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SPOUSAL BATTERY – PC § 243(e)(1)

Unlike corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant, the crime of spousal battery does not require that the victim be physically injured.  It is enough that there was some physical contact that was forceful and/or unwanted. The victim need not feel any actual discomfort or harm.

For example, if the defendant hits a victim leaving no physical trace of the act, the defendant may still be charged with spousal battery. Therefore, the major difference between corporal injury on a spouse and spousal battery is that a charge of corporal injury requires that the victim sustain an actual and concrete injury. It is important to note that spousal battery is treated as a less serious offense, and charged as a misdemeanor — not a felony.  The punishment for this crime would be served by a maximum of one year in county jail.