Defending Corporal Injury to Spouse PC 273.5(a)

There are three common defense strategies used by criminal defense attorneys to ether reduce domestic abuse charges or have the case dropped altogether.

Self Defense

The first approach is the self-defense strategy. Often times domestic abuse and corporal injury to spouse cases are extremely emotional and result in people acting in ways they typically wouldn’t.

If, for instance, there’s a mutual confrontation between a husband and his wife, the argument escalates when the wife starts swinging her fists violently towards her husband, and all the husband can do is push his wife away to protect himself then this is an act of self-defense and not domestic abuse.


The second defense strategy used by criminal defense attorneys is to prove that the incident was an accident. If the incident was not deliberate but was a real accident then the defendant should not be convicted of domestic abuse.

For instance, during a verbal altercation a husband walks upstairs to avoid his wife, when he gets to the bedroom he slams the door shut but is unaware is wife is directly behind him and slams the door on her. This is an accident and the physical violence was not deliberate therefore, it cannot be tried as a domestic abuse or corporal injury to spouse case.

False Accusation

The final approach used by criminal defense attorneys is to prove that one party is falsely accusing the other of domestic abuse. This is most commonly seen with cases involving a jealous party.

For instance, if a wife recently found out that her husband is having an affair, the two start arguing and the woman begins hitting herself and screaming that she’s being beat, when in actuality she is performing the actions to herself. The husband, who never laid a hand on her, cannot be charged with domestic abuse because he did not deliberately inflict any Corporal Injury to Spouse.

Actual Case Study for Corporal Injury to Spouse 

Many domestic violence and Corporal Injury to Spouse cases concern two people who genuinely love and care about each other who have a fight which gets out of hand. Often in the heat of passion, the police will be called and one of the disputants will be arrested. The arrested person will often be arrested even if the other person does not want them arrested. Similarly, often a person who wants their significant other arrested in the heat of the moment will experience regret the next day and want to be reunited with their loved one. In situations, like this Civil Code Section 1219(b), can be an effective tool for the couple.

Civil Code Section 1219(b) makes it unlawful to imprison someone for refusing to testify in a domestic violence trial. In one case in particular, this led to a dismissal of the husband’s case. The husband and wife got into a heated argument which led to the wife calling the police and the husband’s arrest. This couple were part of a lovely family with children and they genuinely cared about each other but simply had a bad night like happens from time to time in a long-term marriage. They were both professionals too and were very embarrassed when the prosecutor decided to file charges against the husband, despite the wife’s pleas not to. I referred the wife to an attorney, who invoked Section 1219(b). When the case came up for trial, the wife showed up with her attorney and refused to testify under the protections of Civil Code 1219(b) (Normally, a person who is subpoenaed to testify at trial must testify at trial or they will be jailed by the Judge, but under this section, a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault cannot be jailed for refusing to testify). Because the wife would not testify, the prosecutor was forced to dismiss the husband’s case, and the family were reunited and happy once again.

The prosecutor had no qualms about prosecuting a case against a loving family that no one wanted, but the Esfandi Law Group was successful in securing the husband’s dismissal! And to add a cherry on top, the husband hired Esfandi Law Group to even seal his arrest record under PC 851.91 (also known as the CARE act), and that was granted as well on Christmas Eve! Needless to say, that year, the family had a very Merry Christmas indeed!