Houman Fakhimi

California Domestic Violence Cases Spike During Holidays

Most people view the holidays as a time of goodwill and cheer.

But Newport Beach criminal defense Attorney Houman Fakhimi knows that the season can also can also give rise to child custody disputes, flaring tempers and domestic arguments. As it is, roughly 1 out of 4 households are effected by domestic violence.

December tends to be the worst month in terms of domestic violence arrests. Research shows that in the weeks surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas, calls to both local police and domestic violence hotlines soar, according to the Domestic Violence Action Center. On Thanksgiving, domestic violence rates increase by 22 percent. On Christmas, it's up by 17 percent. And on New Year's Eve, it's up by 32 percent.

A study in New Jersey found that in 2010, about a third of all reported domestic violence incidents for the ENTIRE YEAR happened in December.

Here in California, an example of this was witnessed with the Thanksgiving Day brawl between actress Halle Berry's fiance and ex-boyfriend, father of her child. The trio had been warring over the father's refusal to allow Berry and her fiance move to France with their young daughter.

Originally, the ex-boyfriend was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor battery. However, prosecutors have declined to move forward with charges after Berry and her fiance said they don't wish to pursue the matter.

However, domestic violence cases are a bit different in that prosecutors don't require the permission or cooperation of a victim in order to continue pursuit of the matter.

California Penal Code 273.5 and 243(e)(1) both address the issue of domestic violence. These statute say it is illegal to inflict a "corporal injury" that will result in injury to either your spouse, intimate partner or parent of your child. Even if there is no visible injury, you can still be charged with under this statute.

Penalties are going to depend on the severity of the injury inflicted and whether you have any prior criminal record. Most counties in the state impose a minimum month in jail, even if it's your first conviction and you've only been charged with a misdemeanor. Additionally, you may be required to undergo a one-year domestic violence intervention education course.

If you are an immigrant, the charges may be especially troubling. Most domestic violence offenses are considered crimes of moral turpitude, which means that if you are convicted, you may face deportation. For you, it is absolutely imperative that you fight the charges aggressively, regardless of the circumstances.

the same goes if you make a criminal threat, per California Criminal Code 422. This makes it a crime to communicate some threat that would put the alleged victim in fear that you may cause them violence. It can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.

What's important to remember is that an arrest is not a conviction. The fact is, many domestic violence allegations and a subsequent arrest can be made with little to no proof. Often, this is not enough to stand up in court. The key to beating the charges, if it's possible, is hiring an experienced attorney.

Contact Houman Fakhimi trial attorney at (714) 705-6701 as soon as possible if you are charged with a crime in Newport Beach.