Domestic Violence Arrest
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Domestic Violence

A man learns that his wife of 20 years has been having an affair with her aerobics instructor. She admits that she has considered leaving him, and if she does, she plans to seek sole custody of their children.  The couple argues and tempers flare.  In anger, the man curses and swipes the glass of water that he had been drinking. It falls to the ground, shattering at both his and his wife’s feet. The kids, aged 12 and 9, who were upstairs playing a game, come into the room. Neighbors hear the commotion and call the police.

Read the Orange County Domestic Violence blog section of Staycie Sena's Orange County criminal lawyer blog.

The man is taken into custody and charged with spousal abuse, vandalism and two counts of child abuse/neglect. He is forced to post a $50,000 bond and an emergency protective order is issued, which prohibits him from returning home and reuniting with his wife or children. He must find another place to live and a way to get his belongings without violating the court order.

Not only is this man facing criminal charges, he is now at a serious disadvantage in any custody proceeding, but he  faces losing his driver's license for a year and discipline with the Department of Real Estate, which could revoke his mortgage broker's license.

The man’s wife tries to tell the police that she does not want an emergency protective order, but they issue one anyway. She is told that the case will be referred to the District Attorney’s office. She tries calling the DA and writing a letter, insisting that they will go to therapy and she does not want prosecution, but she is told the matter will be prosecuted, nonetheless. When she arrives at court for her husband’s arraignment, she is told that a new restraining order will be issued for at least one year. She insists that she doesn’t want a protective order, but one is issued against her will.

While this case may sound particularly severe, it is resembles many of the domestic violence or spousal abuse cases Orange County criminal defense lawyers face. In the years since the OJ Simpson trial, California law has gotten much stricter and penalties more severe, even for the most minor behavior.  It is surprising to some that breaking your own property, arguing in front of the children or unplugging the phone from the wall are criminalized.   

Domestic violence or spousal abuse is one area of law where proper legal representation can save you from years of unnecessary classes, having to maintain two households because of a temporary restraining order, losing your job and/or your driver’s license.

Contact us about your legal matter today!


You may want to arrange bail. If a defendant has never been arrested, he may be released on his own recognizance and not have to post bail. Often, this is not determined until the arraignment, which is typically held within 72 hours after an arrest.  If you post bail when an OR release is possible, you will typically not get your money back. If you have not yet posted bail, call the Law Offices of Staycie R. Sena now for a consultation and if necessary, for a referral to a bail bondsman, who will post bail at a reduced rate.

The United States constitutions guarantees all of us the right to remain silent when questioned about a crime. Despite this, most convictions are had because of a defendant’s own statements. You may be told that officers only want “your side of the story”, but don’t be fooled. Your words will be used against you.

Whether you are a defendant, a victim or a witness, you should not talk to officers, loved ones or employers about this case, without first having sound legal advice.

Under no circumstances should a victim write or call the District Attorney’s office thinking she’s helping the case. Often these letters and calls are used against a defendant later on.

If an emergency protective order was issued at the time of the arrest, you must abide by that or face additional prosecution. Again, it doesn’t matter if the protected person contacts you and asks you to talk. It is only through an attorney of record that the two of you can lawfully have contact while any TRO is outstanding.

The first stages in a domestic violence or spousal abuse case can be critical in framing the defense down the road. You should meet with an attorney at the earliest opportunity. You can call the Law Offices of Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for an analysis and free advice regarding your case now.

You may be asked to attend counseling or anger management classes to mitigate (or lessen the impact of) your case. This is not an admission of guilt- it’s a message we send to the judge and/or District Attorneys office that says you’ve taken the case seriously and helps to assure them that there will not be anymore incidents so that they can be comfortable in reducing or dismissing the charges.

Contact us about your legal matter today!

Collateral Consequences of a Domestic Violence Charge

Although even the smallest domestic violence or spousal abuse charges can carry stiff penalties in Orange County, it is often the “collateral” or unanticipated consequences of a conviction that cause the most damage in a person’s life. The most common collateral consequences involve immigration (for the non-citizen), professional licenses and child custody proceedings.

Immigration Consequences of Domestic Violence/ Spousal Abuse

Immigration laws have changed significantly since the terrorist attack on September 11th. Many crimes which would have escaped scrutiny years ago, can now subject a non-citizen to deportation or inadmissibility, regardless of how long you’ve resided in the United States.

Conviction of even misdemeanor spousal abuse, misdemeanor child abuse or neglect or even misdemeanor violation of a temporary restraining order and conviction of most felony charges you could render the non-citizen:

  • ineligible to enter the country once left (inadmissible)
  • ineligible for citizenship
  • ineligible for lawful permanent residency or a Visa
  • subject to deportation

Ms. Sena has received special training on dealing with criminal defense immigration issues. If you are charged with a crime and you are not a citizen, call the Law Offices of Staycie R. Sena now for an analysis of the potential immigration issues you face.

Contact us about your legal matter today!

License Revocation associated with a Domestic Violence/ Spousal Abuse charge

Doctors, lawyers, teachers, bankers, real estate and insurance agents or brokers and other professionals who are required to hold a license to practice may face disciplinary action from the licensing agency if convicted. Discipline can range from mere removal to license suspension. If you hold a professional license of any kind, your case may require special handling to avoid disciplinary action by the licensing agency.

Child Custody Consequences of a Domestic Violence/ Spousal Abuse charge

If you are found to have committed domestic violence, you could be presumed “an unfit parent” in any present or future child custody dispute.

If you have been accused of any crime related to domestic violence, spousal abuse or child abuse/neglect, it is essential that you obtain immediate effective and knowledgeable representation.  Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena provides sophisticated legal representation. She works to minimize the gravity of an arrest for spousal abuse, child abuse or neglect or other forms of domestic violence,  and to get families reunited as quickly as possible.

Contact us about your legal matter today!

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