California domestic violence laws make it illegal to use physical force–or to communicate threats of harm–against an intimate partner. These are the most common DV crimes:
Penal Code 273.5 Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant — Penal Code 273.5 makes it illegal to inflict a “corporal injury” resulting in a “traumatic condition.” A person commits this crime by striking his/her intimate partner violently and causing a visible injury, even a slight one, such as swelling or a bruise. This charge can be filed as a felony or a misdemeanor. A felony carries a maximum of 3 years in prison, and a misdemeanor carries a maximum of one year in the county jail.
Penal Code 243(e)(1) Domestic Battery — Penal Code 243(e)(1) makes it a misdemeanor crime to inflict force or violence on an intimate partner…a category that includes your fiancé, cohabitant, the parent of your child, or your current or former spouse or dating partner. This charge does not require any mark or injury on the alleged victim. Any unwanted touching (such as a slap) or a push (if done in a harmful or offensive fashion) could be enough to violate this domestic violence law.
Penal Code 273d Child Abuse — Penal Code 273d makes it a crime to inflict “corporal punishment or injury” on a child if it was “cruel or inhuman” and caused an injury (even a slight injury). California child abuse laws allow a parent reasonable latitude to spank a child but draw the line where the punishment is cruel or injures the child.
Penal Code 273a Child Endangerment — Penal Code 273a makes it a crime willfully to allow a child (in your care or custody) to suffer harm or to have his/her safety or health endangered. Circumstances in which people are charged with this crime are when someone drives drunk with their child in the car, and leaves their child unattended in a dangerous situation. Often when the child is present during a physical altercation between adults, both Child Endangerment and Domestic Violence charges will be filed.
Penal Code 422 Criminal Threats — Penal Code 422 makes it a crime to communicate a threat of serious harm to someone if (1) you intend to put the person in fear and (2) you actually do put the person in sustained fear. Criminal Threats may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, the felony version is a strike. This particular charge is at times, charged along with a domestic battery charge. Some situations will start with a verbal argument and then escalate to a physical altercation, hence resulting in the filing of both charges.