Arrest Charges Defined

Domestic Violence – Penal Code 273.5

DUI / DWI – Vehicle Code 23152

Drug Possession - H&S 11350 (a) hs

Domestic Violence – Penal Code 273.5

DUI / DWI – Vehicle Code 23152

Drug Possession - H&S 11350 (a) hs

Domestic Violence – Penal Code 273.5

If you've been arrested for Domestic Violence the charges are normally California Penal Code 273.5 PC. This is sometimes referred to as domestic violence, domestic abuse, corporal injury, spousal abuse or spousal battery. Charges often stem from he-said/she-said allegations and arise out of highly charged, emotional situations. Many innocent people get falsely accused of this serious offense, especially in Los Angeles and Orange County California.

Penal Code 273.5 punishes the individual that's been arrested for inflicting bodily injury. Domestic Violence refers to physical harm inflicted on one member of a household or family, by another member of the same household or family (usually between spouses). Domestic violence (sometimes called "spousal abuse") usually involves repetitive physical and psychological abuse, and a "cycle of violence". Specific crimes charged vary based on 1) severity of the victim's injuries, 2) whether a minor was present, and 3) whether a protective or restraining order was violated.

Over the years we've worked with several Domestic Violence cases. Several bail bond companies require collateral when posting a bail bond for a Domestic Violence case because of the large dollar amount. Very often in California the defendant is charged with a felony and the bail is set at the maximum of $50,000.00. Although this may sound very intimidating, we've seen several of our clients come out okay. Very often Sunset Bail Bonds can write these bonds with no collateral due to the nature of the crime. The way we see Domestic Violence is that it's normally an emotional disturbance versus premeditated. From our experience most individuals that are arrested for Domestic Violence are not criminals but simply victims of a poor circumstance. Unfortunately the police departments here in Southern California do not ask many questions when showing up on a Domestic Violence call and more times than not, someone is arrested. If you've been arrested for Domestic Violence call us right away and we will walk you through every step of the bail process for free. If you post bail and hire the right criminal attorney, very often they are successful at reducing your charges or in some cases having them dropped.

What are some of the ramifications of a domestic violence conviction?

Some of the ramifications may include the possibility of state prison up to four years in prison if filed as a felony. If the case is filed as a misdemeanor, the defendant faces up to one year in the county jail. In addition, there may be 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling and a restraining order commonly referred to as a stay away order where you are not allowed to be within 200 feet of the alleged victim. If this order is lifted, the court can still impose a much milder stay away order where in this case they order that he or she does not annoy or harass the victim. The final consequence is the possibility of jail time, a criminal record and the possible loss of employment depending on the type of job you currently have. Again, with most cases that we've seen, if the defendant has a clean record and is a person of good character, bails out of jail immediately and hires a good defense attorney, they have a good chance at a successful case.

Will the court impose a restraining order against me?

A stay away order is often requested by the prosecutor on the first court date. Many judges will not allow the stay away order to be lifted even if the victim does not want one. In these situations, the court may require the defendant to have completed 3 or 4 weeks of counseling before the stay away order is lifted or modified. If you've been arrested for Domestic Violence and are out on bail and need to visit the property where the other party may be, most police departments will provide you with a police escort back to the location. Please contact the local jail where you've been arrested to make arrangements. Please see our Jail Locations page for more information.

How much can I be expected to pay for bail?

The police or the court may set bail up to $50,000.00 for a domestic violence case. In California bail is 10% of the total bail amount.

I am going through a child custody case. Will a domestic violence conviction have an impact?

Sometimes, domestic violence cases are motivated by failed relationships. A domestic violence allegation can be used against you in a child custody dispute. For questions pertaining to this situation you may want to consult with a Family Law attorney. Most family law attorneys specialize in Divorce, property division, alimony, child custody, visitation and child support.

How do I know the police are taking this case seriously? Is it bad if the police took pictures of the "alleged victim."

The moment the police arrive at your door, they are taking the allegations seriously. They are attempting to build a case against you. The case becomes more serious when the police officer pulls out a digital camera and starts taking pictures of the alleged victim. When they start taking pictures, an arrest for a penal code 273.5 usually ensues. The reason behind the pictures is to help secure a conviction against you even if the alleged victim recants. This is used to corroborate the allegations of domestic violence. Believe it or not, sometime the people that we've bailed out of jail are the ones with these bruises. If this has happened to you, some will suggest that you should take pictures of yourself to help support your case.

What if the police did not take any pictures?

This is usually a good thing. The arrest is usually for a penal code 243 (e)(1) charge. This charge is less serious than a penal code 273.5 charge and the bail is set much lower.

I believe that the police arrested the wrong person. I was merely defending myself. What do I do now?

Unfortunately we receive several cases like this each year. It's a good idea to bail out immediately and contact a domestic violence lawyer. There are obviously two sides to every story. Many times police take immediate sides based on either who called the police first or who appears to have the visible injuries. Again, we've bailed several individuals in these circumstances. If you or a loved one has been arrested, we'll be glad to answer any questions regarding the bail process.

Do I need to talk to the police? Do I look guilty if I don't talk to the police?

No. You do not have to speak to the police because you have a Fifth Amendment Right to remain silent. Most criminal attorneys would recommend that you do not make any statements to the police. Should the case go to trial, the judge will prohibit the District Attorney from making any comment that you must be guilty because you refused to talk to the police. However, should you make any statements; the police will testify as to what you said and often times it will likely be used against you to get you convicted.

We got into a violent physical altercation while our children were present. Is this bad?

Yes. If a violent physical altercation occurred in the present of your children, the police officer may also make a report to the Department of Children and Family Services. This may sometimes trigger a dependency case where the social worker may try to take the physical custody of your child away until a dependency juvenile court judge determines when it is appropriate for the return of your children. In addition, the prosecutor may choose to file an additional criminal charge against you alleging child endangerment. Here are a few resources if you have additional questions.

Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services
Orange County Social Services Agency

The victim wants to drop all charges. What does this mean? Do I still need an attorney?

The fact that a victim wants to drop all charges does not mean the prosecutor will drop the case. According to the District Attorney's Office, a substantial many number of their cases that get convictions involve cases where the victim has recanted or wanted the case dropped. It is highly unlikely the case will be dropped if the prosecutor believes there is sufficient evidence to prove the case of domestic violence beyond a reasonable doubt.

Why did the police arrest me for a felony? I have no prior record.

The decision to arrest someone for a felony or misdemeanor charge will often depend on the type of injuries and allegations involved. The more serious the allegations, the more likely the arrest will be for a felony. However, if it is a border line case, the police officer will often put it down as a felony arrest. Fortunately in many situations the charge can be reduced to a misdemeanor. If the police officer took pictures it will likely be a felony arrest. If no pictures were taken, in some cases it will be a misdemeanor arrest. However, keep in mind that it is the prosecutor that decides whether felony charges will be filed. Therefore just because the police make a felony arrest does not mean that the District Attorney will file felony charges against you.

DUI / DWI – Vehicle Code 23152

If you've been arrested for DUI in California in many cases you've been charged with Vehicle Section Code 23152 (a) or 23152 (b).

VC 23152 (a) driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
VC 23152 (b) driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or greater

Most California DUI arrests begin with a traffic stop or a checkpoint. The officer asks you to perform a series of field sobriety tests and to blow twice into a handheld breathalyzer. After arrest, the cop usually will ask you to take a blood or breath test at the police station, jail or hospital. For most misdemeanor DUI arrests, the police will release you within a few hours of arrest and booking but for a felony DUI or accident case, you may have to post bail. Most first time DUI arrests that we've seen start at a $10,000.00 bail amount.

Upon release you should be given two documents: a citation to appear in court and a pink temporary license. The cops will usually take your California drivers license and mail it to the DMV.

From being in the bail industry for over a decade, Sunset Bail Bonds has seen several DUI cases. Unfortunately most people in the community have had a drink or two and decided to drive an automobile. People that drink alcohol need to understand that just a small amount of alcohol can get you arrested. When the police test a person the results are broken down by the percent of alcohol in a person's blood and based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. In any prosecution involving driving under the influence, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.

Sunset Bail Bonds has helped in several DUI cases and we strongly believe that it is important to consult with a criminal attorney, preferable a law office that specialized in DUI cases. A DUI conviction leads to several problems and can be very costly. In some cases there will be attorney fees, court costs, drunk driving classes to pay for and attend, a restriction on your drivers license and possible jail time.

My blood alcohol level was .08% or greater, am I guilty?

Not necessarily. The prosecution must prove that you were driving impaired to convict you of vehicle code section 23152(a). The prosecution must prove you had a .08% or greater to convict you of the vehicle code section 23152(b). Just because you have tested at the police station or hospital to have a blood alcohol of .08% or greater does not necessarily mean that was your alcohol level at the time of driving. The blood alcohol at the time of testing can be flawed. Often times the police officer is not adequately trained to administer the test. The officer is required to continuously observe you for 15 minutes before making you blow in the machine. On many occasions officers have testified they counted the time they were driving or doing paperwork. The 15 minute wait period serves a purpose. This is to make sure you do not burp, regurgitate or ingest any other fluids that could affect the test results. Furthermore, the drinking pattern of the individual is also important. It is quite possible that at the time you were driving your vehicle; your blood alcohol was far less than the amount tested at the police station. This is particularly true when a blood test is administered several hours after the time of driving.

The Police Officer never told me why he pulled me over. Is this important?

This can be important but it is better to consult an attorney. There can be several reasons for pulling someone over, from alleged having an object hanging from the rear view mirror, no license plate, tinted windows, weaving within the lane, weaving between lanes, impeding traffic and driving against a one way street. If the officer did not have probable cause to make the traffic stop, it may be possible that the case could be dismissed.

What can I expect from a First Offence DUI conviction?

In some cases you can expect the following from a DUI conviction: 3 to 5 years informal probation, 48 hours up to 6 months jail time may be imposed and a minimum of $390.00 in court fines to a maximum of $1000. Please note, that the $390 minimum fine, after adding penalty assessments & miscellaneous court fees, results in a total amount due of approximately $1,400.00 to $1,800.00. Besides the fees in many cases you will be required to attend DUI classes. Bailing out of jail immediately is the first step to getting through this process.

If you've been arrested you are required to see a judge within 48 hours, 2 business days. So if you're arrested Friday night, more than likely the jail will keep you over the weekend and you will see a judge Tuesday morning. If the person that you're considering bail for is being housed at a local city jail please contact us immediately. Sunset Bail Bonds will contact the jail for you for free and determine whether or not they are going to release that individual on an OR or transfer them to the county jail.

A release on an OR stands for own recognizance and sometimes this does happen. Often there are many factors that go in to being released on your own recognizance, from crowded jails, your first offense and your level of intoxication. These decisions within the jail are often made by the watch commander and they will evaluate whether or not you are a candidate for OR.

A huge advantage of bailing out of the local city jail in a timely manner is because very often a defendant can be transferred to the County Jail. When we post a bond from the city jail, in many cases the release total release time is under two hours. If you are transferred to the county jail, the release time can be 8 to 48 hours.

We at Sunset Bail Bonds will contact the jail on your behalf and find out everything that you need to know. If you are having trouble finding someone within the jail system, use our Search Jail Records! page to help determine where they are.

Possession of Controlled Substance - Health & Safety 11350

Charged with possession of a controlled substance in California than you’ve probably been in violation of H&S of the Health & Safety Code 11350. A controlled substances ranges from cocaine, heroin or pills without a prescription. It is a felony punishable by up to three years in state prison.

If you have actual possession of a controlled substance, then you have direct and immediate physical control over it. This usually means the drug is on your person and if the police find you in actual possession of a controlled substance, it will be difficult but not impossible to argue that you didn’t possess the drugs.