Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Lawyer Orange County

Domestic Violence

In the state of California, domestic violence is considered a serious crime, but it can be difficult to prove in a criminal court. Domestic violence is more than just physical abuse. It can also include verbal abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, harassment, property destruction, psychological abuse, intimidation, and threats. 

California Domestic Violence Laws

Under California domestic violence laws, it is a crime to harm or threaten to harm an intimate partner. The most common charges include Penal Code 243(e)(1) “domestic battery” and Penal Code 273.5, “inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner.’ In fact, any manipulative, controlling, or threatening actions that reach the level of emotional abuse are considered domestic violence according to the law.

Unlike the assault laws in other states, in California, a police officer does not have to witness domestic violence to make an immediate arrest. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 20 people per minute are physically abused by their partners in the United States. There were more than 10 million victims in 2020. 

Dealing with domestic violence charges may be stressful and time-consuming, so you should consider getting legal help from a domestic violence lawyer who will stand by your side at every step.

Who Counts as a Victim of Domestic Violence? 

California domestic violence laws define domestic violence as abuse against an intimate partner. The intimate partner can be defined as: 

  • A current or former spouse 
  • A current or former fiance 
  • A current or former registered domestic partner
  • A current or former live-in romantic partner
  • A person with whom the accused has a child 

Victims can also be the defendant’s child, siblings, grandparents, step-brothers, step-sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, aunts, uncles, nephews, or nieces.

The Most Common Domestic Violence Crimes and Penalties in Orange County, California

In California, crimes include battery, neglect, abuse, or threats. Some are misdemeanors, while others are felonies. However, most crimes are ‘wobbler’ offenses and can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the defendant’s criminal record, circumstances of the offense, or the seriousness of the victim’s injuries. 

The following domestic violence crimes are some of the most common in the state of California:

  1. Corporal Injury to a spouse or inhabitant – as stated in Penal Code 273.5, the penalties range from one year in county jail to four years in California state prison.
  2. Domestic battery – under Penal Code 243(e)(1), domestic battery is a misdemeanor, and penalties include fines of $2,000 or up to one year in county jail.
  3. Child Abuse – under Penal Code 273d, the penalties can start from one year in county jail to three years in state prison.
  4. Elder Abuse – according to Penal Code 368 PC, a misdemeanor elder abuse can be punished by one year in jail, but if the elder abuse is charged as a felony, the penalty can be four years in state prison.
  5. Criminal Threats – under Penal Code 422 PC, criminal threats may be charged either as a felony or a misdemeanor. The penalties start with one year in jail to four years in prison. 
  6. Stalking – as stated in Penal Code 646.9, stalking can be punished by up to one year in jail or three years in prison. 
  7. Revenge porn – considered a type of cyber-harassment, revenge porn may be punished by a fine of $1,000 and up to one year in county jail. 
  8. Aggravated trespass – either a misdemeanor or a felony, under Penal Code 601 PC, aggravated trespass can be punished by up to three years in jail.

Orange County domestic violence convictions may also include penalties such as mandatory minimum jail time, payment of victim restitution and domestic violence fund, permanent criminal record, loss of custody rights, loss of gun rights, or participation in a batterers’ program.

Obtaining Restraining Orders

Restraining orders can be obtained in a wide variety of scenarios, but they are commonly used in allegations of domestic violence. In California, victims are allowed to apply for an emergency restraining order. This can be obtained in either civil or criminal court. The victim does not need to have suffered physical harm to obtain a protective order in Orange County, California.

If someone wants to file a petition for a restraining order, they need to prove that:

  • Someone has abused or threatened to abuse them or their minor child
  • The alleged abuser is an intimate partner or a first or second-degree relative

If the abuser violates the restraining order, they can be charged with a misdemeanor as long as the victim wasn’t hurt.

How Can a Domestic Violence Lawyer Orange County Help?

If you have been charged with domestic violence, you should consider that it may have a significant impact on your life. You could lose the right to bear arms, lose custody of your child, or lose the right to obtain employment or a professional license. 

Start building your defense case as quickly as possible. When you hire a family lawyer from Kaufman Steinberg, LLP, we will get involved in your case to persuade the prosecutor not to file charges. We will also negotiate a plea bargain allowing our clients to avoid the worst consequences of a domestic abuse conviction. With significant expertise in family law at Kaufman Steinberg LLP, we will serve your needs. Contact us at 949-757-9000 and start your defense case right away!

FAQs on Domestic Violence

Can the police make an arrest if the victim doesn’t press charges?

When the police arrive at the scene, they will ask the victim what happened and if they want to press charges. No matter if the victim presses charges or not, the police can arrest the alleged abuser if they think a crime has been committed. The police only need probable cause to believe a crime was committed to make an arrest. 

What Are Some Statistics on Domestic Violence in Orange County?

In Orange County, 36% of domestic violence emergency 9-1-1 calls are made by children. In 2000 in Orange County, 28,100 incidents of child abuse were reported – that’s 2,340 per month and 78 per day. On a national level, over the last 20 years in the United States, The National Domestic Violence Hotline has answered more than 4 million calls, chats, and texts. Every year, more than 10 million men and women in the U.S. are subjected to domestic violence. 

How Many Cases of Domestic Violence Were in California?

In 2018, a total of 166,890 domestic violence-related calls were made to law enforcement in California—a rate of 6.3 calls per 1,000 adults ages 18-69.

What Happens to First-time Domestic Violence Offenders in California?

A first offense is generally charged as a misdemeanor so long as there are no aggravating circumstances. In this situation, the suspect could face up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or a combination of both jail time and a fine.

Can I Own a Gun If I’m Convicted of a Domestic Violence Offense in Orange County?

California and federal laws both prohibit people with domestic violence convictions from possessing guns. The courts have repeatedly ruled that such restrictions do not violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Judges at the hearing will usually issue a domestic violence restraining order. A condition of the order is that the person may not own, possess, or use a firearm. 

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