Corporal Injury on a Child Lawyer | Orange County

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For over forty years, Wallin & Klarich corporal injury on a child criminal defense attorneys have gone above and beyond in assisting their clients who are charged with corporal injury on a child. We know what it takes to successfully represent and defend our clients’ rights. We have the expertise, skills, and resources to tackle the toughest cases. With offices in Orange County, Torrance, San Bernardino, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, and throughout the greater Los Angeles area, our dedicated team of corporal injury criminal defense attorneys are waiting to help you. Call us toll-free today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for a free phone consultation and get immediate advice from one of our skilled corporal injury on a child defense lawyers.

What is “Corporal Injury on a Child”? | PC 273(d)

Corporal injury on a child, which is more commonly just referred to as child abuse, occurs when physical harm is done to a child. While various California laws protect children from emotional and sexual abuse, California Penal Code Section 273d deals specifically with physical child abuse. Under this law, it is illegal to inflict any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or an injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a child. However, California’s strict child abuse reporting laws often lead to hasty assumptions, causing many people like you to be falsely charged with child abuse.

Prosecution Of Corporal Injury On A Child | What Needs to be Proven

In order for you to be convicted of corporal injury on a child under PC 273d, the prosecution will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the following:

  • You willfully inflicted cruel or inhuman physical punishment or injury;
  • That injury or punishment caused a traumatic physical condition; and
  • You were not disciplining the child in a reasonable manner.

The prosecutor must also prove that:

  • The traumatic condition was the “natural and probable consequence” of the physical punishment
  • The traumatic condition was “a direct and substantial factor” in the cause of the injury, and
  • The traumatic physical condition would not have occurred without the physical punishment/injury.1

Corporal Injury Penalties and Sentencing | What You’re Facing

In California, corporal injury on a child is a “wobbler” offense, meaning it can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor.

If you are convicted of misdemeanor corporal injury of a child under California Penal Code Section 273d you face:

  • Up to 364 days in county jail;
  • A fine of up to $6,000; or
  • Both a sentence and fine.

For a felony conviction of corporal injury on a child, you face:

  • Two, four, or six years in state prison;
  • A fine of up to $6,000; or
  • Both a sentence and fine

If you have a prior child abuse conviction within the past 10 years, a four-year enhancement can be added to your sentence. This means that you could serve up to 10 years in prison for a felony conviction. However, if you completed serving a prison sentence for child abuse over 10 years ago and you have not been sentenced to jail for any felony conviction during those 10 years, your prior convictions cannot be used against you.2

The criminal court can also issue a protective order barring you from having contact with the alleged “victim” child. In addition, if the child in question is your child a child dependency case could be opened and your parental rights could be limited or even terminated in some cases.  In addition, you may be required to register on the Child Abuse Central Index.

Possible Defenses to a Corporal Injury in California

There are several valid defenses for a child abuse charge that could be used in your case. Here are some defenses that we have successfully used in the representation of our clients who were facing corporal injury charges: change to corporal injury to child charges.

No Intent to Inflict Injury

One of the characteristics of this offense is that you “willfully” inflicted bodily harm on a child. In order to convict you of child abuse, the state must establish that you had the purpose to inflict injury on your child. For example, let’s say that you are being accused of corporal injury on a child and it is alleged you threw a shoe at a child. A valid potentially winnable defense to this charge would be that in fact you were merely taking your shoes off and tossing them aside and had no intention of striking the child with your shoe.  

Dishonest Account

During times of divorce or other high-stress situations, it is not uncommon for a child to either misperceive or lie about an occurrence. For example, during a child custody dispute, a child may state that one parent has physically abused him or her so that the judge will allow the child to live with the other parent. This type of statement could result in criminal charges being filed against a parent.  

Parental Justifiable Actions

Children, even more so than most adults, are prone to misinterpret high-stress or chaotic situations. For example, let’s say you are at the park with your child when all of a sudden you notice your child is wandering towards a busy street. Being the protective parent that you are, you quickly get up and grab your child’s arm firmly before they can enter a busy street.  An onlooker sees your aggressive action and reports you to the police. Your child ends up with a bruise on his arm. When interviewed by law enforcement the child may not understand why you needed to do what you did. Criminal charges may be brought against you. Given the immediacy of the action needed, however, the force in which you grabbed your child was entirely justified, but the unaware nature of the child/onlookers made it seem as though it wasn’t. Our office will present the truthful scenario to the prosecutor in an attempt to have criminal child abuse charges dropped

24/7 Communication With Your Attorney | The Wallin & Klarich Way

Not only do you get the benefit of our 40 years of expertise in successfully defending corporal injury charges, but you also get our promise that you will be kept fully informed about the status of your case throughout each stage. We aim to make sure that our clients are active participants in the defense of their corporal injury case.

History of Success | Wallin & Klarich Track Record of Winning Cases

We have a solid track record in Orange County and the rest of Southern California as strong defenders of our client’s rights. Judges and prosecutors throughout the region recognize that we defend our clients vigorously, and we will use everything in our power  in defending them. We’ve built up this reputation over 40 years by taking on and winning tough cases. Click below to hear from some of our happy clients, whose lives we’ve helped turn around. 

The Bottom Line

Being charged with corporal injury to a child can cause huge concern and worry, and it could negatively affect your life in many ways, including loss of your freedom, your employment, and reputation.  However, you don’t have to go through it on your own. Our help is only a phone call away.

Contact us online or call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for a free phone consultation. With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, West Covina, Torrance, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Diego, and throughout Southern California, we have an office near where you live or work. Many of our initial consultations are done virtually. During your initial consultation, we will ask about the facts of your case. We will discuss every aspect of your case and go over the potential defenses that may be available for you. When it matters most, you can rely on Wallin & Klarich to defend your rights.


1. http://www.courts.ca.gov/partners/documents/calcrim_juryins.pdf

2. http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml

Frequently Asked Questions

There is not necessarily a difference. Corporal injury on a child, under PC 273(d) is often referred to as "child abuse". There is, however, a difference between willful cruelty towards a child PC 273a(a) and corporal injury on a child PC 273(d); the difference is that in order to be charged with PC 273(d), there must be physical damage done to the child, whereas PC 273a(a) can be charged if there is no physical damage done. Typically PC 273(d) is the stronger charge, often carrying harsher sentencing and penalties.

No. Once criminal charges have been filed by the prosecutor, only the prosecutor can dismiss the charges. This goes for PC 273(d) corporal injury on a child as well.

Yes, you can still be charged even if it was an accident. That being said, one of the requirements for PC 273(d) is that you "willfully" inflicted bodily harm on the child. The state will have to prove that you acted willfully. If you and your defense team can successfully prove that it was an accident, then you could get the charges dropped.

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