Corporal injury (Penal Code section 273.5) is a "wobbler" meaning it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor by the prosecutor. The extent of the injury and his record will be considered in that decision. False imprisonment is a misdemeanor unless it was done by force and violence, in which case it can be a felony.
What can you do to help? Help him get a lawyer if at all possible before his first court appearance. The judge will likely try to impose a restraining order at the arraignment. It can not only keep him away from his wife, but possibly kick him out of his own house.
Discuss all this with a good criminal defense attorney.
Penal Code 273.5, corporal injury to a spouse or other specified people, is a "wobbler," which means it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. The maximum prison term is four years (five if the person has a prior felony 273.5 conviction) for a felony, and a misdemeanor conviction carries up to a year in jail.
False imprisonment by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit is a felony, with a maximum prison term of three years. Without those factors, it is a misdemeanor with a maximum of a year in jail.
Due to the way California felony sentencing works, the maximum sentence for both of these charges would be four years, eight months -- with an additional year if he has a prior felony 273.5 conviction.
Depending on the circumstances and his prior record, he could also get probation with up to a year in jail. He would also be required to complete a 52 week domestic violence program.
The best thing you can do for your brother is to help him hire a lawyer. If you can't afford to hire a lawyer, the judge will appoint the public defender to represent him.
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