If you have been charged with domestic violence, spousal abuse, or related charges in Irvine, you need an Irvine Domestic Violence Attorney. Domestic violence cases are a category of cases, which include related offenses, such as spousal battery. Any dating or parentage relationship, whether unmarried or married, gay or straight, is considered a “domestic violence” case.
Punishment for Domestic Violence Cases
The law separates domestic violence into misdemeanors or felonies, which usually depends on both the charges filed, and the severity of any injuries. If there is “great bodily injury” in a case, including a broken bone, or treatment requiring a hospital stay or surgery, the case will in almost all cases be a felony. If there is a minor injury, or even no injury, the law would in most cases treat the case as a misdemeanor.
The Laws Applicable to Domestic Violence Cases
Domestic Violence cases are usually charged under one of the following laws:
Penal Code 273.5 PC, sometimes referred to as PC 273, known as Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant — Penal Code 273.5 makes it illegal to inflict a “corporal injury” resulting in a “traumatic condition.” This is defined as striking an intimate partner in some violent way and causing a visible injury, even a slight one such as swelling or a bruise. This law can be charged if the alleged victim is a current or former spouse or cohabitant or the parent of your child.
Penal Code 243(e)(1) pc Domestic Battery — Penal Code 243(e)(1) makes it a misdemeanor crime to inflict force or violence on an intimate partner…a category that includes your fiancè, cohabitant, the parent of your child, or your current or former spouse or dating partner. Unlike Penal Code 273.5, this California domestic violence law does not require a visible injury.
Penal Code 273d pc Child Abuse — Penal Code 273d makes it a crime to inflict “corporal punishment or injury” on a child if it was “cruel or inhuman” and caused an injury (even a slight injury). California child abuse laws allow a parent reasonable latitude to spank a child, but draw the line where the punishment is cruel or injures the child.
Penal Code 273a pc Child Endangerment — Penal Code 273a makes it a crime willfully to allow a child (in your care or custody) to suffer harm or to have his/her safety or health endangered. An example would be a mother who permits her boyfriend to beat her 6-year-old; or a parent who operates a dangerous meth lab in the same home where his/her child lives.
Penal Code 270 PC Child Neglect/Failure to Provide Care — Penal Code 270 makes it a crime for a parent to fail to provide necessities (like food, shelter, medical care, etc.) to his/her minor child, willfully and without a lawful excuse. For example, a mother might be charged with child neglect/failure to provide care for not providing sufficient food to her children.
Penal Code 368 pc Elder Abuse – Penal Code 368 makes it a crime to inflict physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, endangerment or financial fraud on a victim 65 years of age or older. The crime is usually charged against caregivers, but can also be charged against anyone who commits these sorts of offenses against a senior citizen victim.
Penal Code 422 pc Criminal Threats — Penal Code 422 makes it a crime to communicate a threat of serious harm to someone if (1) you intend to put the person in fear, and (2) you actually do put the person in sustained fear. Criminal Threats may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. As a felony, it counts as a strike under California Three Strikes Law.
Penal Code 591 pc Damaging a telephone line — While not strictly speaking a domestic violence crime, Penal Code 591 damaging a telephone line is often charged along with other domestic violence offenses. This law makes it a crime to cut or otherwise damage a phone line or phone equipment. In domestic incidents, there are frequently allegations that the defendant damaged phone equipment in order to prevent the alleged victim from making a phone call. PC 591 may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Penal Code 601 PC Aggravated trespass – Aggravated trespass is a bit like the crime of trespass plus criminal threats. You can be charged with this offense if you make a threat against someone that causes him/her to reasonably fear for his/her physical safety and then, within 30 days, enter his/her home or workplace to carry out the threat. Aggravated trespass is often charged along with other domestic violence offenses. It can be either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Penal Code 647(j)(4) PC Revenge porn – While not traditionally thought of as domestic violence crimes, certain forms of cyber-harassment are increasingly charged along with domestic violence crimes. As troubled romantic relationships increasingly play themselves out online, this will become only more common. PC 647(j)(4) revenge porn is a good example. You can be accused of this misdemeanor offense if you intentionally distribute sexual photos of another person (such as an ex-girlfriend or ex-wife), with the intent to cause him/her emotional distress.
Penal Code 653.2 PC Posting harmful information on the internet – This relatively new offense consists of posting harmful information about someone on the internet or sending such information in an email message, with the intent to incite other people to harass him/her. Posting harmful information on the internet (also known as “indirect electronic harassment”) is often charged against people who attempt to use the internet to get revenge on the other party in a domestic dispute. PC 653.2 is a misdemeanor.
Defenses to Domestic Violence Cases
Defenses commonly used in court for domestic violence cases include self defense, factual defenses (as in the facts of the case reveal that the conduct was not actually unlawful, given the definition in the law), legal defenses (for example, the prosecution is barred by the statute of limitations, or was not properly investigated, or cannot be proved legally), and challenges to the charges themselves, either via motion, or at trial.
How An Irvine Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help
Our lawyers can help by investigating the case, reviewing the police reports, photographs, interviewing the victim or potential third party witnesses, looking at medical evidence, and preparing a strategy based upon the facts or legal defenses for the case.
Contact Our Firm for your Domestic Violence Matter
You can reach us via phone at (877) 568-2977, or contact us at the firm anytime. We are here and available to help you.