Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic violence charges are very serious and are often the product of divorce or other relationship problems. Embellished or fabricated calls to the police occur out of anger, and when investigating the alleged disturbance, police must make a mandated arrest.
Domestic Violence charges in Orange County are extremely embarrassing, frustrating, and they may carry exposing personal issues in the process. Early intervention by an experienced and professional Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer can make the difference between a jail sentence or having the case rejected altogether.
Incredibly, arrests and charges for domestic violence neither require any corroborating evidence – e.g., visible injury, independent witness, etc. Moreover, the prosecutor may elect to file charges entirely based on the uncorroborated statements of your accuser. And unfortunately, purported victims often manipulate the system to seek revenge from their partner. And a conviction not only results in serious legal consequences but carries the social stigma of being forever labeled as a domestic abuser.
A common misconception is that your accuser must have a desire to “press charges” for you to be prosecuted. Instead, the prosecutor holds the absolute discretion to pursue or drop charges. In other words, the district attorney can elect to continue prosecuting you despite the alleged victim’s desire to “drop” the charges.
Overview of Domestic Violence Charges in California
Domestic violence encompasses several different forms of abuse. For instance, pushing, striking, verbally threatening, or harassing another are all forms of domestic abuse. The term “domestic” refers to some close or familial relationship you have with your accuser. Ordinarily, your accuser is a spouse, girlfriend, child, roommate, or family member.
Early retention of a criminal defense attorney after your arrest is imperative. There are methods of preventing charges from being filed by contacting the prosecutor early. If successful, the case will be rejected and consequently never reach a courtroom.
Common Domestic Violence Charges
Criminal Threat – PC 422(a)
Penal Code 422(a) defines the charge of making a criminal threat as conveying a threat to cause great bodily harm or death to another or another person’s direct family. Whether you were intending to carry out the threat is not relevant to the statute. Furthermore, a threat can be carried out electronically, orally, or through a third party. Consequently, a felony conviction carries up to three years in state prison whereas a misdemeanor carries up to one year in the county jail.
Domestic Battery with Corporal Injury – PC 273.5(a)
Penal Code 273.5 codifies inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant. The statute makes it unlawful to willfully touch another placing them in a traumatic condition. A traumatic condition includes any injury such as bruising, scratch marks, choking, or broken bones.
If convicted as a misdemeanor, a person faces up to one year in the county jail. However, a felony conviction carries up to four years in state prison. A conviction also mandates 52 weeks of anger management or domestic violence counseling.
Furthermore, a defendant may be ordered to pay restitution in the event the purported victim suffers any economic loss over the incident.
Domestic Battery – PC 243(e)(1)
Penal Code 243(e)(1) defines the charge of inflicting domestic battery against another. Like inflicting corporal injury, however, there is no requirement of any injury or any result of a traumatic condition.
The crime prohibits acts of unlawful touching against another without their consent. For instance, a simple push or shove without the presence of a visible mark can result in domestic battery charges.
Domestic battery is punishable up to one year in the county jail.
Stalking – PC 646.9
Penal Code 646.9 statutorily charges the crime of stalking making it unlawful to repeatedly follow or maliciously harass another. Additionally, the statute requires that you make some form of credible threat harboring the intent to place your accuser in fear.
Stalking has very complex sentencing guidelines that differ depending on your prior criminal record or whether there was a restraining order in place. Stalking can carry severe legal consequences including having to register as a sex offender for life.
Domestic Violence Punishment
The punishment for domestic violence carries enormous ramifications. Domestic violence is generally punishable with the following direct and collateral consequences:
- A term of probation if granted
- large court fines
- Yearlong rehabilitation classes
- adverse effects to those holding a professional license
- permanent restriction from owning or possessing a firearm
- An order prohibiting contact with the alleged victim for years
- Adverse immigration consequences for non-U.S. citizens
Many domestic violence charges are labeled as wobbler offenses, where the prosecutor may elect to file misdemeanor or felony charges. Forms of aggravated violence, prior criminal convictions, charges against a minor, or any sexual assault allegation may amplify the charge into a serious felony applied to California’s Three Strike laws.
Hiring an Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you’re at the center of a domestic violence situation, an experienced Orange County domestic violence lawyer can make matters right. Contact us to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
Our office has extensive experience representing clients who have been charged with assault, battery, and other domestic violence-related crimes in Orange County Superior Court. His office has an unmatched understanding of California’s domestic violence laws and will explore every pertinent fact when mounting your defense.