This offense is usually charged along with PC 242 or PC 273.5 when one party prevents another from leaving the room during an argument.
Under PC 594, vandalism includes defacing, damaging or destroying property that belongs to someone else. Courts have consistently ruled that a person is guilty of vandalism even when the defendant destroys his or her own community property. In California, "community property" includes almost everything that is acquired by either spouse during the time that they are married, regardless of who actually earned the money or purchased the item.
Here's a common situation: A & B are married in California. A is a lazy, worthless deadbeat. B works hard every day to bring home food and money to support the family. B purchases a TV for the house a week after they get married. One day, B gets tired of subsidizing A's lethargic lifestyle and B smashes the TV (that B purchased with the money that B earned). B is guilty of vandalism, because the TV was community property regardless of who actually earned the money and paid for it. In California, you can be convicted of domestic violence vandalism for breaking your own stuff.
Dissuading a Witness
Section 136.1 of the California Penal Code defines "intimidation of witnesses and victims". Preventing a witness from testifying in court or from reporting a crime to the police can be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of the case. A violation can be punished by up to four years in prison.
This is usually charged when one spouse tries to prevent the other from calling the police during or after an argument.
Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges
As mentioned above, domestic violence cases are complicated by their nature. People get emotional and they say things they don't mean. Those statements get misinterpreted, misquoted, exaggerated, and included in police reports. Overzealous prosecutors take those police reports and run with them. By the time cooler heads eventually prevail, the train might have left the station. Dad's in jail, he's been fired from his job, and the whole family is punished over an "incident" that may or may not have actually happened. Alleged victims are often reluctant to correct or retract their previous statements to police because they're afraid of being arrested for filing a false report.
An experienced, local criminal defense attorney can help put the pieces back together. We will gather the facts, analyze the evidence, speak with the witnesses, and help you understand your options. We will appear with you in court and negotiate with the DA to ensure that you aren't intimidated by the criminal justice system. We will stand by your side to protect your rights and to help you achieve the best result possible for your case.
If you or a loved one has questions about domestic violence in or around Orange County, call us for a free attorney consultation. (714) 449 3335. Ask for John. Thanks for reading.
Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer