While most are familiar with the term “domestic violence,” it is also important to understand the specific legal definition of spousal abuse. In California, this is legally treated as its own separate entity that is related to domestic violence, but is, in many cases, treated more seriously than other kinds of abuse. According to FindLaw, domestic violence is defined as abuse committed by a spouse against the other spouse.

There are other persons that may be covered by the spousal abuse law other than the legal spouse. These people include those who live with the victim, fiancees, or persons in a dating relationship.

There are two very common charges that are filed under “spousal abuse.” The first is “Corporal Injury on a Spouse,” and this can either be filed as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the extent of the abuse. This is a very serious crime, and in order to be convicted of it the prosecution must prove that not only did the aggressor attempt to cause serious harm, but that the actions of the aggressor caused a traumatic condition in the victim. That is, the victim must have sustained an actual physical injury for Corporal Injury on a Spouse for the prosecution to pursue this charge.

Spousal Battery is the other commonly-charged facet of spousal abuse. It differs from Corporal Injury on a Spouse in that it is not necessary for the prosecution to prove physical injury. All that is required for Spousal Battery is that unwanted or forceful physical contact existed between spouses.

Other spousal abuse crimes may relate to restraining orders and violations thereof. Spousal abuse is a serious crime in the state of California, and it is prosecuted vigorously.