Domestic Violence: The Difference Between Spousal Battery And Corporal Injury

Woman covering her face in fear of domestic violence

When you have been accused of or charged with domestic violence, it is critical that you understand the charges so you can combat them effectively. There are several different types of domestic abuse, ranging from relatively low severity to extremely violent. In some cases, a person may be charged with domestic abuse without ever physically hurting someone—sometimes cases of harassment, alienation, or forbidding a domestic partner, spouse, or family member to live an independent life can be cause for charges of domestic abuse as well. The most common type of domestic violence charge—at least in the common understanding of the crime—is criminal spousal abuse. In fact, however, there are two main types of criminal spousal abuse. One is corporal injury to a spouse, and the other is spousal battery.

Spousal Battery

Spousal battery is the lesser charge of the two and usually results in a misdemeanor case. Note that this may also be considered domestic battery; the simple difference is the marital status of the couple involved. While this is frequently a misdemeanor charge, it can result in jail time, the length of which depends on the severity of the injuries sustained by the battered spouse or domestic partner. A misdemeanor battery charge usually results in a 30-day jail sentence, though this is merely standard by practice, not in law. If you have never faced such a charge before, your sentence will likely be less. In some instances, you may even only be sentenced to serve probation.

Corporal Injury

Corporal Injury to a spouse is most commonly considered a felony. Corporal Injury to a spouse is any activity that results in a traumatic condition for the victim. Like other domestic abuse charges, the crime does not need to be committed against a person to whom one is legally married—this charge may be applied in any instance of corporal injury to a former spouse, roommate, former roommate, or any family member. If you are found guilty of a corporal injury domestic abuse charge, you will face jail time in state prison for up to four years, or in a county jail for up to a year, in addition to a possible $6,000 fine.

If you or someone you know has been accused of domestic abuse, no matter the charge, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced San Jose criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich today.


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