January 8, 2024 In Criminal Law

Understanding California Penal Code 273.5 – Felony

In California, Penal Code 273.5 is a crucial statute that deals with domestic violence, specifically injuries inflicted on a spouse, cohabitant, or fellow parent. This law plays a vital role in protecting individuals from domestic abuse and ensures that offenders face legal consequences. As a leading law firm in Los Angeles, The Mines Law Firm is committed to providing insights into how this law works and what it entails.

Key Aspects of Penal Code 273.5


1. What Constitutes a Violation?

Penal Code 273.5 is violated when an individual inflicts bodily injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, or the parent of their child. The term “traumatic condition” refers to any wound or physical injury, whether minor or serious, caused by the direct application of physical force.

2. Cohabitant Definitions

A cohabitant is broadly defined under this law. It includes those living together in a substantial relationship – more than just roommates. It encompasses former and current spouses or dating partners, highlighting the law’s comprehensive scope in addressing domestic violence.

3. Severity of the Offense

This law categorizes the offense as a “wobbler,” which means it can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony, based on the severity of the injury and the defendant’s criminal history. This flexibility allows the law to adequately respond to the seriousness of each individual case.

Examples of Penal Code 273.5 Cases

    • Case of Minor Injuries: In a situation where a couple gets into an argument and one partner pushes the other, causing a minor bruise, this could be considered a violation of PC 273.5. Depending on the circumstances, such as prior history or the injury’s severity, this could be charged as a misdemeanor.
    • Severe Injury Cases: More severe cases, such as one partner striking another and causing a significant injury like a broken bone or severe bruising, would likely lead to felony charges under PC 273.5. Prior instances of domestic violence would also play a role in determining the charge’s severity.

Legal Defenses Under PC 273.5

Legal defenses to charges under PC 273.5 can include self-defense, false accusations, and accidental injuries. For instance, if the injury was caused during a mutual physical altercation where both parties were equally involved, a self-defense claim could be considered.

Penalties and Sentencing

The penalties for violating PC 273.5 vary. Misdemeanor convictions might result in up to a year in jail, while felony convictions could lead to several years in state prison. Sentences also often include mandatory domestic violence classes, restraining orders, and other penalties tailored to protect victims and prevent future abuse.


At The Mines Law Firm, we understand the complexities surrounding domestic violence cases under California Penal Code 273.5. Our experienced legal team is here to provide guidance and representation for those facing charges or dealing with domestic violence situations. We are committed to ensuring that justice is served while respecting the rights of all involved parties.

For representation or to discuss your case, reach out to The Mines Law Firm at 888-700-0093. Our lines are open for calls or texts 24/7.



Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Contact The Mines Law Firm to hire us for legal representation in your matter.