What is the Domestic Violence Law in California?
Domestic violence laws in Orange County include any forms of abuse, battery,
neglect, or threats against an intimate partner.
There are several different crimes that you can be charged with when facing domestic violence charges in Orange County. You can be charged with both misdemeanors and/or felony domestic violence charges.
The most common domestic violence charges filed in Orange County, CA are:
- Penal Code 273.5 – Corporal injury to a spouse or inhabitant: This can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. This law states that it is illegal to inflict “corporal injury” that results in even a slight physical injury to an intimate partner.
- Penal Code 243(e)(1) – Domestic battery: This is a misdemeanor. This law states that it is illegal to inflict force or violence on an intimate partner. Unlike Penal Code 273.5, this law does not require a visible injury.
- Penal Code 243(d) – Aggravated battery: This can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. This law states that it is illegal to willfully touch another in a harmful or offensive manner where the person who has been touched suffers a “serious bodily injury” as a result.
Other domestic violence related charges that someone could be charged with include stalking, harassing, criminal threats, elderly abuse, child abuse, child neglect, and violation of restraining orders.
Can the Victim Drop Domestic Violence Charges?
Yes and no. The victim can’t drop or decide to dismiss domestic violence charges. Once the police are notified of a domestic violence crime, they will forward their police report to the District Attorney’s office who will then decide to file charges or not. Even if a victim later decides they do not want to prosecute or changes their mind, the District Attorney oftentimes will continue to press forward. However, the victim’s willingness to cooperate and come testify in court is a factor the District Attorney may consider in prosecuting a domestic violence case. Unless the District Attorney has a strong case against someone even without the victim’s in court testimony and cooperation, they will likely offer a plea bargain and the case could result in a dismissal or a reduction in charges.
But, again, this is why it is crucial to have a good criminal defense attorney defend your rights and do an investigation to determine the strength of the District Attorney’s case. Your attorney may know the District Attorney does not have a strong case against you, and push to have your case dismissed or reduced with minimal consequences.
What is Maximum Punishment for Domestic Violence In Orange County, California?
- For Penal Code 273.5 as a misdemeanor, you can face up to 1 year in the county jail and a fine up to $6,000.
- For Penal Code 273.5 as a felony, you can face up to 2 years, 3 years, or 4 years in state prison and a fine up to $6,000.
- For Penal Code 243(e)(1), you can face up to 1 year in the county jail and a fine up to $2,000.
- For Penal Code 243(d) as a misdemeanor, you can face up to 1 year in the county jail and a fine up to $1,000.
- For Penal Code 243(d) as a felony, you can face up to 2 years, 3 years, or 4 years in the county jail and a fine up to $10,000.
Someone who seriously injures an intimate partner can be charged with an enhancement for causing “great bodily injury,” which would add an additional consecutive sentence of 3 years in state prison and is also a strike charge under California’s 3 Strikes Laws. See Penal Code 12022.7.
In addition to the above sentences, someone can be placed on informal or formal probation, ordered to complete a 52 week batterer’s treatment program, ordered to do additional counseling or classes such as anger management, ordered to pay restitution, be served with a restraining order, and ordered to pay the court fines and fees.
Is Domestic Violence A Felony in Orange County, California?
Domestic violence can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony in Orange County. The nature of the abuse, the extent and seriousness of the victim’s injuries, and someone’s previous criminal record will most likely determine whether the District Attorney will file charges as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Domestic Violence Charges?
Absolutely. Domestic violence is one of the more complicated and serious charges someone can be charged with and has major consequences, some for life like the loss of gun rights and the loss of professional licenses. You also want a good criminal defense attorney to defend you and investigate your case thoroughly to see how strong the District Attorney’s case is against you and whether to push for a dismissal or a reduction in charges.
How Much Jail Time Do You Get for Domestic Violence in Orange County, California?
Every domestic violence case in Orange County is different. How much jail time you will get will depend on the nature of the abuse, the extent and seriousness of the victim’s injuries, and someone’s previous criminal record. Also, depending on whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence charge will determine how much jail time you will get.
Does the Victim Have to Testify in a Domestic Violence Case?
Not necessarily. Although usually a victim needs to testify in a criminal case, in a domestic violence case they may not have to if there is:
- A 911 call where the victim describes the criminal acts in an excited utterance;
- An independent witness that can testify to the criminal acts, which may be the police officer who investigated the case if they witnessed something;
- A person accused of domestic violence who admits to the criminal acts; and/or
- A victim who testified previously at another hearing, like a preliminary hearing. The transcripts from that hearing can be used instead of having the victim testify again if it becomes necessary.
How Long Do Restraining Orders Last in Orange County, California?
A domestic violence restraining order can last up to 5 years in Orange County.
Do Restraining Orders Show Up on a Background Check?
Yes, criminal restraining orders will show up on someone’s criminal
background check or the person’s “rap sheet.” Domestic
violence restraining orders are entered into the California Criminal Database,
known as “CLETS” (California Law Enforcement Telecommunications
System) where all the police departments have access to it in order to
enforce the restraining orders.
A civil restraining order will not show up on a criminal background check but is public record and can be found on a background check of someone’s public records.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Restraining Order in Orange County, California?
Nothing. If there is a criminal investigation or criminal case open regarding
domestic violence, the police will usually issue an emergency protective
order (EPO) or temporary restraining order (TRO) until the case concludes.
Once a domestic violence case concludes in court, a permanent restraining
order is usually issued. All these orders are free.
For anyone that wants a civil restraining order in Orange County, they need to fill out paperwork and request a hearing at Family Court in Orange, CA. There is no filing fee for a restraining order request in Orange County.
Who Counts as a Victim of Domestic Violence Under California Law?
California law states that domestic violence is any abuse against an “intimate partner.” An intimate partner would be the victim. An intimate partner would include a current or former spouse, a current or former registered domestic partner, a current or former fiancée, a current or former live-in romantic partner (cohabitant), a person with whom the accused has or has had a child, or someone the accused is seriously dating or has dated in the past.
How Do I Choose a Lawyer for Domestic Violence Charges?
Domestic violence charges are complicated and serious charges. You want to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney with domestic violence experience and trials under their belt. Domestic violence cases require a lot of investigation, thorough witness cross-examinations and coming up with a strategic plan and creative defenses. They usually take a long time to sort out and end in a good resolution for the person charged. Oftentimes, it is a he-said, she-said battle where an expert criminal defense attorney needs to get to the truth of the matter and look for ways to impeach the other party’s credibility. Also, an attorney needs to have excellent negotiation skills in order to get a good plea bargain with either the District Attorney or the Judge, since these cases are taken very seriously by the prosecution in Orange County.
You also want to hire an attorney that will respond to your questions or concerns quickly, because these cases will require extensive communication and strategy with your attorney. You also want to hire an attorney that a jury will like and trust in case you have to go to trial so that they will believe in your defense and find you not guilty.
An accusation of domestic violence is a very serious claim. Not only can it result in criminal penalties, but the label as an abuser can follow you the rest of your life. While penalties can vary depending upon your judge, the state of California has guidelines as to sentencing someone convicted of domestic violence.
Attorney Randy Collins has obtained numerous not guilty verdicts at trial and has several years’ reputation formerly prosecuting domestic violence cases. He knows domestic violence charges are never black and white. Call now to have Attorney Collins evaluate your case for free.
Facing charges? Attorney Randy Collins is here to help. Call (844) 807-8180 for a free case evaluation.
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