PC 273D – California Child Abuse
Accusations of domestic violence, including domestic battery and corporal injury to a spouse, are defended daily by Orange County domestic violence lawyers. During the most recent year for which statistics are available, law enforcement agencies in Orange County received nearly 8,000 complaints of domestic violence.
Many domestic abuse accusations are false. Many others are overstated. Yet domestic violence is a hot-button issue. In a “he said, she said” dispute, police and prosecutors will nearly always take the side of the person who claims to be a domestic violence victim.
Individuals accused of domestic violence in Orange County are arrested and prosecuted regardless of innocence. A vigorous defense of domestic abuse charges is the key to avoiding a conviction that could ruin the accused’s life.
The Law Offices of Randy Collins represents individuals who are accused of domestic violence crimes in Orange County and elsewhere in Southern California. Randy Collins works diligently to protect the rights of the accused by fighting for dismissals and “not guilty” verdicts. To learn how an Orange County domestic violence defense attorney can help, call (888) 250-2865 for an appointment at one of our convenient offices.
Domestic Violence Crimes Alleging Use of Force
Two crimes are commonly charged as domestic violence offenses in California. Both involve acts taken against “intimate partners.” An intimate partner is:
- a current or former spouse;
- a person who is cohabiting with the accused;
- a person who is engaged to the accused;
- the other parent of the accused’s child; and
- a person who is or was in a dating relationship with the accused.
The crimes are:
- Domestic battery (§ 243(e), California Penal Code). A battery is the willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon another person. Domestic battery (also known as spousal battery) is a battery committed upon an intimate partner. To obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove two things:
- The accused willfully and unlawfully touched another person in a harmful or offensive manner. Any physical contact, even if it did not cause pain or injury, is enough to constitute a battery if the touching was done in a rude or angry way.
- The person who was touched was the accused’s intimate partner.
- Corporal injury to spouse (§ 273.5, California Penal Code). This crime is more serious than domestic battery. While domestic battery is a misdemeanor, causing corporal injury is a “wobbler” that can be charged as a felony. The offense is not limited to crimes against spouses. To obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove two things:
- The accused willfully inflicted a physical injury on an intimate partner.
- The injury resulted in a traumatic condition. A traumatic condition is a wound or other bodily injury, whether minor or serious, caused by the direct application of physical force.
More serious crimes, such as aggravated battery, might be charged when the injuries are particularly serious. Sex crimes can also be charged, even when the accuser is married to the accused.
Violation of a Protective Order
Another domestic abuse crime that domestic violence attorneys in Orange County commonly defend is the violation of a protective order (§ 273.6, California Penal Code). Someone who is in an intimate relationship with an accused can obtain a protective order that prohibits the accused from doing certain things (such as contacting the person or going to the person’s workplace).
An intentional violation of a protective order is a crime. To obtain a conviction, a prosecutor must prove:
- A court lawfully entered an order that prohibited the accused from doing certain things.
- The order was the kind of domestic violence protective order described in the Penal Code.
- The accused knew that the order existed, even if the accused did not read it.
- The accused had the ability to obey the order.
- The accused willfully disobeyed the order.
The offense is generally a misdemeanor, although certain repeat offenses can be charged as felonies. If the violation involved an act of violence, a minimum 30-day jail sentence is the presumptive punishment. In some cases, stalking and other more serious crimes may also be charged.
All domestic violence or abuse crimes expose the accused to the risk of jail time. An aggressive defense minimizes that risk. To put a top domestic violence lawyer in Orange County to work defending your case, call The Law Offices of Randy Collins at (888) 250-2865.
Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges
The most successful defense to a domestic violence charge is the one that best fits the facts of the case. Examples of winning defenses that Randy Collins employs include:
- Accident. Any physical contact was unintentional.
- False accusation. The alleged victim has a strong motive to make trouble for the accused.
- Self-defense. The accused was exercising his legal right to defend himself from an attack.
- Mistaken identification. The crime was committed by someone other than the accused.
- Reasonable doubt. The accused may have touched the alleged victim, but the touching was not angry or rude and no injury was inflicted. The victim overreacted by making an accusation that is out of proportion to what actually happened. Serious doubt therefore exists as to whether any crime was committed.
- Illegally obtained evidence. Certain evidence against the accused was illegally obtained and cannot be used in court.
- Legal defenses. In the case of an alleged protective order violation, an example of a legal defense is that the protective order was entered by a court that was not authorized to enter it, or it included provisions that the court was not authorized to order. Expiration of the statute of limitations is another example of a legal defense.
Selecting the best defense can lead to an acquittal, a dismissal, or a negotiated resolution that avoids conviction. In some cases, it makes sense to pursue a strategy of mitigation that might involve attending counseling or (if the case involved the consumption of alcohol or drugs) a substance abuse treatment program. Those actions may lead to a deferred prosecution that avoids conviction.
Picking the right defense requires experience, knowledge, and an understanding of how prosecutors and jurors think. As a former prosecutor, Randy Collins has the insight to construct defenses that will best serve his clients. To learn about domestic violence defenses that might benefit you, call an Orange County domestic violence attorney at The Law Offices of Randy Collins at (888) 250-2865.