Irvine Domestic Violence Lawyer

Irvine Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence is a widespread problem that affects many people in Irvine. In 2021, there were 472 domestic violence-related calls for assistance in Irvine, according to the State of California Department of Justice. State officials believe that this number doesn’t even reflect the true extent of the issue, as many victims don’t report their abuse due to fear, shame, or lack of resources.

But there is hope. You have legal options to protect yourself and your family from abuse. Despite what your situation is right now, you have the right to live in a safe and healthy environment, free from fear and manipulation. You also have the right to seek justice and compensation for the harm you have suffered.

At Kaufman Steinberg LLP, we have decades of experience as family law lawyers in Irvine helping victims of domestic violence across Orange County exercise their rights and secure their futures. We know how difficult it is to break free from an abusive relationship and start a new life. We are here to listen to your story and guide you through the legal process. We will fight for your rights in family court or at the negotiating table. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, reach out to us online or call us at 949-757-9000.

Man Holding His Fist

What Constitutes Domestic Violence or Abuse in Irvine, CA?

Domestic violence or domestic abuse is any act of violence or threat of violence that occurs between people who have or had an intimate relationship. This form of abuse involves a pattern of harmful actions used by one person to gain power and control over another person. It can occur between current or former spouses, partners, dating couples, family members, or people who share a household or have a close personal connection.

Under California law, several forms of domestic violence are recognized, including:

  • Physical abuse: Hitting, kicking, punching, slapping, choking, burning, stabbing, shooting, or using any other force or weapon to cause injury or pain.
  • Sexual abuse: Forcing, coercing, or manipulating someone to engage in unwanted sexual activity or contact.
  • Emotional abuse: Insulting, humiliating, criticizing, blaming, isolating, controlling, manipulating, or threatening to harm oneself or others.
  • Digital abuse: Monitoring, harassing, stalking, or impersonating someone online or through phone calls, texts, emails, or social media.
  • Financial abuse: Controlling, withholding, or interfering with someone’s access to money, resources, property, or employment.

Domestic violence can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the severity of the situation. Here are some of the common criminal charges for this conduct:

  • Penal Code 243(e)(1) “domestic battery”: Willfully inflicting force or violence on an intimate partner is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
  • Penal Code 273.5 “inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner”: Willfully inflicting a physical injury that results in a traumatic condition on an intimate partner. This can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony punishable by up to one year in county jail or up to four years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $6,000.
  • Penal Code 273.6 “violating a restraining order”: Willfully disobeying a court order to stay away from or not contact an intimate partner. This can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony punishable by up to one year in county jail or up to three years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

What Are Your Legal Options?

If you believe you are being abused by your partner or a family member, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself and your children.

Restraining Order

A restraining order is a court order that prohibits your abuser from contacting you, coming near you, or harming you in any way. It can also order your abuser to move out of your home, stay away from your children or pets, pay spousal or child support, or follow other conditions. A restraining order can help you stop the abuse and create a safe space for you and your family.

Under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA), there are different types of domestic violence restraining orders that you can apply for depending on your situation. These include:

  • Emergency Protective Order (EPO): An EPO is a temporary restraining order that lasts up to seven days. It can be issued by a police officer or a judge when there is an immediate threat of harm to you or your children.
  • Temporary Restraining Order (TRO): A TRO is a short-term restraining order that lasts up to 25 days. It can be issued by a judge when you file a petition in court and show evidence of abuse. You can issue it without having to notify your abuser first.
  • Permanent Restraining Order (PRO): A PRO is a long-term restraining order that lasts up to five years and can be issued by a judge after a hearing where both you and your abuser have a chance to present your case. You can get it renewed as many times as needed.
  • Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO): A DVRO is a specific type of restraining order that applies to people who have or had an intimate relationship with their abuser. It can provide a higher level of protection than other types of restraining orders because it can include orders about child custody, visitation, support, property control, debt payment, counseling, and other issues related to domestic violence.

Divorce or Legal Separation

In addition to obtaining a restraining order, you can also file to end or change your marital status if you’re married to your abuser. Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage, where you can dissolve the marital bond entirely and address various aspects related to your marriage, like property division, spousal support, and child custody and support. 

Legal separation allows you to formalize your separation without terminating the marriage, so you can establish your legal rights while living apart but keeping the marriage intact. Our divorce lawyers in Irvine, CA, can help you end your relationship with your abuser and start a new life.  

A Lawsuit

You can also sue your abuser for the mental or bodily harm they have caused you and demand compensation. The damages for a domestic violence charge that you can recover include:

  • Economic damages: Medical bills, therapy costs, lost wages, property damage, or relocation costs
  • Non-economic damages: Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress

These damages can help you compensate for your losses and deter your abuser from repeating such behavior.

There are also different ways for you to pursue compensation. These include:

Civil lawsuit: You can file a personal injury lawsuit against your abuser – if you can prove that your abuser was negligent or intentional in causing your injuries and that you suffered damages as a result.

Crime victim compensation: Crime victim compensation is a state program that provides financial assistance to victims of violent crimes, including domestic violence. You don’t have to file a lawsuit or prove fault to receive compensation under this program, but you have to show that you were a victim of a qualifying crime and that you suffered eligible losses as a result.

If you decide to sue for damages, remember that the statute of limitations for bringing a lawsuit for domestic violence in California is two years from the date of the injury or the date the injury was discovered. This is different from the statute for filing a criminal charge against the abuser, which is five years from the date of the last incident of violence. 

If you are a domestic violence victim in Irvine, you may have different time limits to pursue civil and criminal actions against your abuser. To determine your legal options and deadlines, consult with an Irvine domestic violence attorney.


Our Irvine Domestic Violence Lawyers Will Fight to Protect Your Rights

Our tenacious domestic violence lawyers at Kaufman Steinberg LLP have helped many clients get protective orders in court throughout Orange County, CA. We know how this kind of domestic abuse or manipulation can affect you, your well-being, your children, your reputation, and even your mental health.

We are here to help you deal with the legal system and defend your interests. Give us a call at 949-757-9000 or fill out our online form and take your first step towards a better future with legal representation from top Irvine family law attorneys.