Spousal Abuse

Spousal Abuse

Spousal Abuse charges in Los Angeles are a serious matter. A Spousal Abuse conviction can result in lifelong consequences for the defendant, the victim and their family members. The stakes are high.

In California, Spousal Abuse, also called "Domestic Violence" and "Domestic Abuse," cases get a lot of attention. The Los Angeles DA's office has Domestic Violence Units (DV Units) with designated prosecutors who aggressively prosecute all domestic violence suspects. In Los Angeles, a 911 call to the police regarding to a domestic dispute will almost always result in an arrest of one or both of the parties (husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend). If you have been arrested or charged with domestic violence contact the criminal defense attorneys at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners immediately. We have been successful representing defendants facing domestic violence charges.

Call today to schedule a free and confidential consultation to learn about your legal options.

Domestic Violence Law

Violence between spouses, parents, partners and other individuals in a domestic relationship can be charged under a variety of California laws. Some of the more common California crimes associated with a domestic violence case are:

  • Inflicting Bodily Injury on a Spouse/Former Spouse/Cohabitant/Fellow Parent - Penal Code 273.5
    Penal Code 273.5 is California's primary domestic violence law. It can be charged when the defendant wounded his or her spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant or the parent of the defendant's child. A violation of PC 273.5 may be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony (a "wobbler"). How it is filed is based on the seriousness of the case. If the domestic violence has resulted in severe injuries it will almost always be charged as a felony. No injury or slight injury cases will be filed as a misdemeanor. Prior reports of domestic violence against the defendant and the defendant's criminal history may result in the offense being charged as a felony.
  • Domestic Battery - Penal Code 243(e)(1)
    Domestic battery (also called "spousal battery" or "simple domestic battery") can be charged when the defendant used any unwanted force against a spouse or former spouse, cohabitant, the parent of one's child, fiancé, or a person one dates or formerly dated. Domestic battery is filed as a misdemeanor when there is slight injury or no injury at all.
  • Aggravated Battery - Penal Code 243(d)
    Aggravated battery can be charged when the defendant inflicted serious bodily injury (e.g., broken bones, wound requiring stitches) against any person (not just an intimate partner). Aggravated battery is a "wobbler;" it can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on the extent of the injuries, the circumstances and the defendant's criminal history.
  • Criminal Threats - Penal Code 422
    Penal Code 422 can be charged when the defendant meaningfully threatens to cause serious harm to someone (or his/her family) and convinces the victim he/she is in imminent danger. The threats can be made verbally, in writing or with an electronic communication. That the accused never intended to carry out the threat is not a defense. Criminal Threats may be charged as misdemeanors or felonies.
  • Child Abuse - Penal Code 273d
    The California Domestic Violence laws can also apply to violence against a child that lives in the defendant's home. It is illegal to inflict upon a child any cruel or inhuman punishment or injury resulting in a traumatic condition. A person who abuses his or her child can be charged not only for violating Penal Code 243(e)(1) (domestic violence law), but also for violating Penal Code 273(d) (child abuse law).Child endangerment [Penal Code 273(a)] can be charged if domestic violence takes place at home while a child is present.


Spousal Abuse that results in severe injuries (e.g., broken bones) is usually charged as a felony. No physical injury or slight injury (e.g., bruising) cases are filed as misdemeanors. Having a record of family violence or other violent crime usually elevates a misdemeanor domestic violence charge to a felony.





Corporal Injury PC 273.5 (Misdemeanor)

$6,000 and up to $5,000 to a battered women's shelter

Up to 1 year in county jail

Greater fines and jail time if w/in 7 years of a prior domestic violence conviction.

Corporal Injury (Felony)

$6,000 and up to $5,000 to a battered women's shelter

2, 3 or 4 years in state prison

Additional 3,4 or 5 years if victim suffered severe injuries. "Strike"

Domestic Battery PC 243(e)(1)

Up to $2,000

Up to 1 year in county jail

Aggravated Battery (misdemeanor) 243(d)

Up to $1,000

Up to 1 year in county jail

Aggravated Battery (felony)

Up to $10,000

2, 3 or 4 years in state prison


Attempted Murder (1st Degree) PC 644/187

Up to $10,000

Life in prison with the possibility of parole


Attempted Murder (2nd Degree)

Up to $10,000

5,7 or 9 years in state prison


Criminal Threats PC422 (misdemeanor)

Up to $1,000

Up to 1 year in county jail

Criminal Threats (felony)

Up to $10,000

16 Months, 2 or 3 years in state prison

Use of a deadly weapon increases the sentence by 1 year. "Strike"

Besides fines and imprisonment, a domestic violence conviction can result in the following additional penalties:

  • Counseling
  • Community service or physical labor (e.g., CalTrans)
  • Restraining Order
  • Move out of the residence order
  • "No Harm, No Strike" Order (if the couple stays together).

Restraining Orders

In California, the Spousal Abuse victims can obtain an Emergency Protective Order (EPO), a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order (TRO or DVRO), or a Criminal Protective Order ("no contact" order). When a restraining order has been filed, the target cannot:

  • Annoy, harass, assault, stalk or disturb the peace of the protected person(s)
  • Have direct or indirect contact with the protected person, including telephone, electronic or written contact
  • Be within 100 yards of the protected person's place of work, home or school.

Violating a restraining order is a criminal offense, which can subject the target to arrest for misdemeanor contempt of court. Conviction can result in imprisonment in county jail for up to 1 year. Although hiring a criminal defense attorney to defend against a restraining order is not required, self-representation can result in unfair and unwarranted restrictions.

Los Angeles Domestic Violence Attorneys

If you are facing Spousal Abuse / Domestic Violence charges, the criminal defense attorneys at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners can help! We have the knowledge, experience and ability to successfully negotiate plea bargains with the Los Angeles County Domestic prosecutors and are willing and able to take your case to trial seeking a "not guilty" verdict. There is a lot at stake.

Call the Los Angeles offices of Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners for a no-cost consultation with a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney.

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