Domestic Violence Vandalism in Los Angeles
A lot of domestic violence offenses come with vandalism as well. In other words, the person is charged with Penal Code Section 273.5 or Penal Code 243(e)(1) and they’re also charged with a vandalism allegation because they got angry at their spouse or significant other and broke some of their property.
You Can Destroy Your Own Property
Where it gets a little bit tricky is if you break your own property — like if you’re married and you punch a whole in your own windshield or your wife’s windshield, it’s a community property situation.
That’s probably not going to be filed against you because if it’s property you own, you can destroy your own property if you want. You just can’t hit or hurt your significant other or you will be charged with a crime.
But, to get that vandalism charge under Penal Code 594, you’re going to have to be destroying someone else’s property. It happens all the time where maybe somebody punctures somebody’s tires or damages somebody’s vehicle or takes their phone and breaks it on the ground.
So, there are circumstances where they’re damaging other people’s property and what ends up happening is they’re going to get charged with domestic violence and be charged with vandalism.
Sometimes those charges go hand-in-hand and the person will be looking at additional punishment, for not only the domestic violence charge, but also the vandalism charge. The most common types of domestic violence charges include domestic battery and corporal injury to a spouse.
Paying Restitution for Damaged Property
Also, they’re going to be responsible for paying restitution to the other person if they damage their property. So, if you take somebody’s $1,000 phone and break it on the ground, you’re going to have to pay them back the $1,000 to replace the phone.
That’s one big thing the prosecutors are looking at in all domestic violence cases, as well as in all criminal cases. If a victim is out some money or some property, they’re going to hold the defendant in the case responsible if that defendant damaged or broke the other party’s property.
So, it is common that there is domestic violence and vandalism charges filed together. I think when you add vandalism into the mix, that exacerbates the case and makes it more serious.
A lot of time what we can do in order to do damage control is pay the other person back if you vandalized them or help them get whatever you destroyed fixed. The prosecutors will see that and take that into consideration when dealing with the case versus you don’t accept responsibility for that and you don’t pay them back.
Then the prosecutors are going to hold you responsible for that in the form of punishment — whether it be jail time, a fine, restitution, community service, Cal Trans, a longer probation.
So, if the prosecution has the goods on you and is going to be able to prove a domestic violence case against you and you have a vandalism case filed as well, obviously you want to do what you can to make things easier on yourself.
Defenses to Domestic Violence and Vandalism Charges
That’s why it really is important to get to an attorney as soon as possible. Let that attorney guide you through what it’s going to take to do damage control and lessen the impact of a domestic violence charge in Los Angeles against you.
This includes a vandalism charge, bad injuries, those are all things that make matters worse and make it more likely the prosecutors are going to seek jail time and even prison time depending on how bad the injuries might be.
So, what I would suggest is, I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and I’ve had a lot of cases where a person is charged with both domestic violence and vandalism — I would get in the office as soon as possible and let’s start to develop a plan on what we can do to minimize the effects of this criminal case.
Sometimes insurance can come into play as well depending on the circumstances to help minimize the impact of these domestic violence/vandalism charges. But the best way to handle it, obviously, is to get a game plan together and let your criminal defense attorney execute that game plan on your behalf so you can protect your rights, your freedom and your reputation.
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