Corona Domestic Violence Attorney
Domestic violence is a devastating and alarmingly common public health crisis that impacts over ten million adults every year in the US and accounts for 15% of all violent crime. Research shows that one in four women in the nation and one in ten men will experience some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime, ranging from stalking and threatening to sexual assault and domestic battery. In fact, experts estimate that a domestic violence crime occurs every three seconds, and these crimes often result in personal injury and long-lasting psychological trauma, with the most severe incidents causing the victim’s death.
If they survive the abuse, victims are at heightened risk for serious mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorder. This risk is intensified for pregnant women, Alaskan Indian women, black women, and sexual minorities, as well as those living in poverty. Many times, family violence begins early in life. Sadly, the effects can extend far beyond the individual victim to result in generations of suffering. Even when they are not the target of this abuse, these children are particularly vulnerable to physical, mental, emotional, social, behavioral, and developmental problems that can haunt them for the rest of their lives.
If you or your children have experienced domestic violence, the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to contact a Corona domestic violence attorney for legal representation. Learn more about California’s domestic violence laws below, then get in touch with the Law Offices of Michelanne Hrubic today for the help and legal guidance you need.
What Is Domestic Violence?
According to the California Penal Code, “domestic violence” is defined as abuse or threats of abuse against an intimate partner. A defendant commits abuse when they intentionally or recklessly use physical force against an intimate partner or threaten to do so, but abuse can take various forms. The law considers the following behavior to be criminally abusive:
- Physically harming or attempting to harm someone, such as hitting, kicking, shoving, pulling hair, or throwing objects at them
- Committing sexual assault
- Causing someone to become reasonably afraid that they or someone else will be harmed
- Harassment, stalking, threatening, or making promises of harm
- Disturbing someone’s peace
- Destroying their personal property
An “intimate partner” can include any of the following people:
- A current or former spouse
- A current or former registered domestic partner
- A current or former fiancée
- A current or former live-in romantic partner (cohabitant)
- Someone with whom the defendant shares a child
- Someone the defendant is dating or was previously in a romantic relationship with
However, intimate partners aren’t the only ones vulnerable to domestic violence. The law recognizes this fact when dealing with family law matters. For the purposes of divorce and custody disputes, the California Family Code expands the definition of abuse to include additional family members who may be considered victims of domestic violence. This list contains any person related to the defendant by blood or marriage within the second degree, such as:
- A child of the defendant
- Brothers and sisters
- Step siblings
- Grandparents and grandchildren
- Aunts and uncles
- Nieces and nephews
It is crucial to remember that domestic violence does not refer only to physical violence but can also take the form of verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse. In most cases, abusers will implement various abusive tactics to control, intimidate, manipulate, and degrade the person being abused and stop them from seeking help. This can include preventing them from leaving the house, keeping them from spending time with friends and family or even harming the family pets. Domestic abuse often involves economic or financial abuse, as well, in which the abuser restricts the victim’s access to essential resources (food, clothing, shelter), prohibits them from managing their own bank account, or prevents them from furthering their education or career to limit their freedom of choice in the future.
What Domestic Violence Crimes Are Common in California?
Most crimes of domestic violence in California are considered “wobbler” offenses, meaning the prosecution can choose to charge the crime as either a misdemeanor or a felony. They make this decision based on the specific circumstances of the offense, the severity of the victim’s injuries, and the defendant’s prior criminal record. The only domestic violence crime in California that is always automatically charged as a felony offense is Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Inhabitant. The most common domestic violence crimes are listed below.
- Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Inhabitant (PC 273.5) – Inflicting a “corporal injury” that results in physical injury, regardless of the type or severity, is a felony offense punishable by up to one year in county jail to four years in California state prison.
- Domestic Battery (PC 243e1) – Inflicting force or violence on an intimate partner is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000 and/or up to one year in county jail.
- Child Abuse (PC 273d) – Inflicting an injury on a child or participating in corporal punishment beyond reasonable spankings that is cruel or causes injury is considered child abuse. The penalty for a first offense is up to one year in county jail or three years in state prison.
- Child Endangerment (PC 273a) – Willfully allowing a child under one’s care to suffer harm or endangering their health or safety is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to six months in county jail. If the child is at risk for great bodily injury, this crime can be charged as a felony.
- Child Neglect or Failure to Provide Care (PC 270) – Willfully failing to provide necessities to a child, including food, shelter, and medical care, is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000 and/or up to one year in county jail.
- Elder Abuse (PC 368) – Committing physical or emotional abuse, endangerment, neglect, or financial fraud of someone 65 years of age or older is considered elder abuse. The penalty for a misdemeanor offense is up to one year in jail, and the penalty for a felony offense is up to four years in state prison.
- Criminal Threats (PC 422) – Threatening someone with serious harm can be charged as a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail or as a felony punishable by up to four years in state prison.
- Stalking (PC 646.9) – Harassing someone to the point at which they fear for their safety or the safety of their family is criminal stalking. This crime can be charged as a misdemeanor and lead to up to one year in jail or a felony with a penalty of up to three years in state prison.
- Damaging a Telephone Line (PC 591) – Cutting or otherwise damaging a telephone line, often in an attempt to prevent the victim from calling for help, can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony conviction can result in a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or three years in state prison.
- Aggravated Trespass (PC 601) – Making a criminal threat and arriving at the victim’s home or workplace within 30 days after the threat to carry it out can be a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony carries the penalty of up to three years in county jail.
- Revenge Porn (PC 647j4) – Intentionally distributing photos of the victim featuring sexual content to cause emotional distress is considered a misdemeanor offense punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to one year in county jail.
- Posting Harmful Information on the Internet (PC 653.2) – This crime refers to posting, emailing, or otherwise sharing harmful information about a victim to prompt others to harass them, typically as a form of revenge in a domestic dispute. Also known as “indirect electronic harassment,” this is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or up to one year in county jail.
What Are the Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction?
The penalties of a domestic violence conviction include:
- A permanent criminal record that is accessible to employers, landlords, licensing boards, and other entities anytime a background check is conducted.
- Mandatory minimum jail time. Most counties in California will impose a minimum 30-day jail sentence for a defendant convicted of a domestic violence crime, including for misdemeanor charges or first offenses.
- Mandatory participation in a year-long “batterer’s intervention program” for treatment and counseling. This applies even if the defendant obtains “summary” or “formal” probation for their misdemeanor or felony charge as part of their sentence.
- Fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
- Restitution to the victim, including medical bills, mental health treatment, lost wages, and/or property damage resulting from the incident.
- Mandatory $500 contribution to fund California domestic violence programs.
- Loss of child custody rights. A criminal conviction is not required for the family law judge to determine the presence of domestic violence.
- Loss of the right to purchase, own, or operate a firearm in California. Most domestic violence crimes result in a ten-year ban on firearms conviction. However, certain convictions can lead to lifetime firearms bans, including Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Inhabitant or any offense qualifying as a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” (MDCD) under federal law. A defendant convicted of a felony offense in California, another state, or another county will be subject to a lifetime loss of firearms rights from both state and federal law, and these rights can only be restored with a Presidential pardon.
- Immigration consequences. Many domestic violence convictions are considered “aggravated felonies” or “crimes involving moral turpitude” under immigration law. A non-US citizen convicted of such crimes can be deported from the country and will be ineligible to apply for a green card or to become a legal citizen.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
A Corona domestic violence attorney can provide valuable support both in and out of the courtroom when you have been victimized by an abuser. An attorney can help you:
- Connect with resources in your community, such as helping you find a space in a local domestic violence shelter or obtain financial assistance for your legal fees
- File a petition for a restraining order to prevent future abuse
- Gather evidence to support your case, such as medical records, police reports, and witness testimony
- File for divorce and represent you during the hearing so you can avoid contact with your abuser
- Fight for full custody of your children to protect them from potential abuse
- File a personal injury claim to obtain compensation for grievous injuries you sustained from the abuse and any damages you incurred as a result, including medical bills, lost wages, and property damage
When Should I Get Help?
The following signs indicate that you are experiencing domestic violence and that you should seek help right away:
- You are afraid of your partner or what they will do.
- Your partner constantly criticizes, belittles, or humiliates you.
- Your partner tries to exert control over every aspect of your life, such as preventing you from seeing your friends or leaving the house.
- You intentionally avoid certain topics to prevent your partner from becoming angry.
- Your partner threatens to injure or kill you or your family members.
- Your partner has physically attacked you, such as hitting, punching, choking, slapping, pushing, or sexually assaulting you.
- Your partner “gaslights” you by pretending the abuse did not happen, making you question reality and your own perception.
- Your partner claims to be sorry after an attack, only to repeat the abusive behavior again in the future.
- Your partner threatens to commit suicide if you leave them.
- Your partner experiences a fit of rage where they destroy your belongings.
- You are hesitant to report the abuse out of fear of retaliation.
Get Help Now
If you have suffered any of the forms of domestic violence described above or are afraid for your safety or the safety of your loved ones, get help. First, find shelter for your family to get them out of immediate danger, then contact a Corona domestic violence attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Michelanne Hrubic, we provide comprehensive legal representation to help you overcome this difficult time and move forward with your lives without the constant fear and threat of violence. We offer dedicated, compassionate, and client-focused legal services to empower you with the information you need to make the right choices and aggressively advocate on your behalf in court.
Your abuser likely uses various tactics to make you feel isolated and convince you that your situation is hopeless. You may be confused, intimidated, and worried about the risks of coming forward. Know that you are not alone. Contact the Law Offices of Michelanne Hrubic today to stop the cycle of abuse and obtain the best outcome for you and your family.