyfriend, or the parent of the offender’s child.


In the State of California, Corporal Injury is governed by Penal Code §273.5, which states:


(a) Any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim described in subdivision (b) is guilty of a felony.

(b) Subdivision (a) shall apply if the victim is or was one or more of the following:


(1) The offender’s spouse or former spouse.


(2) The offender’s cohabitant or former cohabitant.


(3) The offender’s fiancé or fiancée, or someone with whom the offender has, or previously had, an engagement or dating relationship, as defined in paragraph (10) of subdivision (f) of Section 243.


(4) The mother or father of the offender’s child.                                California Penal Code §273.5


The Elements

In law, every charge carries with it a set of “elements” that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. All of the elements must be proven in order to convict someone of a given crime.


The three elements to Corporal Injury in California are:


  1. The accused intentionally and illegally caused a physical injury on one of the people listed above;
  2. The injury resulted in a traumatic condition; AND
  3. The accused did not act in order to defend themselves.


Our office is experienced at finding which elements the prosecution cannot meet, or which elements are weak points in the prosecution’s case against you and may keep the prosecution from being able to prove you guilty of Corporal Injury under California Penal Code §273.5.


Possible Penalties

California considers Corporal Injury to be a “wobbler:” a crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the severity and the opinions of the judge. As you can imagine, the more serious the charge, the more serious the penalties you could face.


If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you may face up to one (1) year in county jail and/or a fine up to $6,000.


If you are charged with a felony, you may face two (2), three (3), or four (4) years in state prison. Felony corporal punishment counts as a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law.


In the event the accused caused great bodily injury, the sentences above may be increased by five (5) years.


Corporal injury is often brought with additional charges (domestic battery, assault, simple battery, battery causing serious bodily injury, etc.). Any sentences relating to additional charges may be served consecutively. This means that if you are sentenced to two years for felony corporal injury and 3 years for battery, you may have to serve a total of 5 years.



The sooner you call our office the sooner we can hear the truth about what took place.  Depending on the facts of the situation, and whether you’ve called our office soon enough, we may be able to take the facts you share with us and meet with the District Attorney to keep charges from being formally filed against you.


If charges have already been filed against you, our office is experienced at going through all of the evidence line-by-line to find discrepancies and discover all possible defenses for your case.  As with all criminal cases, most defenses target at least one of the elements stated above.  Examples of defenses in a Corporal Injury case that we may be able to find in your favor include (but are not limited to):


  • SELF-DEFENSE: You caused injury using reasonable force in order to defend yourself or others.
  • FALSE ACCUSATION: The “victim” is lying to cause damage to you or your child.
  • WRONGLY ACCUSED: You are not the person that caused the injury.


Each case unique and may be better suited to one particular defense over another. Always speak to an attorney about all of your options when deciding the defense that may be best for you.  Call the Law Office of James Hassey at 619-745-5555 for your FREE consultation.