Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Lawyer Orange County

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Domestic violence is a serious category of crime in the state of California. In addition to the criminal penalties that a domestic abuser faces, it can have long-reaching effects on matters of divorce, child custody, visitation, and more.

If you are a victim considering domestic violence charges but aren’t sure where to start, a family law attorney from Kaufman Steinberg, LLP can help you develop a plan to help you break free of your batterer’s hold on you. Contact us today to discuss this sensitive legal matter with an Orange County family law attorney in a safe, private environment. 

Types of Domestic Violence

While many people think of domestic violence as physical abuse that results in injuries to the victims, there are many types of domestic abuse. When referring to domestic violence in this way, not all forms are criminal in nature. However, they may impact your decision to get a divorce, end a dating relationship, file for a restraining order, or modify the circumstances under which a co-parent can see their children. 

  • Domestic Assault and Battery – Categorization of the crimes assault and battery under California’s criminal code. There are enhanced criminal penalties when a violent crime is categorized as domestic violence, including mandatory participation in a batterer’s treatment program. 
  • Sexual Abuse – Under California law, any individual has the right to refuse sexual contact, regardless of whether the parties are married or in a close relationship. If the abuser uses physical force or the threat of future harm to coerce the alleged victim into having sex, they could face criminal charges. 
  • Stalking –Under California law, stalking is defined as willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following or harassing another person. The penalties for stalking are enhanced when domestic violence restraining orders are in place. 
  • Emotional Abuse – While not all acts of emotional abuse are considered domestic violence offenses in California when it pertains to stalking or harassment, the state may charge the abuser criminally. In many emotional or mental abuse cases, the abuser manages to avoid a domestic violence charge. This does not, however, mean that this type of abuse is not relevant. It may still be grounds for a temporary restraining order.
  • Financial Abuse – Failing to provide adequate support or unreasonable control over finances can be a factor the court considers in domestic violence cases. 

Who Counts as a Victim of Domestic Violence?

The state of California defines domestic violence as physical or emotional abuse against an intimate partner. For the sake of charging someone with a domestic violence offense, an intimate partner could mean:

  • A current or ex-spouse
  • A current or former fiancé
  • A current or former registered domestic partner
  • A current or former live-in romantic partner
  • A person with whom the victim has a child. 
  • Individuals with whom the accused has a blood relation, including children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, half-siblings, etc. It also includes step relations. 

As long as the alleged victim has a relationship with the accused attacker, they can file for a restraining order at the Orange County courthouse. 

What is a Protective Order?

An emergency protective order is an injunction issued by the court that makes it a crime for the respondent of the order to contact the victim in a way that’s outlined in the document. Protective orders are also referred to as restraining orders. Under California penal code, violations of a protective order is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.

What a restraining order does is allow a victim to file charges in the absence of other crimes. For example, in the absence of a restraining order, if an abusive ex-partner were to show up at a victim’s door, it is not generally considered a crime in the absence of mitigating factors. If there is a court order in place, the very act of showing up could result in an arrest and, ultimately, jail time. 

Procedure for Obtaining a DV Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)

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In order to get a restraining order against another person, you will follow these steps:

  1. File a request for a restraining order at the Orange County courthouse. If you have a police case number or a copy of the report, bring it with you. 
  2. If there is sufficient evidence that the victim is in danger or that further domestic abuse would occur in the absence of the restraining order, the court can issue a temporary restraining order or TRO. This is good for 21 days or until a judge can review the need for the protection order. 
  3. Serve the responding party. If you know the location of the respondent, the police can serve them with a restraining order. Otherwise, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department will attempt to locate the respondent. Once they have been served, they cannot legally violate the terms of the injunction. 
  4. Attend the hearing. The court will schedule a hearing to determine whether or not the restraining order will remain in effect or not. You can provide evidence to demonstrate the need for the restraining order.

A domestic violence restraining order can give you the space and time you need to explore your legal options. A protective order can be used to remove a household member from your residence if necessary. Protective orders can also temporarily prevent the other parent from seeing your child if that child is in danger. An Orange County domestic violence attorney who handles family legal matters can review your legal options and assist you in getting a domestic violence restraining order.

Domestic Violence Statistics in Orange County

Domestic violence occurs everywhere in the United States, and Orange County is no exception. 36% of 911 calls related to domestic violence were made by children who witnessed domestic abuse or were party to it. In one year, there were 28,100 reported incidents of child abuse, which translates to over 78 per day. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, they have answered four million calls, chats, and texts in a 20-year period. They estimate that 10 million people are domestic violence victims in the U.S. 

The CDC reports that 41% of women and 26% of men have been abused in relationships. Additionally, 61 million women and 53 million men have experienced psychological aggression or some other type of traumatic condition in their relationships. 

How Can an Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer Help?

As Orange County family law attorneys, far too many of our clients are victims of domestic violence. When we learn that a client or potential client has domestic violence charges pending against their partner, we generally recommend that they seek a domestic violence injunction. Whether we are working on your divorce case, a child custody battle, a dispute over child support, etc., we can also assist you in obtaining an Orange County domestic violence restraining order that will allow you peace of mind as we resolve your family law dispute.

Frequently Asked Questions About Domestic Violence and Family Law

The following are commonly asked questions from our clients regarding domestic violence cases. For specific information about your domestic violence case, contact our Orange County, CA, law office and schedule a consultation. 

How will a domestic violence restraining order affect my case?

If you are the victim — the person that the restraining order protects — it will not adversely affect your case. On the other hand, if you’re the respondent, it’s essential that you follow all of the instructions in the injunction. If an offense occurs, it could negatively impact your ability to see your children. You will have to hire a domestic violence defense attorney to represent you in your criminal case. 

If I prove domestic violence, does my ex still get to see our children?

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If the child in question is also the defendant’s child, they may still be able to see their children. A domestic violence conviction doesn’t necessarily negate a parent’s rights. However, this may limit the defendant’s access to the child. The family court will examine the circumstances surrounding the domestic violence case, the defendant’s criminal history, etc. 

How long does a restraining order stay in effect?

Temporary restraining orders remain in effect for 21 days. If you receive a long-term restraining order, it can last up to five years. 

What is the difference between criminal and civil domestic violence lawyers?

A criminal domestic violence defense attorney represents a defendant in a criminal case. A civil domestic violence lawyer generally represents a victim who is trying to obtain a divorce or get child custody from an abusive partner. If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, even if you are falsely accused, contact a criminal domestic violence attorney.

On the other hand, if you’re an abuse victim or defending against a restraining order, Kaufman Steinberg can help. With years of combined experience, our domestic violence lawyers have helped clients throughout Orange County, and Southern California exercise their legal rights safely. Call today to discuss your legal matters with a Orange County divorce attorney today!

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