Domestic violence is considered a violent crime in Orange County and it is one that is punished harshly under the law. Hiring the best Orange County Domestic Violence attorney can ensure every legal avenue is exhausted to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
If you are convicted of the crime of domestic violence, you could face a number of long-lasting consequences, including a prison sentence of up to five years, fines of up to $10,000, a criminal record and a black mark on your reputation, plus the potential loss of any professional licenses you may have and the loss of your right to own a firearm.
In many cases, a domestic violence arrest is simply a misunderstanding, but it still requires immediate intervention, so you can avoid the social stigma of being labeled a domestic abuser for the rest of your life.
If you or a loved one is facing Orange County domestic violence charges, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group today for legal help. When you hire our law firm, you can count on professional, knowledgeable, and assertive legal representation from a reliable Orange County domestic violence defense attorney.
AFFORDABLE, COMPASSIONATE, AGGRESSIVE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ATTORNEY
Just because you have been arrested for domestic violence in Orange County does not mean you are guilty of the crime, no matter what the police or the prosecutor says, nor does it automatically mean you will be convicted. It is your constitutional right to defend yourself against any criminal charges and the best way to do that is to hire a skilled domestic violence defense attorney to represent your case. If you are convicted of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse (California Penal Code § 273.5 PC) or domestic battery (California Penal Code § 243(e)(1) PC), the resulting consequences can be devastating, especially if you didn’t commit the crime. No one should be falsely accused of domestic violence or forced to face the life-changing consequences of a crime they didn’t commit. With our criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group on your side, you can stand up for your rights and fight the domestic violence charges against you.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN CALIFORNIA
Domestic violence in Orange County is defined as abuse committed against an intimate partner by intentionally or recklessly using, or threatening the use of, physical force.
Domestic violence is prevalent in Orange County and the punishment for the crime is therefore very harsh. Unfortunately, there are many cases where a person is wrongfully accused of domestic violence, often because the accuser wants to manipulate the criminal justice system, gain the upper hand in divorce or child custody proceedings, or punish the other person for perceived wrongdoing.
California Domestic Violence Penal Code § 273.5 PC
Penal Code § 273.5 PC, also known as spousal abuse, domestic violence, domestic abuse or “corporal injury to a spouse,” is the law that makes it a crime to willfully cause traumatic injury to a current or former spouse, domestic partner, fiancé, boyfriend, girlfriend, cohabitant, intimate partner or fellow parent, in an act of domestic violence.
Under this law, a “traumatic injury” is defined as any wound or internal or external injury caused by the direct application of physical force, regardless of how serious or minor the injury may be, including any injury resulting from strangulation or suffocation.
California Domestic Violence Penal Code § 243(e)(1) PC
PC § 273.5 is similar in nature to Penal Code § 243(e)(1) PC, domestic battery, a more common crime that involves any willful and unlawful touching carried out against a current or former spouse, cohabitant, fiancé, boyfriend, girlfriend or fellow parent, that is harmful or offensive. A person can be charged with, and convicted of, domestic battery even if the alleged victim is not injured in any way, which is what distinguishes this crime from PC § 273.5, corporal injury on a spouse. PC § 243(e)(1) only requires that the defendant use or threaten to use force or violence against the alleged victim, while PC § 273.5 requires that the victim suffers some form of physical injury.
PENALTIES FOR A PC § 273.5 CONVICTION IN ORANGE COUNTY
The state of California has some of the toughest domestic violence laws in the country and as such, PC § 273.5 is punished harshly by the Orange County courts. Under these laws, the crime of domestic violence can be prosecuted as a felony, punishable by a state prison sentence and thousands of dollars in fines. However, PC § 273.5 is technically a “wobbler” offense, which means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony crime, depending on the circumstances of the case, your prior criminal history, if any, and the severity of the injuries sustained by the alleged victim.
If you are convicted of misdemeanor PC § 273.5 in Orange County, you could face the following penalties:
- Up to one year in county jail,
- Misdemeanor probation,
- Up to $6,000 in fines,
- Restitution to the victim(s),
- Loss of the right to own a firearm,
- A 52-week batterer’s program, and/or
- A domestic violence restraining order against you.
If you are convicted of felony PC § 273.5 in Orange County, these penalties may be increased to:
- Two, three or four years in state prison,
- Felony probation, and/or
- An additional three, four or five years in prison if you caused the victim(s) “great bodily injury,” or any significant physical injury (a Penal Code § 12022.7 sentencing enhancement).
Effective January 1, 2019, the loss of gun rights resulting from a misdemeanor or felony conviction for willfully inflicting corporal injury on a spouse is a lifetime prohibition. Furthermore, under Orange County domestic violence law, if you are convicted of corporal injury on a spouse within seven years of a prior conviction for corporal injury on a spouse, assault or battery resulting in serious bodily injury, sexual battery, assault with a deadly weapon or aggravated assault, you could face the following penalties:
- Up to one year in county jail, or
- Two, four or five years in state prison; and/or
- Up to $10,000 in fines.
Additionally, violations of PC § 273.5 involving spousal injury are considered “crimes of moral turpitude” and can therefore affect your immigration status. If you are convicted of domestic violence in Orange County, it could cause you to lose your right to become a U.S. citizen, apply for a green card or re-enter the country after leaving.
PENALTIES FOR A PC § 243(E)(1) CONVICTION IN ORANGE COUNTY
Under PC § 243(e)(1), domestic battery in Orange County is a misdemeanor offense and a conviction for this crime carries the following potential penalties:
- Up to one year in county jail,
- Up to $2,000 in fines, and/or
- A 52-week batterer’s program.
As a crime of domestic violence, domestic battery is also considered a “deportable crime” under federal immigration law. This means that you could face deportation proceedings after being convicted of the crime of PC § 243(e)(1), even if you are in the country legally.
CALIFORNIA’S “THREE STRIKES” SENTENCING LAW
California has a “Three Strikes” sentencing law in effect that significantly increases the prison sentences of individuals convicted of any new felony offense when they have one or more prior serious or violent felony convictions on their criminal record. Under this law, if you are convicted of Orange County domestic violence causing “great bodily injury,” the crime is charged as a “serious felony” and is considered a “strike” offense under California’s “Three Strikes” sentencing law.
If you have one prior “strike” offense on your record and you are convicted of felony domestic violence or any other felony offense, you could face a prison sentence that is twice as long as the law typically requires. If you have two prior “strike” offenses, and you are convicted of felony domestic violence or any other felony offense, you could face an automatic prison sentence of 25 years to life.
ORANGE COUNTY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEFENSE
Even if the physical evidence in a domestic violence case is minimal, which may be the case in situations where the alleged victim has sustained no visible injury, the law is on the alleged victim’s side and it can therefore be difficult to prove your innocence, especially if your accuser is lying about the domestic violence. Keep in mind though, that the burden of proof in a domestic violence case lies with the prosecution. For example, in order to find you guilty of the crime of PC § 273.5 in Orange County, the prosecution will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following so-called “elements of the crime”:
- You willfully inflicted physical injury,
- On a current or former spouse, cohabitant, intimate partner or fellow parent, and
- The injury resulted in a “traumatic condition.”
Best Defense Strategies in Orange County Domestic Violence Cases
Being that it is considered a violent crime, a conviction for Orange County domestic violence can result in significant legal penalties, possibly including a prison sentence of 25 years to life if you have prior serious or violent felony convictions on your record. Fortunately, experienced criminal defense attorneys have a variety of strategies on hand to fight PC § 273.5 or PC § 243(e)(1) charges. Your attorney may raise one or more of the following defenses in court to get your domestic violence charges reduced or possibly even dismissed altogether:
- Self-defense – If your attorney can show that you were acting in self-defense, or in defense of another person, to prevent an unreasonable risk of injury or death, when the alleged domestic violence occurred, then you cannot be found guilty of the crime.
- False accusation – When it comes to domestic violence, false accusations are, unfortunately, a common occurrence. If you were falsely accused of domestic violence by someone attempting to manipulate the criminal justice system, gain the upper hand in divorce or child custody proceedings, or punish you for perceived wrongdoing, your attorney can use this information to build a strong defense in your case.
- Accidental injury – The crime of domestic violence requires that you act with intention. If the alleged domestic violence incident leading to your arrest was an accident or simply a misfortunate event, then you are not guilty of domestic violence.
HOW HIRING A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY CAN HELP
Any time you are arrested for or charged with an Orange County violent crime like domestic violence, securing reputable legal counsel should be your first course of action.
Acting quickly to protect your rights and hiring an attorney with extensive experience defending domestic violence cases can mean the difference between securing your freedom and serving time in prison.
If you contact our criminal defense attorneys before domestic violence charges are filed, we may be able to get the charges dismissed or reduced from a felony to misdemeanor offense, or from corporal injury on a spouse to domestic battery, depending on the specifics of your case.
Even if the charges have already been filed, with our reputable domestic violence defense attorneys in your corner, you could be granted probation instead of serving time in jail, which would allow you to live in your own home and continue working or going to school.
CONTACT OUR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEFENSE ATTORNEYS TODAY
Even as a misdemeanor, domestic violence is a tough conviction to have on your record.
If you are convicted of the crime of domestic violence in Orange County, your punishment could include thousands of dollars in fines and mandatory participation in a batterer’s program, among other devastating penalties, and you could even face a county jail or state prison sentence, depending on your criminal history and the details of your case. Every domestic violence case is different and our lawyers at Seyb Law Group are committed to providing the personalized criminal defense representation you deserve.
If you are facing domestic violence charges under PC § 273.5 or PC § 243(e)(1), do not hesitate to speak to a reputable Orange County criminal defense attorney to discuss your legal rights. With the help of our domestic violence defense lawyers at Seyb Law Group, you may be able to get your domestic violence charges dropped or reduced to a lesser offense with less severe penalties. Contact Seyb Law Group today to schedule your free initial consultation.