Domestic Violence Attorney Orange County

In California, if the police are called on suspicion that even the smallest instance of domestic violence has occurred, someone is going to jail.

Local law enforcement agencies are quick to arrest anyone who they think is the aggressor in a physical altercation between domestic partners.

However, being arrested for domestic violence will only be the beginning of your problems.

Your arrest may lead to a criminal charge, which will have a severe impact on your future, whether you are arrested for a felony or a misdemeanor. The state can even take your children away from you. Additionally, a restraining order may be placed on you, which may prevent you from returning home, even if you are actually the victim.

This is why it is extremely important to contact an experienced domestic violence defense attorney as soon as you are released from jail in Orange County.

Our team, The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian, has extensive experience in defending domestic violence cases. We will do everything possible to ensure that a momentary error of judgment or a misunderstanding does not have long-lasting consequences.

Domestic violence charges in California

The strict domestic violence laws in California protect intimate partners from harm and threats of violence.

There are two main sections of the penal code that provide the District Attorney ability to prosecute intimate partners for domestic violence offenses. Those sections are as follows:

Penal Code 273.5: Inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner

California Penal Code 273.5, referred to as Domestic Violence or Corporal Injury to a Spouse, makes it a crime to willfully inflict injury on an intimate partner, such as:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • A fiancé or fiancée
  • A current or former girlfriend or boyfriend
  • A cohabitant, or
  • A person with whom you have a child

To be convicted for domestic violence under Penal Code 273.5, the prosecution will need to prove three things:

  1. You willfully committed the offense on a past or present spouse, fiancé, girlfriend/boyfriend or a cohabitant or person with whom you have a child
  2. The victim suffered a traumatic condition
  3. You were not acting in self-defense

A “traumatic condition” can include even minor injuries including a scratch, swelling, a black eye, severe laceration, or broken bone.

A serious injury does not need to occur for charges to be filed. Moreover, the offense may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor (commonly known as a “wobbler”).

Penal Code 243(e)(1): Domestic battery

The main difference between Penal Code 273.5 and Penal Code 243(e)(1) (domestic battery) is that no physical injury is required in order for charges to be filed under Penal Code 243(e)(1).

Inflicting force or violence on an intimate partner without a physical injury can result in a misdemeanor charge.

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During the consultation, we will help you understand your rights and the charges against you.

What penalties can a domestic violence conviction lead to in Orange County?

The justice system in Orange County takes a dim view of domestic violence matters including harsh penalties that are imposed on a conviction. The results are immediate and long-term consequences.

Whether the alleged offense is prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor under Penal Code 273.5 depends largely on the severity of the victim’s injuries, any aggravating circumstances, and the past criminal record of the perpetrator.

Possible penalties for a misdemeanor:
  • A maximum sentence of one year in a county jail
  • Up to $6,000 in various fines, and
  • Mandatory 52-week attendance at a batterers’ treatment program
  • Pay a restitution fine to a battered women’s shelter
  • Pay restitution to the victim
  • Imposition of a restraining order protecting the victim
Possible penalties for a felony conviction:
  • 2-4 years in a California State Prison
  • Up to $6,000 in fines, and
  • Mandatory 52-week attendance at a batterers’ treatment program
  • Pay a restitution fine to a battered women’s shelter
  • Pay restitution to the victim
  • Imposition of a restraining order protecting the victim

Whether a Felony or a Misdemeanor, any conviction under this section will result in a mandatory 52 Week Batterers’ Intervention Program. The sentence may also include a period of probation, community service, or another method of punishment.

These penalties can be enhanced if the victim suffered great bodily injury or if you have a prior conviction for assault, battery, or domestic violence offenses.

Possible penalties for a domestic battery conviction:

Possible penalties under California’s domestic battery law include:

  • Up to one year in county jail and/or
  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • Mandatory 52-week attendance at a batterer’s treatment program

Longer-term consequences

In addition to the fines, possible jail time, and participation in a batterers’ treatment program, those convicted of domestic violence face the prospect of a lifelong criminal record.

A domestic violence conviction can show up on any background or criminal record check you undergo.

This will result in long-term consequences that can severely affect:

  • Employment and career options
  • Accommodation choices
  • Education plans
  • Travel/immigration status

The consequences for a domestic violence conviction may also include restrictions on gun ownership or voting rights.

Additionally, there are consequences regarding family relationships. In the event of an arrest for domestic violence, the state can take your children away and/or place a restraining order on you. This can result in lasting damage to your relationship with your spouse and children.

The longer-term consequences are often harder to bear than the criminal penalties. That is why it is very important to talk to a domestic violence attorney as soon as possible to determine your options and mitigate future consequences.

How do we defend a domestic violence charge?

If you are arrested and charged for domestic violence, the alleged victim may want to drop the charges. This does not mean that you are free to go and the charge will be dropped.

The decision to prosecute rests with the District Attorney of Orange County.

This can be difficult for defendants to understand. Even if the victim changes their version of the events, a criminal case against you can still proceed. While the prosecution’s job may be made more difficult by this turn of events, you still need the help of an experienced domestic violence attorney to navigate the process and defend the charges against you.

After your arrest and during the period before formal charges are filed, the legal team at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian will contact the District Attorney to monitor and discuss the case with that office.

Generally speaking, our office may be able to present certain defenses that may result in the potential charge being dismissed or downgraded.

  • In many instances, our office may be able to show the alleged victim fabricated their version of events and made false allegations in the heat of the moment. The fact of the matter is many people say and do rash things when emotions are running high.

  • There are occasions when injuries did not result from the actions of the defendant. Sometimes injuries may be from an accident instead as a result of self-defense.

  • Another valid defense may relate to the police not investigating the case thoroughly enough to provide adequate evidence that rises to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

The high burden of proof for the prosecution (“beyond a reasonable doubt”) means that there is always a chance that the charges against you will be dismissed or downgraded with a plea bargain. This chance diminishes when you voluntarily talk to the police and admit any wrongdoing. Thus, it is important to let your attorney speak on your behalf.

Charged with domestic violence in Orange County?

If you have been charged with domestic violence, your rights and freedoms are at stake.

Start with a consultation with an experienced domestic violence lawyer at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian.

We will discuss the circumstances of your case and determine how best to defend the charges and mitigate the consequences for your future.

We have offices in Santa Ana, Westminster, Newport Beach and Fullerton to serve clients with matters heard at the Central, West, Harbor, and North Justice Centers, respectively, for all of Orange County.  The lawyers at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian are here to help!  Book an online consultation to get started today.
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