Domestic violence or spousal abuse is defined in California so as to include even the slightest touching that occurs in the middle of an argument, however slight. The most common penalties for a conviction can be severe. They include jail, year-long classes, community service, substantial fines, restraining orders, job loss, licensing revocation, deportation and child custody issues.
Common California domestic violence offenses cases handled by our Orange County law offices include:
If you have been accused of any crime related to domestic violence, spousal abuse or child abuse/neglect, it is essential that you obtain immediate effective and knowledgeable representation. Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena provides sophisticated legal representation. She works to minimize the gravity of an arrest for spousal abuse, child abuse or neglect or other forms of domestic violence, and to get families reunited as quickly as possible.
Q: Can my wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend drop the charges?
A: Simply put- no. It is a common misconception that people have the ability to “press” charges. Once statements are made to the police, the decision to prosecute rests in their hands and those of the District Attorney’s. In fact, in most domestic violence cases, loved ones do NOT want charges filed and charges are filed, despite their protests. Under no circumstances should a victim write or call the District Attorney’s office thinking that she is helping the case. Often these letters and calls are used against a defendant later on. For advise on how to adequately prepare your case so that prosecution is less likely, call the Law Offices of Staycie R. Sena now.
Q: I don’t want a restraining order, but the court issued one anyway. What can I do?
A: Recent changes to the law significantly restrict a court’s ability to issue a restraining order over a party’s objection. Some judges and courts, however, are unaware of current developments in the law. If you are the subject of a restraining order and did not ask for one, call the Law Offices of Staycie R. Sena immediately.
Q: Will I go to jail?
A: Most domestic violence or spousal abuse cases resolve without a jail sentence.
Q: If I or a loved one is arrested for domestic violence, what should I do first?
A: First and foremost, preserve any evidence. Take clear photographs of any injuries or property damage. Do not rely on police officers to have photographed your injuries. Too often these photos are unclear or not produced. Second, remain silent. The US Constitution affords you the right to remain silent and you should exercise that right. Do not speak with investigators without first speaking to an attorney. Third, get qualified representation. Staycie R. Sena has handled thousands of domestic violence cases in Orange County and surrounding areas and can provide you a free analysis of your case today.
Q: What is considered “spousal abuse” or “domestic violence”?
A: Domestic violence or spousal abuse is defined in California so as to include any touching that occurs in the middle of an argument, however slight. The most insignificant of cases that Ms. Sena has handled have included: a pillow “bopped” on someone’s head, a diaper tossed into a trash can that touched another party on the way, and spitting. It is possible to have domestic violence charges filed even when no touching occurs. Breaking a vase in an argument, for example, can result in a vandalism charge and grabbing another’s cell phone can be charged as dissuading a witness.
Q: What penalties could I face if convicted of domestic violence?
A: Penalties range from state prison sentences in the most severe cases to short anger management classes in minor skirmishes. Often programs, community service, restraining orders and fines are involved as well. It is not just criminal penalties that attach, however. A conviction for domestic violence can result in collateral consequences to one’s immigration or licensing status, as well as in custody and support orders. Contact the Law Offices of Staycie R. Sena for an analysis of the particular consequences you face and a discussion on how to avoid those consequences.
California Penal Code section 243(e)(1) Spousal Battery:
When a battery is committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of the defendant's child, former spouse, fiance, or fiancee, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship, the battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment. If probation is granted, or the execution or imposition of the sentence is suspended, it shall be a condition thereof that the defendant participate in, for no less than one year, and successfully complete, a batterer's treatment program, as defined in Section 1203.097, or if none is available, another appropriate counseling program designated by the court. However, this provision shall not be construed as requiring a city, a county, or a city and county to provide a new program or higher level of service as contemplated by Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
California Penal Code section 273.5 Domestic Violence with Injury:
(a) Any person who willfully inflicts upon a person who is his or her spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or the mother or father of his or her child, corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of up to six thousand dollars ($6,000) or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(b) Holding oneself out to be the husband or wife of the person with whom one is cohabiting is not necessary to constitute cohabitation as the term is used in this section.
(c) As used in this section, "traumatic condition" means a condition of the body, such as a wound or external or internal injury, whether of a minor or serious nature, caused by a physical force.
California Penal Code section 273a Abusing or endangering the health of a child:
(a) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, four, or six years.
(b) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions other than those likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health may be endangered, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
California Penal Code section 591 Injuring a phone line:
A person who unlawfully and maliciously takes down, removes, injures, or obstructs any line of telegraph, telephone, or cable television, or any other line used to conduct electricity, or any part thereof, or appurtenances or apparatus connected therewith, or severs any wire thereof, or makes any unauthorized connection with any line, other than a telegraph, telephone, or cable television line, used to conduct electricity, or any part thereof, or appurtenances or apparatus connected therewith, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, or by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), or imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year.
California Penal Code section 591.5 Injuring a cell phone:
A person who unlawfully and maliciously removes, injures, destroys, damages, or obstructs the use of any wireless communication device with the intent to prevent the use of the device to summon assistance or notify law enforcement or any public safety agency of a crime is guilty of a misdemeanor.
California Penal Code section 136.1 Dissuading a witness or victim:
Except as provided in subdivision (c), any person who does any of the following is guilty of a public offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or in the state prison:
(1) Knowingly and maliciously prevents or dissuades any witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any trial, proceeding, or inquiry authorized by law.
(2) Knowingly and maliciously attempts to prevent or dissuade any witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any trial, proceeding, or inquiry authorized by law.
California Penal Code section 236 False imprisonment:
False imprisonment is the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another.
California Penal Code section 422 Criminal Threats:
Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family's safety, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.
For the purposes of this section, "immediate family" means any spouse, whether by marriage or not, parent, child, any person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree, or any other person who regularly resides in the household, or who, within the prior six months, regularly resided in the household.
"Electronic communication device" includes, but is not limited to, telephones, cellular telephones, computers, video recorders, fax machines, or pagers. "Electronic communication" has the same meaning as the term defined in Subsection 12 of Section 2510 of Title 18 of the United States Code.
California Penal Code section 273.6 Disobeying a court order:
(a) Any intentional and knowing violation of a protective order, as defined in Section 6218 of the Family Code, or of an order issued pursuant to Section 527.6, 527.8, or 527.85 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or Section 15657.03 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(b) In the event of a violation of subdivision (a) that results in physical injury, the person shall be punished by a fine of not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment. However, if the person is imprisoned in a county jail for at least 48 hours, the court may, in the interest of justice and for reasons stated on the record, reduce or eliminate the 30-day minimum imprisonment required by this subdivision. In determining whether to reduce or eliminate the minimum imprisonment pursuant to this subdivision, the court shall consider the seriousness of the facts before the court, whether there are additional allegations of a violation of the order during the pendency of the case before the court, the probability of future violations, the safety of the victim, and whether the defendant has successfully completed or is making progress with counseling.