In California it is illegal to physically harm or threaten an intimate partner or a family member. Domestic violence, also known as domestic battery, is an act consisting of either threatening or abusive behavior, or an assault against a spouse, a partner, a sibling, a person with whom one is living, a former spouse, or another person with whom one has a close relationship. The assault may be physical, sexual, verbal, an act of stalking, or another form of harassment.
In Orange County, a person may face domestic battery charges for a wide range of seemingly non-violent activities. For example, a woman who pushes or shoves her boyfriend during an argument can face jail time. Even hair pulling, the scratching of skin, and other minor acts of violence can trigger a domestic battery charge, carrying serious legal implications.
Police and prosecutors act aggressively on allegations of domestic abuse. A call to police for domestic violence may result in an immediate arrest, a restraining order, and the filing of felony or misdemeanor charges against the accused.
Domestic violence is a serious crime with consequences that extend far beyond the courtroom. A conviction can impact one’s employment, reputation, future career prospects, professional licensing, and other civic benefits.
Common categories of domestic violence crimes include:
- Bodily Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant: Penal Code 273.5 PC
- Domestic Battery: Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC
- Child Abuse: Penal Code 273(d) PC
- Child Endangerment: Penal Code 273a PC
- Elder Abuse: Penal Code 368 PC
- Criminal Threats: Penal Code 422 PC
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Orange County
Prosecutors may choose to file a domestic violence charge as either a misdemeanor or a felony. When filing charges, the prosecutor will consider the surrounding circumstances in deciding whether to file a felony charge, including:
- The degree of injury to the victim
- Whether a restraining order was in place at the time of the incident
- Whether the victim was a child or other dependent person
- Whether the incident involved a violation of probation
- Whether a weapon was involved
- Whether the accused has a criminal history of abuse or other felonies
A felony domestic violence conviction, when serious injury is inflicted, may even result in a “strike” on your criminal record under California’s “three strikes” law.
A misdemeanor domestic violence conviction may result in a jail sentence, a 52-week Batterer’s Treatment Program and a restraining order, even for first-time offenders. Maximum penalties may include up to one year in jail, community service, and a fine of up to $6,000.
A felony domestic violence conviction can result in up to four-year sentence in state prison, in addition to the penalties required for a misdemeanor conviction. A felony conviction may also result in the loss of one’s right to own a firearm and the potential loss of a professional license.
How We Can Help You with a Domestic Violence Charge
If you have been arrested on a charge of domestic violence, it is important to immediately hire an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of David A. Stein, we immediately start working on our clients’ cases to try to convince the prosecutor to decline to file criminal charges.
If you have been charged in a domestic violence case, the Law Offices of David Stein will work to have your case dismissed or charges reduced. In appropriate cases, we will negotiate to have a sentence suspended based on participation in a treatment program or other appropriate counseling program approved by the court.
David Stein has the expertise to defend even the most challenging cases. He is deeply familiar with the court system and the district attorneys in Orange County.
We will immediately begin investigating your case, examining all available evidence and conducting thorough interviews with the alleged victim and every possible witness. In many cases, inconsistencies can be found in an alleged victim’s testimony, weakening the prosecution’s case.
If charges are filed against you, we will aggressively prepare for trial and formulate an effective defense strategy. We will explore every possible option in your case and work diligently to protect your reputation and future. Moreover, we will guide you through the proceedings while thoroughly communicating with you about every decision during the process.
The consequences of a conviction can be devastating for you and your family. Contact the Law Offices of David A. Stein at (949) 445-0040 today to discuss your options.