Is Domestic Violence a Felony?

Posted by Phillip Crawford | Sep 09, 2022

In California, there are several different types of “domestic violence” offenses. The most common charges are Domestic Battery (PC 243(e)(1)) and Inflicting Corporal Injury on a Spouse or Cohabitant (PC 273.5). However, “domestic violence” can also include crimes like Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Kidnapping, False Imprisonment, and Criminal Threats.

Domestic Battery (PC 243(e)(1)) is only chargeable as a misdemeanor.  A domestic violence charge involving more serious injury, (including PC 273.5), can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.  Whether the district attorney files a case as a misdemeanor or felony depends largely upon the seriousness of any injuries.

“Domestic Violence” Defined

Pursuant to Penal Code Section 13700, domestic violence is defined “abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.” Abuse is defined as, “intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to himself or herself, or another.”


As indicated above, a domestic violence conviction can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. If convicted as a felony, the punishment would either be felony probation or a prison term; for some felony offenses, the prison term would be served in County Jail. A felony conviction would also trigger a lifetime firearm ban. Additionally, a felony conviction of this offense is considered a “strike”.

The maximum punishment for most misdemeanor domestic violence offenses would be one year in County Jail. Unlike other battery or assault cases, a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction would trigger a lifetime firearm ban under Federal Law.  

Pursuant to Penal Code Section 1203.097, whenever probation is granted in a domestic violence case, the Court is required to impose certain terms of probation. This typically includes: completion of a 52-week domestic violence class, a fine or donation to a domestic violence shelter, community service, and a criminal protective order. 

The Crawford Law Firm has highly experienced attorneys to defend you against both felony and misdemeanor domestic violence charges. Call us now for a free consultation!

About the Author

Phillip Crawford

Phillip Crawford is an award-winning DUI attorney. In 2018, he won the California DUI Lawyer's Association's top honor when he received the President's Award for excellence in DUI defense. His sole focus is defending DUI cases. Phillip is regarded by judges, prosecutors and fellow defense attorneys as the top DUI in the area who fights passionately for his clients.

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