Articles Posted in Domestic Violence


Many violent crimes have one common variable: anger. As a criminal defense attorney in Orange County, I have witnessed the role anger plays in violent crimes from domestic abuse to assault to murder. While most people are able to control their feelings of anger to some degree or another, those who commit violent crimes often do so because they do not have the ability to control their anger. While there is certainly a multitude of variables that plays into any violent crime, anger is almost always one of them. And according to an analysis conducted by psychiatrists at Oxford and Maastricht Universities, when anger is combined with impulsiveness, there is a substantially increased risk of a violent outcome. But we don’t need studies to tell us what we already know: many who commit violent crimes have a problem with uncontrolled anger.

That is where anger management comes in. One of the most common exhibitions of uncontrolled anger that ends in arrest is domestic violence and child abuse. A person convicted of either one of these offenses in Orange County will surely be required to attend anger management as a part of the sentence. The defendant so ordered would be wise to take these classes very seriously. Why? A felony domestic violence conviction is the single greatest predictor of a future violent crime. Domestic abusers, if they cannot get their anger under control, will often abuse again…. or worse.

When I get a call from someone who has been arrested for domestic violence, they often tell me that they were arrested for “Felony” domestic violence. What they don’t understand is that arresting agencies typically will call it a felony at the time of arrest, but it is up to the District Attorney whether or not they will file it as a felony or a misdemeanor.

As mentioned above, domestic violence can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony. When the district attorney is deciding how to file the case, they will look at the circumstances surrounding the incident, the relationship between the accused and the “victim”, the criminal history, if any, of the accused and the severity of the injuries, if there were any.

One of the more common arrests for domestic violence is for Penal Code 243(e). It involves battery upon a spouse, co-habitant, etc. This is a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. Another more common charge for domestic violence is Penal Code Section 273.5. This is a “wobbler” and can be filed either way. Arresting agencies typically will arrest a suspect for felony 273.5 but once it reaches the district attorney, will be reduced to a misdemeanor.