Spousal & Child Abuse Charges

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Domestic violence occurs in millions of homes throughout the state of California. It is an insidious crime that often goes unreported and without a couple’s closest friends knowing. The victims often feel helpless and unsure of whether abuse is actually occurring, as the psychology of abuse can be quite damaging. As such, the state of California takes spousal and child abuse quite seriously. These two violent acts are types of domestic violence, and are considered more serious than other kinds of abuse in the state of California and should be handled with the legal experience of a Sacramento criminal lawyer.

What is Spousal Abuse?

Though the phrase “spousal abuse” indicates that the perpetrator and victim must be married, California has a broader definition and includes the following relationships:

  • Current or past cohabitors
  • Current or former fiancées
  • Current or former dating partners
  • Parents to the same child

Additionally, a broader range of behaviors are considered spousal abuse than in other states. Spousal abuse include non-physical actions, such as:

  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • The destruction of property
  • Verbal abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Elder abuse, if one or both of the individuals involved is elderly

Spousal Abuse Charges

There are two charges that are the most common in relation to spousal abuse in California:

  • Corporal Injury – This crime is defined by the perpetrator willfully committing physical violence against the victim. The victim of corporal injury has sustained a “traumatic condition,” meaning a physical manifestation of the abuse. This may be as superficial as bruising and lacerations or as severe as concussions and broken bones.
  • Battery – This crime involves any unwanted contact. The victim does not have to have sustained an actual injury in order for this crime to have been committed. All that is required is that there was some sort of unwanted or forceful physical contact.

Punishments for Spousal Abuse

Corporal injury is considered a “wobbler” in the state of California and is best assisted with a Sacramento criminal lawyer. This means it can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the people involved. It may result in as much as 4 years in state prison and up to $6,000 in fines.

If an individual is charged with corporate battery within 7 years of a prior related offense, they may face up to $10,000 in fines as well as five years in state prison. If the individual is on probation at the time of the offense, there may be mandatory jail time.

Spousal Battery

Spousal battery is considered a misdemeanor and may result in up to 1 year in county jail and up to $2,000 in fines.

The specific consequences for spousal abuse vary depending on the circumstance of the case such as:

  • The severity of the abuse
  • The severity of the physical trauma
  • Previous spousal abuse convictions
  • Previous convictions that may relate to this crime, such as rape

Restraining Orders

While spousal abuse charges may include violations of restraining orders, they may also be punished with new restraining orders. These are meant to protect the victims of spousal abuse from further injury and are enforceable in any state. Restraining orders can require ceasing all contact, keeping a specific physical distance, or even forfeiting all weapons under the possession of the perpetrator.

California Child Abuse

Child abuse is defined by the state of California as any type of cruelty inflicted upon a child. Besides physical abuse, this may include the following:

  • Mental abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Exploitation
  • Neglect
  • Unjustifiable punishment

If you suspect a child is being abused in any way mentioned above, contact a Sacramento criminal lawyer immediately.

Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse

Several individuals are required by law to report any suspected child abuse due to their status and relationship with the child. Suspected abuse may be reported to a child protective agency, including the police department, sheriff’s department, county probation department, or county welfare department. The individuals that are obligated to speak up include:

  • Healthcare providers
  • Visitation monitors
  • Firefighters
  • Animal control officers
  • Social workers
  • School employees
  • Humane society officers
  • District attorneys
  • Film processor
  • Police department employees
  • Day care workers
  • Clergy
  • Administrators or employees of any of the following: public youth organizations, private youth organizations and day camps

The failure to report suspected child abuse may result in up to 6 months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines so make sure to speak to a Sacramento criminal lawyer immediately.

Seek Legal Help if You Are Being Charged with a Crime

If you have been accused of spousal or child abuse, be sure to contact an experienced and knowledgeable Sacramento criminal lawyer who can help you navigate the complicated laws and provide you with a reasonable defense. The consequences of these crimes can be very severe and are worth fighting.

Contact criminal attorney in Sacramento

When you have been charged with a crime, choose a criminal attorney in Sacramento with the experience and dedication to make a difference. The Law Office of Wing & Parisi is dedicated to provide exceptional customer service and excellent legal representation for those charged with any type of crime.

Whether it’s your first charge or your second, you need a dedicated and skilled attorney by your side. Contact us online or call at (916) 441-4888 for a free and confidential case consultation, available in Spanish. We appear in state and federal courts in the Sacramento and Davis communities as well as throughout Placer and San Joaquin counties.


If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, contact Sacramento criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Wing & Parisi for free consultation.