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Have you been charged with domestic violence in Orange County? If you answered yes, it is important that you start to plan your case and review your legal options with a professional domestic violence attorney. Without representation from a qualified lawyer, you stand little chance of avoiding conviction.
The Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry has successfully handled a vast array of domestic violence cases in Orange County, Aliso Viejo, and surrounding areas. As a defense attorney with years of experience, Attorney Virginia L. Landry can provide you with the advice and aggressive representation you need to obtain a winning outcome.
Questions About Domestic Violence Charges? Contact Our Firm For a Free Consultation.
California’s Domestic Violence Laws
California law defines domestic violence as threatening abuse or actual physical violence between those who are living together or are currently in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence can also occur between family members. The familiarity between the victim and the alleged abuser are what differentiate this type of charge from simple assault or battery charges, as examples.
Example of abuse may include:
- Causing physical pain, whether intentional or not
- Sexual abuse or assault
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Using threats or intimidation with the intent to cause harm
- Stalking, or destroying the property of another
Domestic Violence Is Not Limited to Physical Abuse
What is important to note about domestic charges with regards to California law, is that there does not need to be physical abuse to charge someone, especially if there are internal injuries that are not immediately detectable. Victims can suffer from any number of emotional and psychological abuses that are not always outwardly apparent. Both sides may also face domestic violence charges if the evidence discovered supports the accusation.
Moreover, the victim cannot choose to drop the charges—only prosecutors can make the decision. Depending on the circumstances, may or may not elect to drop the charges if they believe the case is worth pursuing. There have been cases when spouses wish to drop the charges and wish not to testify against their spouse or family member, only to be later arrested for refusing.
When Is Domestic Violence a Felony in California?
Depending on the severity of the crime, domestic violence may be tried as a felony or misdemeanor offense. In most cases, domestic violence is classified as a misdemeanor.
However, charges may be amplified if the person being charged has:
- Caused injury to a minor
- Sexually assaulted the victim
- Sexually assaulted a minor
- Caused the victim bodily harm
- Prior domestic violence convictions
- Prior criminal convictions
Domestic Violence Penalties in California
The state takes domestic violence cases seriously and as such, the consequences for domestic violence are also very serious. Individuals convicted of domestic violence face harsh legal punishments.
Penalties for domestic violence can include:
- Heavy fines
- Community service
Consequences of Domestic Violence on Your Life
If you are convicted of a domestic violence offense, you may face negative effects in your personal and professional life even after you’ve served your time or paid your dues.
Some of the long-lasting effects of a domestic violence conviction can include:
- Criminal record
- Limited employment opportunities
- Loss of gun rights
- A restraining order that prevents you from contact with the victim, and can even affect your custody rights
Because of the seriousness of these charges and the fact that they can be viewed negatively by potential employers, it is crucial that accused individuals speak to experienced criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible.
What If a Victim Doesn’t Want to Press Charges?
In most states, once a victim reports an incident of physical, sexual, and/or psychological abuse to law enforcement, the person who abused the victim can be charged with domestic violence. However, in the state of California, a person can be charged with domestic violence even if the victim does not report an incident.
Once a person is charged with domestic violence by California law enforcement, his/her charges cannot be dropped unless the prosecutor handling his/her cases decides to drop them. Even if the victim who sought legal action wishes to have the charges dropped at a later time, he/she does not have the power to do so. Only the prosecutor has the legal right to drop charges against a domestic violence offender. And, after domestic violence charges have been pressed, it is very unlikely that they will be dropped.