Domestic Violence Defense in Orange County and Riverside
California law allows judges to impose harsher penalties for crimes of domestic violence than they are authorized to impose upon offenders who commit comparable crimes against strangers. Slapping a spouse or shoving a lover is more likely to result in a criminal prosecution than a mild altercation with someone who is not in a domestic relationship with the accused.
State law “encourages” California police officers to make arrests in domestic abuse cases whenever they have probable cause. Since a mere accusation (“he hit me first”) is all it takes to establish probable cause, domestic violence arrests are common in Orange County, Riverside and elsewhere in Southern California.
From 1989 to 1999, Orange County arrests in domestic violence cases surged by 431%. That trend has continued in the new century. According to the California Department of Justice, police agencies in Orange County responded to almost 10,000 calls for assistance in domestic violence cases in 2013.
Many accusations of domestic violence are false. Many others are exaggerated. In nearly every case, there are better ways of resolving domestic abuse issues than the criminal justice system offers.
An experienced domestic violence defense lawyer can help individuals accused of domestic abuse avoid unjust convictions and unfair punishments. To learn how a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you, call The Law Office of Randy Collins at (888) 250-2865. We have offices conveniently located in Fullerton, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, and Riverside.
Defense of all California domestic violence accusations
In California, the alleged victim of a domestic violence crime can be:
- A spouse or former spouse
- The other parent of the accused’s child
- A current or former “cohabitant” (someone who lived with the accused for a substantial period of time)
- The accused’s fiancé or fiancée
- A current or former partner in a dating relationship
The Law Office of Randy Collins defends clients against all domestic violence crimes. The following offenses are commonly charged as domestic violence crimes in California:
A battery is the use of force or violence against another person. The potential sentence for a misdemeanor battery doubles when it involves one of the alleged victims listed above.
Domestic battery under section 243(e) of the California Penal Code does not require proof of a physical injury. Shoving a domestic partner is enough to result in a domestic battery arrest.
Corporal injury to spouse
Although people in the legal system frequently shorten the name of the crime to “corporal injury to spouse,” section 273.5 of the California Penal Code applies when the alleged victim falls into any of the categories listed above. The offense can be charged when the use of physical force results in any bodily injury, whether minor or serious. A cut or bruise is enough to transform a battery into the more serious crime of causing corporal injury.
Prosecutors have discretion to charge corporal injury to spouse as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Most prosecutors prefer to charge it as a felony, particularly when the injury is more than trifling.
Violation of protective order
A protective order (sometimes called a “restraining order”) is issued to alleged victims of domestic abuse (including verbal abuse) to protect them from future harm. Protective orders generally prohibit a named individual from committing certain acts, such as contacting the protected person or going to that person’s residence or place of employment.
An intentional violation of a protective order is a misdemeanor. Section 273.6 of the California Penal Code doubles the fine and adds a mandatory jail sentence if the violation results in a physical injury.
Other California crimes, such as making criminal threats, are generally punished more harshly when the alleged victim is or was in a domestic relationship with the accused. Additional crimes that might be committed against family members, including sex offenses, elder abuse, and child abuse, are addressed in separate laws that also create the possibility of severe punishment.
Aggressive defense of accusations of domestic violence
Domestic violence accusations are often unfounded. A spouse or domestic partner who calls the police and makes a false report in the heat of the moment may later regret that action, but the prosecutor is likely to believe it is true even if it is later retracted.
Exposing the accuser’s motivation to lie is often the key to defending a crime of domestic violence. In a domestic relationship, that motivation is usually easy to identify. A spouse might want to gain an advantage in a custody battle, might be acting out of jealousy, or might want to get a lover locked up to pave the way for a new relationship.
Self-defense excuses violence in some cases, although the police tend to arrest whichever person calls them first. In other cases, accidental contact is mistaken for a willful act of aggression. When a minor incident of abuse does occur, it is frequently blown out of proportion.
Individuals who are accused of domestic violence deserve fair treatment in the criminal justice system. To avoid being treated as a stereotypical abuser, you need a lawyer who knows how to fight for your rights. Award-winning Orange County domestic violence defense attorney Randy Collins is prepared to help you through the ordeal of being charged with a domestic violence crime.
If you have been arrested (or fear that you will be) due to an accusation of domestic abuse, call The Law Offices of Randy Collins at (888) 250-2865. You can set an appointment for our Riverside, Fullerton, Newport Beach or Santa Ana office locations.