Spousal Abuse

Penal Code sections 243(e)(1), 273.5

Spousal Abuse punishes battery and other violent acts perpetrated against an individual with whom the defendant shares an intimate relationship. That intimate relationship includes:

  • Spouse or former spouse
  • Cohabitant or former cohabitant
  • Fiancé or former fiancé
  • Any person with whom the defendant has or used to have a dating relationship
  • Father or mother of the defendant’s child

Spousal Battery that does not result in physical injury is punishable as a misdemeanor with a maximum of one year in County Jail.

Spousal Battery that results in a physical injury is punishable as a “wobbler” felony by one year in County Jail or two, three, or four years in state prison.

Stalking

Penal Code section 646.9

Stalking is the willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassing of another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, of his or her immediate family. Harassing, as it relates to Stalking, is a series of acts that that seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes a person. It is judged from the perspective of how a reasonable person and would that reasonable person suffer substantial emotional distress. Lastly, the harassment must actually cause substantial emotional distress.

Stalking is punished based on other circumstances surrounding the harassment. The penalties are as follows:

  • Stalking is punishable as a “wobbler” felony by one year in County Jail or 16 months, two or three years in state prison.
  • Stalking in Violation of a Court Protective Order is punishable by two, three, or four years in state prison.
  • Stalking with a prior Domestic Violence Conviction is punishable by two, three, or five years in state prison.

Child Abuse

Penal Code sections 273ab, 273d

Child Abuse is any non-accidental physical injury to the child that can include striking, kicking, burning, or biting the child, or any action that results in a physical impairment of the child.

Child Abuse that results in a “traumatic condition” is punishable as a “wobbler” felony by two, four, or six years in County Prison.

Child Abuse that results in death of the child is punishable by 25-years-to-Life in state prison.

Child Endangerment

Penal Code section 271, 273a

Child Endangerment is the failure of a parent or other person with responsibility for the child to provide needed food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision to the degree that the child’s health, safety, and well-being are threatened with harm.

Abandoning a child under 14 years old is punishable as a “wobbler” felony by 16 months, two or three years in County Prison.

Subjecting a child to circumstances that could lead to death or great bodily injury or subjects a child to situation where their health could be in danger is punishable as a “wobbler” felony by two, four, or six years in state prison.

Sentencing Implications

If a person is convicted of a Family Violence offense and is granted probation, the court may sentence the defendant to a minimum of 48 months of probation. The victim may also be subject to a Protective Order that would limit the interaction of the defendant with the victim during the term of the Protective Order.

Any person convicted of a Domestic Violence offense must complete a 52-week Domestic Violence Treatment program that meets the criteria as set forth in Penal Code section 1203.097. The defendant must also pay a $500 fee to the Domestic Violence program as a term of probation.

Any person convicted of Child Abuse or Child Endangerment must complete a 52-week Child Abuser’s Treatment program that meets the criteria as set forth in Penal Code section 273.1. Enrollment in that program is required within 30 days of being placed on probation.

Any person convicted of a misdemeanor Domestic Violence offense is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm for 10 years. Any person restricted under a Protective Order cannot own or possess a firearm during the term of the Protective Order.