How to Address Domestic Violence Charges in Orange County

Have you been charged with a domestic violence crime?

We are Orange County’s leading criminal defense law firm. Our criminal defense attorneys can represent you in the event you have been charged with a domestic violence offense. The attorney you hire to represent you could be the single most important decision you make after you have been arrested. It is imperative that the criminal defense lawyer you choose is well-versed in the area of domestic violence and has the experience to back it up.

Let’s take a look at the definition of what is considered domestic violence in the state of California.

Domestic violence is when an individual commits a criminal act when one of the relationships below is met:

  • Spouse or formal spouse
  • Cohabitant or former cohabitant
  • Someone with whom the individual shares a child with – the other parent
  • Partner in a dating relationship

There are numerous charges that can be levied against a person when they are involved in a domestic violence event. They include several different types of battery charges that usually relate to the severity of the injuries inflicted on the alleged victim.

Even if the alleged victim does not sustain any visible injuries, under the law, they can still be charged with domestic battery. For example, if the alleged victim was pushed, but there are no marks on the body, this can result in a domestic battery charge. This is the least severe of the battery charges that one may face. The others are aggravated battery and willful infliction of corporal injury.


The penalties for being convicted of domestic abuse charges can vary. It will depend on what statutes the charges were filed under and if they are misdemeanor or felony charges. Some will involve a $2000 fine and probation or up to one year in jail. Others can include 2-4 years in state prison and additional jail time is possible depending on what other types of charges the prosecutor has brought against the defendant.

Often the defendant, if convicted, will be ordered to attend classes for domestic abusers as part of their sentence. The effects of a conviction can have far-reaching consequences. The person could lose their job and may find it difficult to get hired elsewhere, especially in a felony conviction.

A criminal defense attorney can work to get you the lightest sentence possible in the event of a conviction.


There are typically two types of defense arguments in domestic violence cases. The first is that the alleged victim made false accusations. Because the relationships in these situations are emotional in nature, it is very often the case, that people become upset and say things in the heat of the moment or to intentionally hurt the other party.

The second type is self-defense. If a person was defending themselves against an attack from the other person involved, that is not a crime. A criminal defense attorney is still needed however to present their argument in front of the court and have those charges dismissed based on their plea of self-defense.

Sometimes the defense against these charges is one of “accidental” violence. Let’s say a parent was harming a child and the other parent pushed them, in an attempt to stop the abuse. If the parent who was pushed was harmed, the defending parent can claim they were protecting their child. They did not intend to inflict harm, but it was incidental to the action of protecting another.

Restraining Orders

The state of California allows for the alleged victims of domestic violence to apply for emergency restraining orders or protective orders in both civil and criminal cases. Physical abuse does not have to be a factor to obtain a protective order, being fearful of being harmed or having suffered emotional abuse can be enough to get one.

Our Orange County criminal defense attorneys at the law offices of Robert J. Hickey, can represent you against any type of criminal charge including; drug, DUI, vandalism and violent felonies.