6 Common Types of Domestic Violence Crimes

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California law is quite severe with domestic violence crimes. Whether you are guilty or falsely accused, if you are charged with a domestic violence offense, you should be completely aware of each charge and possible penalties, and what you can do to be prepared.

Here is a look at common domestic violence crimes, as defined by the California Penal Code.

Corporal Injury on a Spouse or Cohabitant

Penal Code 273.5 PC, this crime involves willfully harming a spouse or intimate partner (including a former spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend or the parent of your child) that results in a visible injury.

‘Corporal injury’ can be as severe as breaking bones or as mild as causing bruising. Corporal injury can be considered a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the severity and circumstances. A conviction can include fines up to $6,000 and/or prison time of up to 4 years, depending on prior history, facts of the case and whether the charge is brought as a misdemeanor or felony.

Domestic Battery

Under Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC, domestic battery is a misdemeanor in which a person unlawfully touches or strikes an intimate partner in a violent or offensive manner.

It is important to know that a person may be charged with domestic battery, even without any physical evidence of injury.

A conviction of domestic battery may mean a fine of up to $2,000 and up to a year in county jail.

Child Abuse

Child abuse, described in Penal Code 273d PC, refers to physical violence directed at a minor that results in a physical injury. This includes spanking that results in physical marking.

Child abuse may be charged either as a misdemeanor or felony, with penalties ranging from 1-6 years or more in jail.

Child Endangerment and/or Neglect

These are both domestic violence crimes that can occur without actually striking a child.

While child endangerment refers to allowing a child in your care to suffer injury or put into a dangerous situation, child neglect refers to failing to provide proper care for a child for whom you bear responsibility.

Criminal Threats

Under Penal Code 422 PC, this is a criminal threat that consists of a tangible threat to harm or kill someone else, communicated such that causes the other person to fear for her safety or that of her loved ones.

Criminal threat may be either a misdemeanor or a felony, with a conviction resulting in 1-5 years in prison.

If you have been accused of a domestic violence offense, it is important to seek the help of a criminal defense lawyer for appropriate representation and advice.

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

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