At our law firm, we understand that many Californians find themselves swept up in the criminal justice system, perhaps a bit unfairly. The law attempts to be objective which can lead to defendants facing charges that may not fit their actions. Nevertheless, the charges are real and can wind them in jail or with a permanent criminal record.

We are the leading domestic violence firm in Orange Country. Our lawyers help everyday people who want to protect their properties, reputations, and families from destruction. We could help you understand the various domestic violence laws in Orange County and how they pertain to your case.

What is Domestic Battery According to State Law?

Anyone charged with domestic battery needs solid legal advice from an experienced attorney. The authorities are increasingly cracking down on supposed abusive partners and could be out to make an example of the accused. Therefore, accused individuals should understand just how state law defines criminal domestic battery. State law defines domestic battery as, “any willful and unlawful touching that is harmful and offensive.” Also, the victim must fit into at least one of these categories:

  • The victim can be a spouse or former spouse
  • The victim can be a cohabitant or former cohabitant
  • The victim can be a fiancé(e) or former fiancé(e)
  • The victim can be someone with whom there is or was a dating relationship
  • The victim can be a co-parent

We always warn clients, especially in Orange County, that nowhere in this written law does it require that the victim be actually injured. Instead, people get convicted of domestic battery all the time in cases where the victim suffers little or no actual physical damage. Therefore, we strongly recommend that those accused of this crime speak with us about their situations. Having an attorney clear up the misunderstanding can be better than allowing the prosecutor to force a guilty plea based on faulty evidence.

Possible Criminal Penalties

The law considers domestic battery a misdemeanor. This means that if convicted a person can receive a fine up to $2000 and/or up to a year of incarceration in a county correctional facility. It is also possible that, instead of the above, a convicted batterer will receive probation, from one to five years.

Our firm has witnessed defendants who probably did not have to suffer incarceration and fines do so because they received poor legal advice. We are here to ensure that anyone wrongly charged with domestic battery has the zealous criminal defense lawyer they deserve.

Possible Criminal Defenses to a Domestic Battery Charge

Though each case is unique, we know of some common defenses to a domestic battery charge. Potential clients should study these defenses only as a way to better understand that all hope is not lost once the authorities press charges. As always, our firm consults with each individual client to decide the proper legal approach to their situation.

  1. Defendants can fight a domestic battery charge by demonstrating that they acted in self-defense. Californians have a right to protect themselves from physical attack. Quite often, one party will commit or threaten violence against another, forcing the real victim to protect themselves. Yet, when the police arrive, they arrest the actual victim because they witnessed him or her apparently committing battery. We can help set the record straight. Self-defense trumps domestic battery.
  2. It is also possible to prove that the accused did not “willfully,” or on purpose, inflict force or violence. Remember, the state law requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant meant to do the so-called harm. For example, in the heat of an argument, one party will throw something, perhaps at a wall. The item may shatter and strike the other partner. The police may assume that the defendant meant to hit the supposed victim, when in fact, it was the unintentional shattering that led to the injuries.
  3. Another defense to domestic battery is that the defendant was falsely accused. Unfortunately, there are people who abuse the laws set up to protect those in domestic partnerships. We, as a criminal defense law firm, believe that violence in the home is a serious problem. Nevertheless, the current vigilant enforcement of abuse charges has created a climate where angry partners can punish their significant others by making false claims.

There are even some who feel a sense of empowerment by making false accusations. Our firm digs deep into the facts to locate the truth in all domestic violence cases. Nobody deserves to pay a fine, be locked up in jail or spend life with a criminal record, just because someone they love or once loved made a false accusation out of spite.

Important Domestic Violence Laws

California State Penal Code 273 (5) – Any person who willfully inflicts injury upon their spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or the mother or father of a shared child, is guilty of a felony, punishable by up to four years in the state prison, or up to one year in county jail, or by a fine of up to $6,000 or by fine and imprisonment.

California State Penal Code 273d (a) – Any person who willfully inflicts upon a child any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or an injury resulting in a traumatic condition is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for up to six years, or in a county jail for up to one year, or by a fine of up to $6,000, or by both incarceration and fine.

California State Penal Code 245 (a-1) – Any person who commits an assault upon a person with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm or by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury shall be punished with up to four years the state prison, or up to one year in a county jail, or by a fine of up to $10,000, or by both fine and imprisonment.

California State Penal Code 243 (a) – A battery is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000, or by imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months, or by fine and jail time.

California State Penal Code 422 – Any person, who threatens to commit a crime resulting in death or great bodily injury to another person, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, will be punished with up to one year in county jail or incarceration in state prison.

Contact an Orange County Attorney for More Information on Domestic Violence Laws

The consequences of a domestic violence charge can be extremely detrimental to your livelihood, whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Defending against such a criminal charge requires expert knowledge of domestic violence laws in Orange County and proficient litigation strategies. The attorneys of The Law Offices of Marlin Stapleton, Jr. & Scott Henry can fulfill those requirements for you. If you are arrested for household abuse call us immediately. We can help! We are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our Locations
Attorney Scott Henry: Criminal & DUI Defense