After 14 years as an Orange County domestic violence attorney I can attest that it is quite common for domestic violence and vandalism to be charged together. Very often domestic battery (penal code section 243(e)(1)) and corporal injury (penal code section 273.5) cases will include a felony or misdemeanor count of vandalism. This is why it is important for us Orange County domestic violence lawyers to be familiar with the cadre of vandalism statues as well.
Vandalism Accompanying Domestic Violence
It is illegal under penal code section 594 to maliciously deface, damage or destroy the real or personal property of another. So, for example, during an argument Darren pushes his wife Victoria. Darren then drops her favorite vase on the floor, breaking it to pieces. The police will arrest Darren for domestic battery as well as either felony or misdemeanor vandalism, depending on the value of the vase. In this case, it is important for Darren’s San Juan Capistrano domestic violence attorney to be familiar with both domestic violence law as well as the body of law dealing with property crimes, such as vandalism.
Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help
In the example above, the DA cannot convict Darren of vandalism unless they can prove that you acted maliciously. If it was an accident or an act of thoughtlessness, then Darren cannot be convicted. That is why it is extremely important for a person arrested for domestic violence and vandalism to assert their right to a Huntington Beach domestic violence attorney BEFORE giving a statement to the police. In most cases it is the defendant’s own statement that is the strongest piece of evidence against them. However, it is extremely difficult for a person facing arrest to stay quiet. There is a natural tendency to try to talk your way out of being arrested for domestic violence. Unfortunately, giving a statement to the police without your Mission Viejo domestic violence attorney present usually results in a person talking their way into a conviction.
Challenges Faced By Domestic Violence Attorneys
When both the victim and the defendant have joint ownership of the property damaged by the defendant, that property is also subject to the vandalism statute. So, going back to our example above, if both Darren and Victoria own the vase destroyed by Darren, he will still face vandalism charges.
So, for example, if instead of breaking Victoria’s favorite vase, Darren punched a hole through the wall of their home, Darren will face vandalism charges even though he is part owner of the property he allegedly vandalized. Moreover, there is no requirement that the damage to the property be permanent. Defacing property means putting any kind of mark on it—whether permanent or not. How badly something is defaced or damaged will only decide how the act of vandalism is punished. This point is best argued by your Fullerton domestic violence attorney.
If the amount of damage, defacement or destruction to the property is $400.00 or more, the vandalism charge is a “wobbler” meaning it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor at the DA’s discretion. Felony vandalism is punishable by up to three years in the California prison. Misdemeanor vandalism is punishable by up to one year in Orange County jail . When a wobbler is charged, it is up to the DA and the court to determine whether to charge it as a felony or a misdemeanor. If the DA charges the vandalism as a felony, it is up to your Rancho Santa Margarita domestic violence attorney to convince the judge to reduce it to a misdemeanor.
Free Telephonic Consultation With An Experienced Orange County Domestic Violence Attorney
If you face charges for domestic violence, domestic battery, criminal threats or any other crime, call The Law Office Of EJ Stopyro at (949) 559-5500today for a free and confidential consultation with an experienced domestic violence attorney in Orange County. You can also visit our website at www.ejesquire.com. Our main office is at 32072 Camino Capistrano, 2nd floor, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675, but we have meeting offices throughout the county.