Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer

Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer

Orange County Domestic Violence Attorney

Domestic violence is a pervasive problem in California, and it often requires the skill set of an Orange County domestic violence lawyer to help resolve it. The family court system of Orange County, CA, strives to prevent domestic violence whenever possible and can provide protection to those who have experienced all types of domestic violence from their spouses, partners, and other close relations.

Best Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer

Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, has extensive experience handling a wide range of domestic violence cases on behalf of our Orange County clients. We understand the far-reaching effects these incidents can have on everyone involved and the legal implications they often carry in the family court system. Therefore, we not only acknowledge the suffering of victims but also the tragic consequences of false accusations of domestic violence.

At Quinn & Dworakowski, we provide legal services for both victims of domestic violence and those who have been falsely accused of domestic violence. Domestic violence issues can have profound and long-lasting consequences. Allegations of domestic violence are taken very seriously in Family Court and can impact both child custody and visitation. We are experienced and skilled trial attorneys, and our litigation talents serve us well in this area since the allegation of domestic violence frequently results in court hearings.

Domestic Violence Defined

Domestic violence or “abuse” in California is defined very broadly and is not limited to physical abuse. Family Code section 6203 and section 6320 define conduct constituting “abuse.” The important thing to know is that “abuse” in California family court may include conduct causing emotional abuse, particularly if such behavior occurs in the presence of children. For instance, conduct that a reasonable person would find “intrusive or disturbing,” even in the absence of physical hitting, can be abuse if it “disturbs the peace.” Conduct commonly referred to as “gaslighting” can be abuse under California law. Destruction of property can also be abuse.

Domestic Violence/Abuse Impacts Custody In Family Court

California law creates a presumption against awarding sole or joint custody to a parent who has committed “abuse” against the other parent, even if the abuse does not occur in front of the child. Unless the presumption is successfully rebutted, an award of custody to the abusing spouse is considered detrimental to the best interests of the children, and custody will not be awarded to that parent. Thus, it is critical that if you are the victim of abuse, or someone wrongly accused of abuse, that you do everything possible to protect your custody rights in family court. The attorneys at Quinn & Dworakowski are experienced trial attorneys and have decades of experience handling family court cases involving allegations of abuse.

Why Do I Need an Orange County Attorney Experienced in Domestic Violence?

Legal counsel is an invaluable asset in any court case, which is especially true for the family court system. The outcome of a family law case can potentially influence the lives of the parties involved for years to come or even permanently. Domestic violence is unique in that these cases typically touch on various aspects of the law. When a party commits domestic violence, they will face criminal prosecution. They may also face civil liability for damages caused to their victim. Domestic violence cases can also generate complex and emotionally charged family court proceedings.

When you are facing either side of a domestic violence case in Orange County, you need reliable legal counsel on your side that you can trust to guide you through your proceedings as efficiently as possible. An experienced Orange County domestic violence attorney can help you determine the best approach to asserting your rights in the legal system, whether you are a victim or a falsely accused defendant. Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, has experience on both sides of domestic violence cases and strives to secure the best possible outcome for every client we represent.

What is Domestic Violence?

“Domestic violence” is a somewhat nebulous term that can apply in many situations. While many domestic violence incidents align with criminal offenses listed in the California Penal Code, the term “domestic violence” is generally used to indicate that a criminal incident has occurred between members of the same family or household. In addition, under California state law, domestic violence may occur whenever various close relations are involved, such as:

  • Married, divorced, separated, or unmarried parents.
  • Parents and/or stepparents and their children and/or stepchildren.
  • Extended relatives such as siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.
  • Current or former romantic partners.
  • Current or former roommates and housemates.

It is important to note that the parties involved do not necessarily need to live together for an incident to qualify as domestic violence. However, most domestic violence cases in California pertain to parties who share the same household. Therefore, whenever violence, sexual abuse, criminal threats, or emotional abuse occurs within closely related parties such as these, the term “domestic violence” will likely apply to such situations.

When a criminal incident qualifies as domestic violence, the party responsible will likely face harsher penalties than what they would face for standard offenses. For example, threatening another person with bodily harm is a simple assault in California. Making the same threat against a family member or household qualifies as a domestic assault. Hitting another person in public typically constitutes battery. Hitting a family or household member qualifies as domestic battery.

What Is a Plea Deal?

It is not uncommon for domestic violence cases to not go to trial. There are many times when a plea deal is agreed upon. A plea deal is an agreement between the defense and the prosecution. With a plea deal, the defendant is pleading guilty to the crimes or abuse presented in exchange for a reduction of consequences. Whether it is the details of the restraining orders or the fines imposed by the court, these penalties could be somewhat reduced.

Plea deals are fairly common because they save the court and the prosecution time and money, not having to go through a long trial. However, plea deals are not the right option for everyone, especially as the defendant would be admitting guilt. A defense attorney with the knowledge and acumen to assess the situation and provide quality advice on what to do is essential in these situations.

Length of Domestic Violence Cases

Domestic violence cases can drag on for years, or they can be finalized in a few months. It depends on the circumstances and the particular details of the case. Cases can drag on depending on the availability of evidence and how long it can take to acquire that evidence. It also depends on the cooperation of all the parties involved, including the witness, prosecution, and defense.

There are many forms of domestic violence, including:

  • Physical assault and battery. The penalties for these incidents typically hinge on the extent of the damage done to the victim and whether any weapons were used.
  • Sexual abuse, molestation, and sexual battery. Penalties for domestic violence of a sexual nature can lead to long-term incarceration and permanent sex offender registration.
  • Neglect of a minor child. Any parent or guardian who fails to address a minor child’s basic living needs likely faces child endangerment charges and will almost certainly lose any custody or guardianship rights they may have had.
  • Stalking and harassment. Following someone, peering through their home windows, and cyberstalking can cause reasonable fear of harm to the target, and California has strict laws prohibiting these behaviors.
  • Making criminal threats. Domestic violence does not necessarily need to be physically harmful to qualify for prosecution or family law proceedings. However, emotional abuse, or causing family or household members to fear for their safety all constitute domestic violence under California law.

Domestic violence happens every day in many ways throughout California. As a result, victims must know how to exercise their legal rights and take advantage of the legal protections available to them. In addition, those falsely accused of committing domestic violence must understand the importance of defense representation and how to navigate the complicated legal proceedings they face in these situations.

Important Information for Victims of Domestic Violence in Orange County, CA

When you or a loved one has suffered domestic violence, it’s vital to understand the legal protections in place that can protect you and prevent further harm. Protective orders, typically referred to as restraining orders, can prevent an abuser from coming near a victim, their home, or their workplace and inflicting further harm. When the police respond to a domestic violence incident in Orange County, they have a legal duty to ensure the alleged victim is not left vulnerable to more abuse. The police will typically remove the aggressor from the situation, arresting and booking them if the evidence of their actions is readily apparent. In addition, the police often work with victims to help them secure temporary restraining orders immediately after these incidents.

A temporary restraining order will last until a court hearing for the incident. The alleged aggressor may remain in police custody until the court hearing or be removed from the home and compelled to live elsewhere until the hearing. The judge will review the evidence and testimony at the hearing to determine whether the protective order should transform into a permanent restraining order

Victims of domestic violence may face additional legal proceedings beyond their restraining order-related hearings. For example, victims may need to submit to depositions and testify in criminal cases against their abusers. Domestic violence also often leads to family court proceedings as well. For example, if a person suffered abuse at the hands of their spouse and the couple has children together, the spouse who committed the domestic violence would likely lose all child custody and visitation rights they had and face divorce proceedings. Ultimately, domestic violence has far-reaching consequences. Victims are best served when they have legal counsel they can trust to guide them through the problematic proceedings their cases often entail.

top rated orange county domestic violence attorneys

Important Information for Those Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence

While the domestic violence laws of California exist to protect victims and prevent further harm when someone has suffered abuse at the hands of a family member or member of their household, some people, unfortunately, attempt to take advantage of these laws and file false accusations. Some people file false domestic violence claims to gain a legal advantage in a divorce or child custody case. For example, a married spouse may claim their spouse engaged in domestic violence and then attempt to assert the false claim as grounds to secure a better divorce settlement or full custody of their children.

Unfortunately, the law can often appear one-sided to someone who has been falsely accused of domestic violence in Orange County, CA. The police have a legal duty to protect the alleged victim. However, they may not be able to immediately discern whether the alleged victim is telling the truth. Many domestic violence incidents reduce to one party’s word against the other’s, and the police are legally obligated to side with victims in these cases. It can feel incredibly unfair and distressing to be removed from your home and faced with a protective order for something you did not do.

One of the most common types of false accusations of domestic violence is when the aggressor accuses the victim of initiating the conflict when the victim acted in self-defense. The actual victim may not be able to prove the truth of the matter in this situation, and this can be incredibly frustrating. However, it’s vital that if you find yourself in this situation, you comply with the directions of the responding police officers and the terms of the temporary restraining order likely to follow.

If you refuse to comply or violate a temporary protective order, you will face penalties regardless of whether you are innocent of the original domestic violence charge. However, if you comply and follow the rules, for the time being, you can work with an Orange County domestic violence attorney who can assist you in proving the truth of the matter, clearing your name, and holding the accuser responsible for lying about the situation.

Potential Penalties for Domestic Violence in California

California state law typically assigns similar penalties for domestic violence offenses as the standard criminal charges that would apply if the parties involved were not related. For example, simple assault and domestic assault may define relatively comparable actions and result in similar penalties. However, because a domestic assault falls within the purview of domestic violence, the penalty for domestic assault is likely to be greater than the standard penalty for simple assault in California.

In addition to criminal penalties, domestic violence cases also resonate through the family court system. For example, an individual convicted of domestic violence will likely face incarceration, fines, and restitution to the victim, but they will also likely face a host of family law-related penalties. A judge overseeing a child custody case involving a parent who has been convicted of domestic violence will be unlikely to award that parent any significant measure of custody rights.

If the spouse who committed the domestic violence must go to jail, the victim will likely receive the marital home and sole custody of their children, and it will be very difficult if not impossible for the guilty spouse to ever obtain custody or visitation rights in the future.

Understanding Domestic Violence on Your Personal Record

It is important to understand that in California if you are convicted of a domestic violence-related charge, it stays on your record permanently. It does not matter whether the charge is a misdemeanor or felony. If convicted, the charges will have a lasting impact on your life. For example, if you face other charges in the future, a domestic violence charge on your criminal record could cause those charges to be much more severe.

The charges will show on your permanent criminal record unless you have the charges expunged. Expungement is a legal process in which certain aspects of a person’s criminal record are removed. The offenses are sealed away, or they are erased altogether. To have a criminal charge expunged, it requires a formal petition, presentation of evidence, fees, and other items that an experienced domestic violence attorney could advise on.

How Do I Get a Domestic Violence Case Dismissed in California?

To get a domestic violence case dismissed often requires the assistance of a qualified domestic violence attorney. An Orange County domestic violence lawyer can provide California residents who may be facing situations involving domestic violence the help that they need. Domestic violence charges could be dismissed in circumstances in which the prosecutor did not present sufficient evidence against the accused.

Other instances in which charges could be potentially dismissed are if the victim retracts their story or if the subject witnesses decline to appear before the court. There are also plea deals that could be agreed upon by the defense and law enforcement that may reduce or drop the charges.

With the assistance of an experienced attorney, you could also submit a drop charge request to the prosecutor. This request letter outlines the argument for why you believe the charges should be dismissed. Hiring the right defense attorney who understands the different nuances of family violence law could be the largest contributing factor to the probability of getting your charges dismissed.

How Can an Orange County Domestic Violence Attorney Help Me?

Regardless of which side of a domestic violence case you find yourself in, it’s vital to secure legal counsel from a trustworthy Orange County domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. Your legal team can help you determine the best approach to your situation as a victim or the best defenses available as a falsely accused defendant. For example, if you were falsely accused of domestic violence but acted in self-defense, your attorney may consult a medical professional who can establish evidence that you sustained defensive wounds before taking any physical action to defend yourself. It’s also possible to obtain eyewitness testimony from parties who saw the incident occur to clarify precisely how the events unfolded.

Victims of domestic violence need legal representatives who know how to navigate difficult cases and secure the protective orders they need to feel safe again. Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, has extensive experience handling protective orders on behalf of clients in Orange County, CA. We have not only successfully secured protective orders for many victims in need of protection from their abusers but have also helped falsely accused defendants avoid enforcement of unjust protective orders and assisted them in clearing their names.

Whatever your case entails, it’s essential to speak with an Orange County domestic violence attorney as soon as possible. You will immediately need to deal with the local police and a temporary restraining order on either side of a domestic violence case. The sooner you can arrange for an experienced attorney to begin handling your case, the sooner you can start understanding your legal proceedings in greater detail.

Our firm has years of experience with divorce, child custody, and domestic violence cases, and whatever your situation entails, we will help you address your proceedings as effectively as possible. If you are ready to discuss your situation with an Orange County domestic violence attorney, contact Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, today and schedule your consultation with our firm.

Practice Areas

Family Law


domestic violence

Cohabitation Agreements

Postnuptial Agreement


Marital Dissolution

Legal Separation

Child Custody Visitation

child Support Modification

spousal Support Modification

Restraining Orders

Division of Assets

Work Place Protective Orders

Custody of Children with Special Needs


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