There are numerous warrants that can be levied onto individuals to either arrest them or obtain information or evidence they may possess. If you are suspected of a crime, a prosecutor can ask a judge to approve an arrest or a search and seizure of your personal property.

The most common warrants that are issued include:
  • Arrest warrant-an order is sent to officials to arrest you on site
  • Bench warrant - this is an order for your arrest because you failed to appear in court
  • Search and seizure warrant - officials are given legal permission to search your home, car and other personal areas for information that could verify a criminal act

Many warrants are wrapped around poor logical and little evidence. Our firm can defend you and your rights in these cases. If you have been arrested or notified that warrant has been issued to you then you must seek the legal representation of an Orange County criminal defense lawyer.

Request a confidential and free consultation today so we can inform you of your rights. Call us at (714) 362-0157 to get in touch.


There is a very specific set of procedures and protocol that must be followed for a warrant to be issued. If any of these protocols are broken or if your rights have been violated in any way, it may result in a dropped case. Enforcement officers may neglect to inform you what the warrant is for or properly read you the rights you are entitled to. Our firm can investigate all of the evidence to establish a clear defense for you. If there are any anomalies in any paperwork or procedure our legal team will catch them and pursue the ones we deem worthy.

Need an attorney for a warrant case in Orange County? We take a very compassionate approach to criminal defense. The pressure you may be under is indescribable and we want to help in any way possible. We will relieve you of any legal burden you may have by taking action on your behalf.Our law firm can defend you in court and will provide you with the best chance of success.

Contact our Orange Co

Contact our Orange County criminal defense lawyer today if you receive notice of a warrant against you. ​​​​​​



Need an attorney for a trespassing case in Irvine? Trespassing is when you enter another individual's home or property without the owner's permission or you refuse to leave another individual's land, home, or private property after being told to leave. In trespassing cases related to domestic violence, the charges usually pertain to individuals who refuse to leave a property. Not many people realize that refusing to leave a private property falls under trespassing. If you have been charged with trespassing, it is very important that you contact an Orange County criminal defense attorney without delay. The sooner you take legal action the more likely it will be that your charges get dropped or your punishments reduced.


Most individuals do not take trespassing charges as seriously as they should. California is different than other states in that trespassing can be filed as infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies. A felony trespassing charge brings with it heavy fines and prison time.

If convicted of a misdemeanor trespassing offense, individuals could face any of the following penalties:
  • A number of days in a county jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines, probation
  • Community service
  • Restraining orders

Once convicted, offenders have to bear the burden of a criminal record. Having a criminal record will severely limit your chances of getting a good job, advancing your career, and qualifying for housing or bank loans.


Looking for a lawyer for your trespassing case in Orange County? At the Law Office of Frances Prizzia, we take trespassing charges very seriously. We've seen how detrimental a misdemeanor conviction can be on an individual's life. Our firm will work closely with you to fight these charges and will seek to have them dismissed or reduced to an infraction. As an infraction, your offense will not go on your criminal record. If negotiating proves unsuccessful we will not hesitate to take your case to trial to seek a "not guilty" verdict. Your future is too important to have it marred by a criminal record.

Contact an Orange County criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with trespassing. We care about our clients and do everything possible to help them pursue the best possible case outcome.



Being accused of a serious traffic offense can result in expensive fines, higher insurance premiums, removal of your driver’s license, and jail or prison time. You need to prioritize your future and driving privilege by teaming up with an Orange County traffic offense attorney who knows what they are doing. At the Law Office of Frances Prizzia, we stand up for drivers who have been ticketed or arrested for a serious misdemeanor or felony traffic offense. Using our years of experience in criminal law, we can challenge any case the prosecution brings against you.

Why should you choose Attorney Frances Prizzia for your defense?
  • More than a decade of legal experience
  • Chosen among “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by National Trial Lawyers
  • History of impressive defense case results
  • Fluent in English, Spanish, and Tagalog

When the state wants to take away your driving privilege, come to us for all the defense you need. We know that without your driving privilege, your entire life can be disrupted, from education and occupation to personal matters. Not to mention the devastating effect a misdemeanor or felony conviction on your record can have on all facets of your life. We fight with a genuine sense of urgency to reflect to seriousness of your situation.

Call us at (714) 362-0157 to arrange a FREE case review.


A traffic citation issues for things like parking in a red zone or not fully stopping at a stop sign are a pain, but they aren’t exactly legal crises. Our law firm has focused our efforts on the defense of drivers who are facing more dire circumstances, such as misdemeanor and felony charges related to a traffic violation. This direction has further increased our determination and efficiency, allowing us to best represent our clients.

Some common traffic offenses we can defend include:
  • Hit and run: Being involved in a traffic collision and leaving the scene before you can be positively identified by others, or before providing current insurance information.
  • Excessive speeding: Driving in excess of 100 miles per hour on any road or highway in California. If an accident is caused while driving at such a high speed, you could also be charged with attempted manslaughter.
  • Reckless driving: Any driving behavior that you should reasonably understand to put yourself and others in immediate danger, like weaving between lanes while speeding, street racing, or drifting around corners.
  • Driving without insurance: If you drive without current insurance coverage, you could be fined hundreds of dollars. Charges can escalate if you are also involved in a crash without insurance.
  • Driving with a suspended license: It is a misdemeanor at minimum for driving with an inactive or suspended license in California, resulting in jail time and fines if convicted.
  • Operating a vehicle while under the influence of a drug or alcohol: Driving under the influence (DUI) charges are one of the most common and most serious brought against drivers in Orange County and the rest of Southern California.


There is no such thing as an indefensible criminal charge or traffic offense. With the guidance and representation of our Orange County traffic offense attorney, you can challenge any misdemeanor or felony charge brought against you, no matter what evidence the prosecution claims to have gathered for its case. Given our extensive history and record of winning case results, we are confident we can help you secure an optimal outcome for your own case, be it a charge reduction, case dismissal, or acquittal.

For high quality legal representation, call (714) 362-0157 today!

Orange County Probation Violation Attorney

Orange County probation violation attorney

Criminal charges are serious, and nobody wants to go to jail. Fortunately, some people convicted of a criminal offense in Orange County are granted probation instead of a jail or prison sentence. But what happens if you are accused of violating probation? It would help if you had our law offices to defend you.

An alleged probation violation is always serious. You could lose your probationary sentence and face a prison or jail sentence.

At Frances Prizzia Criminal Defense Lawyers, our experienced criminal defense attorney can defend your rights and fight to protect your probation sentence. Learn more about what to do if a probation violation occurs. Then, contact us for a case consultation.

Our Orange County Probation Violation Attorney Will Fight for Your Rights

Our Orange County probation violation attorney will fight for your rights

Are you facing a probation violation? Probation is when the court tests and supervises your behavior to see if you act as a law-abiding citizen. During this time, you will be held to strict rules and regulations.

If you fail to meet the terms and conditions set forth, they may be able to revoke the probation part of your sentence. This means that you could spend the remainder of your sentence incarcerated.

Accused Of Violating Probation?

Many different misdemeanor and felony crimes lead to a probationary sentence, a privilege not given to all convicted offenders. Judges often opt to have offenders serve out probation and serve another year in jail or prison as long as the individual abides by the rules.

You must attend a probation revocation hearing if you have been accused of violating your probation. To win over the judge at your hearing, you will need the assistance of an Orange County criminal defense attorney from our firm.


In the state of California, defendants who are convicted of violent crimes such as rape, burglary, kidnapping, or murder, will usually not be eligible for probation. When someone is permitted to serve misdemeanor probation, they are not required to meet with a probation officer.

Rather, you could be asked to have periodic progress reports when you appear in court to check-in. In most misdemeanor cases, probation lasts anywhere from one to three years, five years in more severe cases.

Every criminal case is different because the power to impose probation terms and conditions is left up to the judge's discretion. Whether you have been convicted of assault, battery, theft, domestic violence, or drug crimes, you must take your probation seriously.

In a misdemeanor case, you could be held to any one of the following requirements:

If you are convicted of a felony probation, you can be sentenced to count prison or jail. Unfortunately, the judge could send you back for the maximum term.

Are you looking for a lawyer for probation violations in Orange County? The judge can decide on the punishment if you are pronounced guilty at your probation violation hearing. All probation violations are punished harshly due to existing criminal history.

When deciding your punishment, the judge will consider your criminal history, the severity of the violation, and the length of your probationary sentence.


When you are released or allowed to serve your sentence on probation, you must work diligently to abide by all the terms and conditions the judge has set forth.

Our firm has handled countless probation violation cases, and these cases are commonly brought forth due to one of the following:

Consequences of a Probation Violation

Consequences of probation violation

Violating probation can lead to severe consequences, potentially more serious than the original sentence. The court has broad discretion in deciding what happens next, which could include extending probation, adding stricter conditions, revoking probation, and imposing jail time.

Potential Penalties and Legal Outcomes

When someone violates their probation, the court may consider several penalties. These can range from a warning for minor violations to revocation of probation for more severe or repeated violations. The judge might also decide to increase the probation period, impose additional fines, or require participation in community service or rehabilitation programs.

In cases of serious violations, the court could order the person to serve the original jail sentence that probation had initially replaced.

If probation is revoked, the individual may be required to serve the remaining time of their original sentence in jail or prison. The specifics of the penalties largely depend on the violation's nature, the individual's history of compliance, and any mitigating circumstances presented by the defense.

Courts also consider the original crime's severity when determining the outcome of a probation violation. Legal representation is critical in these situations to mitigate the consequences as much as possible.

The Importance of Addressing Violations Promptly

Addressing the accusation immediately is important if you're accused of violating probation. Ignoring the situation or delaying action can be perceived as a lack of responsibility or acknowledgment of the violation, potentially leading to harsher penalties.

Promptly consulting with an attorney can help you understand the charges against you and prepare a defense. An early response may also provide more options for resolving the violation in a way that minimizes its impact.

Legal Strategies for Defending Against Probation Violations

Steps To Follow After an Accusation of a Probation Violation

Steps to follow after an accusation of a probation violation
  1. Contact your probation officer. Discuss the accusation with your probation officer to understand the specifics and express your intention to address the issue.
  2. Consult with a probation violation attorney. An experienced attorney can provide legal advice tailored to your situation and begin developing a defense strategy.
  3. Gather documentation and evidence. Collect any documents or evidence that support your case or explain the circumstances leading to the alleged violation.
  4. Avoid further violations. Make every effort to comply with all other terms of your probation to demonstrate your commitment to following the court's orders.
  5. Prepare for the hearing. Work with your attorney to prepare your testimony and defense for the probation violation hearing.
  6. Consider remedial actions. If appropriate, take remedial actions such as enrolling in additional counseling or treatment programs to show your commitment to rehabilitation.
  7. Attend all scheduled court dates. It is essential to be present and punctual for court proceedings, in addition to demonstrating due regard for the court's procedures.

The Role of a Probation Violation Attorney

A probation violation attorney plays a critical role in defending against accusations of probation violations. They provide expert legal advice, represent you in court, and work to minimize the consequences of the violation.

An experienced attorney understands the complexities of the legal system and can navigate the proceedings effectively, presenting a strong defense on your behalf.

Contact Our Orange County Probation Violation Attorney for a Case Consultation

Contact our Orange County probation violation attorney for a case consultation

Need a lawyer for a probation violation case in Orange County? At the Frances Prizzia Criminal Defense Lawyers, we defend against austere crimes daily. This is all we do, and we are dedicated to protecting the rights of the accused in Southern California.

If you or someone you know is facing probation violation charges, then your freedom is once again at risk, and you could end up spending the remainder of your sentence in a county jail or a state prison.

Our firm has a record of success with past clients, and we will do all we can to help you achieve a positive outcome in your case. An assertive criminal defense lawyer can protect you against the prosecution at the probation violation hearing, so consult an attorney as soon as possible.

Are you facing a probation violation? Take immediate legal action. Contact the Law Office of Frances Prizzia today for your free consultation!


Recently, the voters of California passed a ballot initiative called Proposition 47. The goal of Proposition 47 is to reduce the severe overcrowding of our state's prisons. In order to do this, Prop 47 changes some minor, non-violent criminal offenses from felonies to misdemeanors, which affects the sentences for these offenses.

The maximum adjusted sentence for a nonviolent crime is now only one year. Additionally, this new law applies retroactively, so people who are currently serving a prison sentence relating to a crime affected by Prop 47 can petition for a new sentence. This may affect thousands of people currently in California jail, including you.


Prop 47 resentencing only pertains to non-violent offenses, and anyone with a criminal record of violent crimes will not qualify. State officials will be conducting a thorough examination of everyone who applies for resentencing to make sure there is nothing in their record that indicates they are a threat to others.

The types of offenses reclassified under prop 47 include:

There are also other types of non-violent crimes that qualify, so make sure you reach out to our firm to learn more about whether you qualify or not.


Many people are going to be applying for resentencing, and working with an Orange County criminal attorney may increase your chances of going through the process in a timely manner. At the Law Office of Frances Prizzia, we have helped numerous Californians from all walks of life. We can make sure everything about your petition is in order. Our goal is to give you the toolset to help chart a path to a brighter future.

We have received numerous accolades over the years, including:

  • 10.0 Superb rating on Avvo
  • The National Trial Lawyers' Top 100 Trial Lawyers recognition
  • Avvo Clients' Choice of Awards.

To get more information about Prop 47 and whether you can qualify for resentencing, please get in touch with our team today. We happily offer free, no-obligation consultations.

Call us today or
our online contact form
to request yours!


Orange County Juvenile Crime Attorney


Need an attorney for a juvenile crime case in Orange County? Juveniles, persons under the age of 18, can run afoul of the law without considering that they could face very serious legal problems when caught. Common juvenile crimes include shoplifting, malicious mischief, underage drinking, drug possession, truancy and curfew violations. Young people can make mistakes, sometimes serious ones. The juvenile court system treats minors differently than adults in order to educate and rehabilitate a young person to become a responsible adult.

Minors can be impulsive and shouldn't be harshly judged or severely punished for errors in judgment. It is far preferable if a case against a minor is heard in juvenile court instead of being tried as an adult. An Orange County criminal defense attorney with a strong background as a public defender provides the compassionate understanding and aggressive defense your child deserves.

Has your child been arrested for a juvenile crime?
Discuss their charges with us. We offer free and confidential consultations.


Minors can be accused of serious offenses which are typically thought of as adult crimes such as rape, murdermanslaughtertheft, and drug crimes. Prosecutors generally try to have serious criminal charges heard in adult court which should be fought aggressively. It is important to your child's future that every effort is made to keep the charges in the juvenile court system. We understand that you want the best for your child.

A juvenile crime defense lawyer at our firm has a thorough understanding of the juvenile court system and can fight to keep your child's case in the juvenile justice system where his or her rights will be protected. With many years of experience as a public defender working in both the juvenile and adult court system our goal is to achieve the most positive result for your child.


Children are the most vulnerable members of our society and as such deserve our support and protection. Our legal team believes that young people deserve a second chance. We investigate to gather facts and evidence the prosecution may not have and carefully prepare a defense strategy designed to protect your child's future. When your child needs an experienced and skilled Orange County criminal lawyer call Attorney Frances Prizzia.

Contact our firm for the guidance and defense you need if your child has been arrested
for a crime.

Orange County Expungement Lawyer

Orange County Expungement Lawyer

If you carry the weight of a criminal conviction, it can feel like a constant cloud that overshadows every aspect of your life. An expungement can be the fresh start you're looking for. Securing experienced legal representation from an Orange County expungement lawyer at The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia can make all the difference.

In California, expungement is one time of record cleaning. Expungement is covered under 1203.4, and expungement can make it easier for you to apply for a job, housing, and professional licensing. In this situation, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. We will review your Orange County criminal conviction, support you during this process, and help you clean your criminal record. Learn more about how we can help you below, and call us to schedule a case consultation.

Understanding How an Orange County Expungement Lawyer Can Help You

Understanding How an Orange County Expungement Lawyer Can Help You

As defined under California Penal Code Section 1203.4, expungement in California is a legal process that provides a type of relief for your record. It's important to note that expungement doesn't remove all traces of your conviction. Certain law enforcement agencies and courts can still access your old criminal records. In addition, you may be required to disclose your conviction when applying for public office or state licenses. Finally, certain felony convictions might not qualify for expungement. Familiarize yourself with the details below. Then, give us a call to start the process.

The Expungement Process in Orange County

There are a few steps involved in the expungement process in Orange County. The journey begins with the preparation and filing of the appropriate paperwork in court. This area of criminal law can be complicated, so you need an experienced lawyer. The process includes:

This process can be daunting, but understanding each step can make it seem less overwhelming. Remember, an experienced expungement lawyer can provide valuable guidance. With our help, we may be able to provide you with relief from your conviction. Contact our law firm for a consultation, and let us see if we can clean your criminal record.

The Timeline of the Expungement Process in Orange County, CA

When it comes to expunging a conviction in Orange County, understanding the timeline is an integral part of the process. Several factors contribute to the duration of this process. This includes case complexity and court backlog. A few key steps include:

Keep in mind that while this timeline provides a general idea of the process, each case is unique. With the help of a knowledgeable attorney, you can streamline the process. Rely on our law office to help you.

Eligibility Requirements to Expunge a Criminal Record

Eligibility requirements to expunge a criminal record

In order to be eligible for expungement in California, you must meet several requirements. They include:

If you meet these requirements, you may be a candidate for expungement.

Crimes Ineligible for Expungement

In California, the law offers hope for those with certain types of criminal convictions. But, it's important to understand that not every criminal offense is eligible for expungement. Certain serious sex offenses committed against children are usually excluded from the expungement process. A few examples of crimes ineligible for expungement include:

While the above list provides an idea of the crimes that are ineligible, it is by no means exhaustive. Navigating the complex legal landscape of expungement can be challenging, but a skilled attorney can help understand the intricacies of these laws and evaluate the potential for expungement in your specific case. Keep in mind that while some crimes may not be expunged, other legal avenues might be available for relief. We can review the California penal code to see if your record qualifies for expungement. If so, we will guide you through the process.

Commonly Expunged Crimes in California

Commonly expunged crimes in California

Certain crimes are commonly expunged in California. These offenses generally include those that are not considered violent or serious felonies. If you have completed probation successfully, you may also be eligible for expungement. Take a look at a few examples of criminal expenses we might be able to expunge on your behalf.


Theft crimes can often be cleaned in California. This usually includes petty theft (such as shoplifting) or grand theft (involving higher-value items). This provision applies when the offender has fully served their sentence. This includes successfully completing their probation period. It's also critical that they have no new criminal charges pending. Having a theft conviction expunged can remove a lot of hurdles. This may make it easier to apply for jobs or housing. It could lessen the stigma associated with a criminal record.


Fraud offenses may be eligible for expungement under California law. This may include credit card fraud, insurance fraud, and check fraud. You will need to complete all court-ordered requirements. This includes fines, restitution, community service, or probation. Furthermore, the individual seeking expungement must not be serving a sentence for a different crime. You cannot be facing new charges, either. Having a fraud conviction expunged can open doors that might have been previously closed due to the conviction.

Possession Charges

Drug possession charges are frequently eligible for expungement in California. This includes those related to personal use. This encompasses charges for possession of controlled substances like cocaine or methamphetamine. This may also include charges for drug paraphernalia. You must have served your full sentence to be eligible for expungement. This includes your probation terms. Remember, you cannot be facing any new charges, either. Expungement of possession charges can reduce barriers to employment and education opportunities.


DUI convictions are among the most commonly expunged offenses in California. This trend often occurs because DUIs frequently involve first-time offenders. Again, you must have completed your sentence, including any probation. Furthermore, you cannot have any pending criminal charges. Expunging a DUI can help those affected regain control of their life, removing a major obstacle in their path to personal and professional success.


Prostitution convictions can indeed be expunged in California. To qualify, the individual must have completed their probation and fulfilled all court-ordered requirements, such as fines or counseling. Furthermore, they should not be involved in any new criminal activity. The expungement of a prostitution conviction can alleviate the negative social stigma and professional barriers associated with this offense.


In California, cases of simple assault, meaning situations where no serious injury occurred, can potentially be expunged. This possibility exists provided that the convicted individual has fully met all conditions of their sentence, including probation, and doesn't have new criminal charges pending. Expungement of an assault conviction can allow individuals to move forward with their lives without being continuously hindered by past mistakes.

Benefits of Clearing Your Record in Orange County

Clearing your criminal record carries several significant benefits that can greatly enhance your quality of life.

Employment Purposes

In the modern job market, having a criminal history can pose significant challenges. Many employers, in their due diligence, conduct criminal background checks as part of their hiring process. When a potential employer sees a criminal record, it may raise concerns about trustworthiness, responsibility, or liability, often leading to reluctance to offer employment.

Furthermore, certain industries are particularly sensitive to specific kinds of convictions. For instance, a theft conviction might be problematic when applying for roles that involve handling money. By having your record expunged, you can present yourself to potential employers without the cloud of a past criminal conviction, improving your chances of securing employment.

Obtaining a State License

If you need a state license in California, an expunged conviction can make the licensing process easier. Often, these professions require applicants to undergo a criminal background check. An unexpunged conviction could potentially lead to a denial of the application or other licensing difficulties.

However, with an expunged conviction, the offense is effectively dismissed, which could make it easier for you to obtain licensing you need for certain professional industries. This can significantly streamline the process, reducing the potential for delays or obstacles in obtaining a professional license.

Prevent Immigration Consequences

For non-citizens in the United States, a criminal conviction can have severe immigration consequences. Consequences could include being denied citizenship during the naturalization process. Some might even face deportation. These outcomes can have devastating impacts. This could separate families or force individuals to leave their established lives in the U.S.

By having a criminal record expunged, non-citizens can often mitigate these risks. Expungement does not erase the crime completely for immigration purposes. But, it can be a positive factor in immigration proceedings. So, it's always recommended to consult with an experienced attorney who understands both criminal and immigration law.

What a Section 1203.4 Expungement Does Not Do

Despite the relief brought about by the dismissal of a conviction under California Penal Code 1203.4, certain restrictions may still apply:

For some of the issues mentioned above, there may be other post-conviction relief pathways available, such as acquiring a Certificate of Rehabilitation in California or obtaining a Governor's Pardon.

Other Types of Conviction Relief

As mentioned at the top, expungement is only one type of record cleaning. Other types of record cleaning are available, including:

We will cover these in other sections.

Contact Our Orange County Expungement Attorney at The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia for a Case Evaluation

Contact our Orange County expungement attorney

Carrying a misdemeanor or felony conviction can have far-reaching effects on your life. Don't let your past mistakes dictate your future. Reach out to our experienced Orange County expungement lawyer at The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia for a case evaluation. We understand the nuances of the expungement process and will work diligently to give you the fresh start you deserve. Even if you plead guilty and spend time in state prison, your criminal case may still qualify for expungement. Contact us today to schedule a case consultation.

Orange County Disturbing the Peace Lawyer

Orange County disturbing the peace lawyer

Peace is a valuable thing. Many people spend their entire lives seeking it. It can be very distressing when someone does something to disrupt it, whether in a public place or at home. Loud and unreasonable noise is one of the primary culprits that disrupt peace, whether it invades the person's home space or in a public area.

Fighting or using offensive or abusive language in a public area also disrupts the peace that the people in that space are entitled to. They are disturbing the peace.

Most people are well aware of the term "disturbing the peace" but may not realize that it is a valid legal term – or that it is considered to be a crime. Those that do know it is a crime may not understand the legal ramifications of the act.

It can carry penalties that include not only a fine but also putting you behind bars in the county jail. A disturbing peace conviction can remain on your criminal record.

If you have been arrested for peace-disturbing behavior, here's what you need to know.

Experienced Representation From a Disturbing the Peace Lawyer

Experienced representation

If you have been arrested for disturbing the peace, you need to secure legal representation quickly. It may not seem like much to you, but these types of offenses stay on your criminal record, and they can put you in a bad light when prospective employers or landlords check you out. It can make you look unstable or give the impression that you are a troublemaker – neither of which is a favorable attribute for a tenant or employee.

At The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we understand how even a misdemeanor criminal conviction can negatively impact your future. That is why we are dedicated to fighting for your rights and working tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome for your case. We have the experience, knowledge, and skill to effectively handle your case.

So, if you are facing charges for violating California's disturbing the peace laws, call us first. We are in your corner, and we will fight for you.

California Penal Code 415: Disturbing the Peace

California Penal Code Section 415: Disturbing the Peace establishes penalties for three types of actions that are legally cited as being peace-disturbing behavior:

  1. Any individual who engages in an unlawful altercation or provokes someone else to fight in a public setting.
  2. Any person who maliciously and willfully provokes another individual by loud and senseless racket.
  3. Any individual who utters offensive language in a public setting is inherently inclined to incite an immediate violent response.

The offense of disturbing the peace can result in either an infraction or a misdemeanor charge. How the offense is charged depends largely on the seriousness of the act. It also determines the severity of the penalties.

Elements of Disturbing the Peace Offense in Orange County

For each type of behavior, the prosecutor, usually the district attorney or assistant district attorney, must prove specific factors in order to get a conviction.

Penal Code §415(1) – Fighting in Public

In order to prove a charge of disturbing the peace by fighting or challenging someone to fight, the prosecutor must establish all three of these elements about the defendant:

This can include making criminal threats against someone that would incite a violent reaction from them. This can lead to more serious crimes like assault and battery or domestic violence crimes.

Penal Code §415(2) – Loud and Unreasonable Noise

In order to prove a charge of disturbing the peace by causing loud and unreasonable noise, the prosecutor must establish these elements about the defendant:

While this includes making loud or unreasonable noise, it also involves a malicious intent component. Making unreasonably loud noise is not necessarily the issue. The intent behind it can increase it to a misdemeanor charge. Playing loud music is a significant part of it, but any source of malicious noise that is unreasonably loud may, at the very least, warrant an infraction.

Penal Code §415(3) – Using Offensive Language

In order to prove a charge of disturbing the peace by using offensive language, the prosecutor must establish these elements about the defendant:

In today's society, many people don't necessarily see the use of offensive language in public as disorderly conduct. However, California Penal Code Section 415(3) says that it is, and it can definitely incur criminal charges. This can include racial or ethnic slurs, as they are certainly offensive and likely to provoke violence. While we do have a right to free speech, we all also have a right not to be attacked or demeaned because of our gender or race.

Legal Process and Procedures for Disturbing the Peace Cases in Orange County

Legal process and procedures for disturbing the peace cases

The Orange County legal system has certain procedures for processing criminal cases, like disturbing the peace.

A. Arrest and Booking Procedures – When a person is arrested, the police officer takes him to jail. The defendant is released because the prosecutor does not file charges, makes bail or is released on their own recognizance, or remains in jail.

B. Arraignment and Plea Options – The first time the defendant appears in court is at the arraignment. This is where the judge informs the defendant of the charges against them, their constitutional rights, and that they have the right to an attorney.

At that point, the defendant enters a plea in answer to the charges against them. They can plead guilty, not guilty, and no contest. No contest is the same as not guilty, but if a civil lawsuit is brought against the defendant in relation to the crime they are convicted of, the conviction cannot be used in that suit.

C. Pre-Trial Motions and Discovery Process – After the arraignment, both sides begin preparing for the trial. They exchange information, including evidence, in a process called "discovery." Either side can file pre-trial motions during this time, which can include a motion to dismiss the case, a motion to set aside, or a motion to prevent the use of certain evidence at the trial. The defendant can also change their plea at this time.

During this time, the lawyers and the judge may also meet to discuss how to resolve the case without taking it to trial.

D. Trial Procedures and Presentation of Defense - The jury is chosen before the trial begins, and the attorneys on both sides participate. The trial commences with opening statements presented by each party, and then they begin presenting their evidence and witnesses. Once all the evidence has been presented, each attorney gives their closing arguments. At that time, the jury deliberates to determine whether or not the defendant is guilty. It must be beyond a reasonable doubt if they find the defendant guilty.

E. Sentencing and Post-Conviction Options – The defendant will be sentenced after the jury returns the verdict. The judge will follow the guidelines set forth in the law, but sometimes he may exercise their authority to make some modifications by increasing or lessening the sentence.

After the trial, the defendant has the right to file an appeal. For misdemeanor cases, the defendant has 30 days from the date of the order or judgment to file the appeal. Certain requirements must be met. A criminal defense attorney is invaluable at this point in the process.

Alternative Resolutions for Disturbing the Peace Charges

Sometimes it is worth exploring alternatives to going to trial for your disturbing the peace trial in Orange County. Your attorney can help you with these, and it could mean you can avoid jail time or more.

A. Plea Bargaining and Negotiation Strategies – You and your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecuting attorney. Your lawyer will point out the options available to you and present the deal so that you can make a well-informed decision regarding whether to accept it or not.

B. Diversion Programs and Counseling Options – In some cases, certain programs may be available for you to attend in exchange for reduced jail time or in lieu of jail. Counseling may also be an option.

C. Expungement and Record Clearing Opportunities – After you've done your time, you may want to explore getting your disturbing the peace conviction expunged from your record. This is done on a case-by-case basis. Your attorney can help you.

Exploring Possible Defense Strategies

Exploring possible defense strategies

California Penal Code provides legal consequences for the crime of disturbing the peace. That includes imprisonment in the county jail for a maximum of 90 days, and in some cases, up to six months, a fine for a maximum of $400, or both. That is one reason that a solid defense strategy is so important.

There are several strategies that your defense attorney may pursue for you. Each is different, so choosing the most effective defense is done case by case. However, there are some common defenses for disturbing the peace. They are tailored to apply to the specific case.

Lack of Intent or Willful Disruption

Your attorney will show that you had no malicious intent behind the loud music or noise. Further, you were unaware that anyone else was or would be disturbed by it because no one approached you and requested that you turn it down – especially the person who made the complaint. If the person making the complaint without asking you to lower the noise, thus not giving you a chance to show that there was no malicious intent, the charge for disturbing the peace cannot stand.

If the charge is for inciting violence, you can claim that you did not carry out the act with intent, maliciousness, or willfulness. Your attorney will show that you reasonably believed your words did not have the likelihood to provoke an immediate, violent reaction, so you should not be found guilty of disturbing the peace.

Constitutional Rights Violation

Your attorney will show that the United States Constitution protected your behavior, so your charges for disturbing the peace should be dismissed. Suppose your conduct or words are found to be protected. In that case, you cannot be found guilty of disturbing the peace because doing so would violate your right to free speech that is granted to you under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the U.S. It is not a wrongful act if it is protected.

Insufficient Evidence

All criminal offenses require evidence in order for there to be a conviction. If the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to prove that you are guilty of the crime you are accused of committing, then you cannot be convicted. By claiming insufficient evidence, you are showing that there isn't enough evidence against you to prosecute.

False Accusations or Mistaken Identity

You might be falsely accused of disturbing the peace for many different reasons. You can show that the person falsely accused you of disturbing the peace is a disgruntled neighbor or jilted partner seeking vengeance against you. If you embarrassed or humiliated someone and they sought revenge against you by making a false claim about you.

If you felt that a law enforcement officer acted against you because they didn't like your attitude or the way you behaved so out of spite, they wrongfully arrested you.

Self Defense or Defense of Others

Your attorney will show that you fought solely to protect yourself or someone else. They will also show that you did not use more force than was necessary to protect yourself and that you found and still find that person to be a threat to you.

You cannot be convicted of disturbing the peace if you were defending someone else or yourself, but your claim of self-defense must meet certain criteria:

Contact The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia Today for a Case Consultation With Our Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Contact the Law Office of Frances Prizzia today for a case consultation

If you have been arrested for disturbing the peace in Orange County, you are going to need an experienced defense attorney who will defend your cause and ensure the protection of your right. This criminal charge can be serious because the prosecutors will be throwing everything they have at you to show you were acting maliciously and were intentionally playing music too loud, making too much noise, or unlawfully fighting.

But we will fight back when you have The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia in your corner. We will craft a solid defense strategy and stand with you every step from your first contact with our firm until trial and beyond.

Call today for your free consultation and get that peace of mind that comes with knowing you have strong, competent, knowledgeable, experienced, and aggressive legal representation. We're on your side, and we will fight for you.

FAQs About Disturbing the Peace Charges

If you can show that intent was not present when you were arrested for disturbing the peace, then it cannot stand up in court, and you will not be convicted. However, you may still be arrested. Your lack of intent will be shown and explained when you go before the judge.

The criminal charge of disturbing the peace can take a few weeks to resolve, or it can take months - even years. It really depends on the unique elements of your case.

You are not advised to try to handle disturbing the peace charge yourself. A good defense attorney is best equipped to handle your case and navigate the complex legal system. They are highly trained and skilled in criminal law and have the experience to handle whatever situations come out of your case. Not getting counsel to represent you could lead to charges for a more serious crime or more jail time.

It can. A misdemeanor disturbing the peace conviction can show up on your record.

Criminal Defense FAQs

Criminal Defense


Have you have been caught in the criminal justice system and accused of a crime? It is essential that you have a legal representative who believes in you and your cause. At the Law Office of Frances Prizzia, we take on cases because we are committed to defending those who need it the most. In fact, we feel there is no greater obligation than protecting the rights of those who are facing criminal charges.

Call us today for a free case evaluation: (714) 362-0157!


In the past decade, our firm has seen important successes in a number of criminal cases. We attribute this to Attorney Prizzia's hands-on approach to defense and her unrelenting passion for representing those who are facing criminal charges. Just a few of our many acquittals, dismissals, and positive dispositions are listed below. Visit our case results page to read about even more of our legal victories.


Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges, our team is more than capable of defending your case in a court of law through negotiations and litigation. We will do investigative research, interview key witnesses and gather the evidence needed to support your case and slowly dismantle the prosecutor's defense. Our firm provides zealous and dedicated legal representation to clients facing all types of criminal charges.


Have you been charged with a drug crime? Whether you are facing a misdemeanor possession charge or a felony offense for sales or distribution, our attorneys can build a strong defense. We can also protect your driving privileges and your future if you've been arrested for DUI or any other traffic offense.


Perhaps you have been charged with a theft crime. From misdemeanor shoplifting to serious felonies such as robberyburglary, or carjacking, our attorney handles the full gamut of theft charges. Our successful verdicts span a wide range of theft crimes, including white collar crimes such as embezzlement and fraud.


Violent crimes are some of the worst charges you can face. If arrested for manslaughter or even murder, you need a criminal defense attorney who can give you peace of mind. Our firm has a reputation for success, even in difficult cases. No matter how serious your charges, we can strive to give best possible fighting chance.


Our expertise encompasses various other aspects of the law. If your child has been arrested for a juvenile crime, we are ready to represent them . Similarly, we can provide the defense you need when there is a warrant out against you and. Give us a call regarding any criminal matter to learn how we can provide the services you need.


We know how important it is that you have a defense lawyer who will pour all their energy into your defense, seeking out every possible option for you. When we agree to take on a client, they get the full focus and attention of our legal team. The court system in our area is extremely tough, and you'll need an Orange County criminal defense lawyer who will go the distance for you and believes in you.

When facing a criminal charge, there is no substitute for real commitment to your case. We have extensive trial experience and know how to pursue the best possible defense options for our clients. When you work with us, we will attempt to secure an optimal result for your case.

We may employ any of the following tactics to improve your odds of a favorable outcome:

  • Negotiations
  • Plea bargains
  • Litigation

In many cases, we fight for a full acquittal in court. Our lead attorney, Frances Prizzia, is a former public defender and a "true believer." When her firm takes your case, you have a talented trial lawyer who will tirelessly protect your rights and fight for every possible advantage for you from the moment we begin your defense.

Contact our office to speak with a Newport Beach
criminal defense lawyer at once if you have been charged with a criminal
offense. Call (714) 362-0157 today to get started!

Our criminal defense firm serves clients in Newport Beach and throughout Orange County. We also serve clients in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Ventura counties.