Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer

Law Offices of Frances Prizzia
Orange County domestic violence lawyer

The repercussions of a domestic violence accusation or conviction can be life-altering. Both your personal reputation and professional future could be at risk. At The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we believe everyone has the right to a vigorous defense. Our team of experienced Orange County domestic violence lawyers will work tirelessly to help you navigate the legal system, and we are committed to protecting your rights and interests every step of the way.

Domestic violence offenses are prosecuted vigorously under California law. That is why you need an OC domestic violence lawyer in your corner. Learn more about how we can help you below, and give us a call to schedule a case consultation.

How Can an Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer Help You?

How can a domestic violence lawyer in Orange County help you

When an alleged perpetrator inflicts corporal injury or some other offense classified as domestic violence against an alleged victim, they may face criminal charges for their actions.

A domestic violence case begins with an arrest. The prosecutor charges the defendant with the domestic violence crime they allegedly committed. This could lead to the defendant having a restraining order against them, they may be unable to see their children, and they could face time in the county jail.

The alleged perpetrator commits a criminal offense against an alleged victim who is within a specific relationship type as specified by the law:

  • Current spouse;
  • Former spouse;
  • Intimate partner;
  • Cohabitant in a home;
  • Former cohabitant in a home;
  • The individual with whom the person has a child;
  • Family members such as parents or siblings; or
  • The person the individual is in a dating relationship with.

Quite often, domestic violence and child abuse go hand in hand. An experienced domestic violence lawyer in Orange County can guide you through the complicated legal process, protect your rights, and work to mitigate the potential impact of the charges on your life. They can:

  • Thoroughly investigate the allegations against you: A dedicated Orange County criminal lawyer can help you dig into the details of the allegations against you, ensuring no stone is left unturned. This involves understanding the incident's context and the complainant's credibility and scrutinizing any evidence the prosecution presents. This thorough investigation is critical in building a solid defense strategy tailored to your situation.
  • Collect evidence to support your defense: An experienced attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence to bolster your defense, including eyewitness testimonies, audio and video recordings, or forensic evidence. They can also hire expert witnesses, if needed, to present or interpret complex evidence in court. This evidence could be vital to disproving the allegations against you, showing inconsistencies in the prosecution's case, or substantiating your defense claims.
  • Navigate the complexities of the court system: The court system can be confusing and intimidating, especially for those who are unfamiliar with it. An attorney can help you navigate this system, understanding your case's legal jargon, procedures, and timelines. Their expertise allows them to anticipate and manage potential hurdles, ensuring your case progresses smoothly.
  • Negotiate plea deals when appropriate: Plea bargaining can often lead to reduced charges or penalties and might be beneficial in certain cases. Your lawyer can assess the strength of the prosecution's case, the potential outcomes if your case goes to trial, and your personal circumstances to determine if a plea deal is in your best interest. If so, they can negotiate the plea bargain terms with the prosecutor on your behalf.
  • Advocate for your interests in court: In the courtroom, your attorney is your voice and advocate, presenting your defense convincingly and professionally. They can challenge the prosecution's evidence, cross-examine their witnesses, and argue legal motions to fight for your rights. Above all, they stand by your side, working relentlessly to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

Legal issues involving domestic violence are rarely straightforward. They often involve deeply personal issues, conflicting testimonies, and intense emotions. A skilled lawyer can help cut through the noise and ensure that your side of the story is heard.

Our Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyers Have Experience With Different Types of Cases

Our Orange County domestic violence lawyers have experience with different types of cases

Each domestic violence offense is categorized differently. A few common types of domestic violence charges include:

Spousal Abuse (California Penal Code § 273.5)

California Penal Code § 273.5 makes it a crime to harm or injure a spouse, cohabitant, or the parent of your child via physical abuse or any domestic abuse act.

Spousal Battery (California Penal Code § 243)

California Penal Code § 243 makes it a crime to inflict physical violence or use force on another person. To be considered battery, the act must meet three criteria:

  1. It must be illegal (i.e., not self-defense);
  2. Willful and with intent; and
  3. Committed against a spouse, ex-spouse, family member, or intimate partner.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse involves the use of physical force against another person that results in bodily injury or a threat to one's safety. It can range from shoving and slapping to severe assaults that result in significant injuries.

Accusations of physical abuse often rely on the presence of injuries, eyewitness accounts, and sometimes the accuser's testimony. However, such evidence is not always straightforward and can be challenged. We are experienced in these kinds of cases and know how to critically examine the prosecution's evidence.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is a less tangible form of domestic violence but can be equally devastating. It can include behaviors such as consistent criticism, humiliation, intimidation, or manipulation.

Emotional abuse cases can be complex due to the less visible nature of the harm inflicted. At The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we understand these complexities and work to ensure your defense takes into account the full scope of the situation.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse within a domestic relationship includes a broad range of unwanted sexual activities forced upon one partner by the other. This can range from unwanted touching to forced intercourse or other sexual acts.

These cases are often highly sensitive and require an experienced defense lawyer who can handle them with the necessary discretion and care. Our team has the knowledge and experience to handle these challenging cases and build a strong defense on your behalf.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is a form of domestic violence where the abuser uses money and financial tools to exert control over their partner. It can involve behaviors such as restricting access to funds, controlling all financial decisions, or preventing a partner from working.

Financial abuse cases require a deep understanding of both family law and financial regulations. Our lawyers have the necessary experience to handle these complex issues and provide you with a robust defense.

Child Abuse (Penal Code 273d)

Child abuse is considered a subset of domestic violence since domestic violence laws encompass all intimate, familial, and household connections.

A minor may submit a domestic violence charge against a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, temporary guardian, boyfriend or girlfriend of a parent, or any other household member. Yet, while California takes incidents of child abuse seriously, regular disciplinary actions are not considered domestic violence. A youngster cannot allege abuse when his parents spank or shout at him.

On the other hand, abuse situations can be used as a defense against domestic violence charges. If a parent believes that their spouse or partner poses a serious threat to their kid, then using force to stop the aggressor and protect the child may be justified.

Defending Against Allegations of Domestic Violence in Orange County

Each domestic violence case is unique and requires a personalized defense strategy. We could potentially argue:

False Allegations

Not all allegations of domestic violence are true. Sometimes the alleged victim has something to gain by falsely accusing the defendant. They may seek revenge, or there may be some advantage for them. If you know this is the case for you, you need to tell your attorney why you believe the alleged victim is doing it to you.

Accidental Injuries

Accidents happen. A person can fall, trip, or accidentally bump into you and get hurt. You could be engaged in consensual rough play or sex, and someone could get hurt. It is important to be completely honest with your attorney so that they can effectively defend you.

Acts of Consent

When two adults consent to sex or even rough sex play, which can include sadomasochism (S&M), that is not abuse or domestic violence as long as mutual respect and measures are in place to prevent harm.


If you are defending yourself against the other party’s attempt to inflict physical harm on you intentionally, that is self-defense. Of course, self-defense means using reasonable force, not excessive force.

Isolated Incident

Sometimes tensions rise, passions flare, and an incident that could be construed as domestic violence occurs. But acting out in violence after extreme provocation or something similar in a single act could be considered an isolated incident with extenuating circumstances.

Our experienced lawyers will take the time to understand your situation and develop a tailored defense strategy that fits your specific circumstances. Remember, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution, and we are here to ensure they are held to that standard.

Steps To Take When Accused of Domestic Violence in Orange County

Steps to take when accused of domestic violence

You might be flustered if you are accused of domestic violence in Orange County. You are probably wondering what to do next. There are some steps you should take, including:

  • Do not engage with your accuser: If you've been accused of domestic violence, avoiding direct contact with your accuser is crucial. This includes in-person encounters, phone calls, text messages, and even indirect contact through mutual friends or family. Engaging with your accuser could escalate the situation, lead to further accusations, or even result in additional charges, such as violation of a protective order.
  • Do not discuss the allegations with anyone, including on social media: While it might be tempting to defend yourself publicly or seek support from friends and family, discussing the allegations with anyone can potentially harm your case. Anything you say, including online posts or messages, could be used against you in court. Instead, confide in your attorney, who can provide advice based on a thorough understanding of the law and your case specifics.
  • Contact an experienced domestic violence attorney immediately: Time becomes a critical factor once accused. An experienced domestic violence attorney can start building your defense, preserving vital evidence, and guiding you through the legal process. Their immediate involvement can help protect your rights and gives you the best chance at a favorable outcome.
  • Document everything related to the allegations: Keep detailed records of any interaction or event related to the allegations, such as text messages, emails, or eyewitness accounts. This may also include documenting any physical injuries or damages and keeping track of dates and times of relevant incidents. These records could serve as critical evidence in proving your innocence or highlighting inconsistencies in the accuser's story.
  • Comply with any court orders: Failing to comply with court orders, such as protective or restraining orders, can lead to additional legal troubles. Even if you believe the order is unjust, it's essential to follow it until your attorney can challenge it in court. Non-compliance risks further legal consequences and could negatively impact the court's perception of you, potentially influencing your case outcome.

Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you in court. It is essential to have a lawyer who can guide you through the process and help you avoid potential pitfalls.

Difference Between Misdemeanor And Felony Domestic Violence In California

The most serious criminal offense level in California is a felony. They often carry harsh penalties and have lasting consequences for convicted felons. Misdemeanors are lesser offenses but can be punishable by as much as a year in the county jail.

Many factors go into determining a felony, such as the severity of the crime and if there was a significant loss to the victim, either financially or in bodily harm. Some crimes are called “wobblers” because they can be classified as either felonies or misdemeanors.

Some felonies may be reduced to misdemeanors, so having a good domestic violence attorney is important because they can sometimes help make that happen. While a plea bargain is not right for everyone, you should discuss it case-by-case with an experienced attorney. That is where we can help you.

What Are the Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction in Orange County?

What are the penalties for a domestic violence conviction

The penalties for domestic violence can include prison time, fines, and a mandatory domestic violence class. Felony domestic violence crimes carry harsher penalties than misdemeanor domestic violence crimes. Previous convictions of domestic violence and serious or aggravated domestic violence can incur additional or harsher penalties.

  • Felony domestic violence penalties may include:
    • Maximum of 4 years in state prison.
    • Mandatory domestic violence class.
  • Felony domestic violence with prior DV convictions within the past 7 years:
    • Maximum of 5 years in state prison.
    • Maximum fines of $10,000.
    • Severe bodily injury or death can increase the prison sentence.
  • Misdemeanor domestic violence penalties may include:
    • Maximum of 1 year in the county jail.
    • Maximum fine of $2,000.
    • Counseling.

It does not necessarily mean you will get the maximum sentence if you are convicted. But you need an experienced attorney who can position your case for the best possible outcome. We will work with you from start to finish, so reach out to us for a case consultation.

Misdemeanor Charge of Domestic Battery

Penal Code 243(E)(1) assigns the penalty for the crime of domestic battery as up to 6 months in the county jail, a fine of no more than $2,000, or both.

Felony Charge of Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Inhabitant

Penal Code 273.5 is a felony that carries the penalty of imprisonment for 2, 3, or 4 years in the state prison, up to 1 year in the county jail, or a fine not to exceed $6,000, or both imprisonment and fine.

Penal Code 273D Misdemeanor or Felony Charge of Child Abuse

Penal Code 273D is a felony that carries 2, 4, or 6 years in the state prison, up to 1 year in the county jail, and a fine of not more than $6,000, or both imprisonment and fine.

Contact The Law Offices Of Frances Prizzia For an Experienced Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer

Contact Frances Prizzia criminal defense lawyers

When faced with a domestic violence accusation, you need an advocate who will fight for you. The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality defense. Contact us today for a free consultation with an Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer and learn how we can help you..

Frequently Asked Questions

The length of a jail sentence for domestic violence in California varies depending on the offense's severity, prior convictions, and other circumstances. It can range from one year for a misdemeanor to up to four years for a felony.

Yes, a domestic violence case can be dismissed in Orange County if the prosecution cannot prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt, or if there are legal or procedural issues with the case. An experienced attorney can help identify these potential issues.

Domestic violence cases can involve various forms of physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. Each type of case comes with its unique challenges and requires a specific defense strategy.

The distinction between misdemeanor and felony domestic violence typically comes down to the severity of the offense and any prior convictions. Felony charges are more serious and come with harsher penalties.

The statute of limitations for domestic violence in California is five years.

California's three strikes law can lead to longer prison sentences for individuals who have prior serious or violent felony convictions. If a domestic violence charge is a third strike, it could result in a sentence of 25 years to life.

It's possible to go to jail for domestic violence in Orange County. Still, the outcome of your case will depend on various factors, including the severity of the offense, any prior convictions, and the strength of your defense. Hiring an experienced attorney is crucial to increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer Client Review

Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer

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5000 Birch Street, Suite 3000
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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Frances Prizzia Criminal Defense Lawyers


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