Domestic Violence Vandalism in Los Angeles

Domestic Violence Vandalism

When people think about what constitutes a domestic violence offense, they usually focus on crimes involving acts of violence against a current of former spouse or lover, such as corporal injury to a spouse in violation of California Penal Code Section 273.5 PC or domestic battery in violation of California Penal Code Section 243(e) PC. However, in California “domestic violence” is considered any crime in which the victim is a class of person identified in California Family Code Section 6211 FC. This includes current and former spouses, current and former cohabitants, current or former boyfriends or girlfriends, children, co-parents or blood relatives. Domestic violence cases are not limited to crimes involving actual physical harm and can include a wide variety of offenses where no one is actually hurt or threatened. In some cases, a crime will be considered a domestic violence offense when the victim is one of the people listed in California Family Code 6211 FC. If this is the case, the defendant would be subject to mandatory sentencing provisions if convicted of the underlying crime pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC. One crime that can be considered “domestic violence” is vandalism in violation of California Penal Code Section 594 PC.

Vandalism as a Domestic Violence Offense

Under California Penal Code Section 594 PC, vandalism is a “wobbler” offense that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. In the People v. Cates decision, the California Court of Appeals held that a vandalism conviction where the victim is a person listed in California Family Code Section 6211 FC would be considered a crime of domestic violence and would subject the defendant to mandatory sentencing conditions. Under California Penal Code Section 1203.097 PC, this would include a minimum three year probation period, a 52-week batterer’s class, a minimum $500 fine, a protective order and mandatory community service. In addition, the defendant would be expected to pay restitution for any damages caused as a result of the act of vandalism.

In Los Angeles County, non-domestic vandalism charges may be eligible for Court diversion under California Penal Code Section 1001.94 PC. However, this diversion statute does not apply when the victim is a person identified in California Family Code Section 6211 FC. This means that a defendant with a domestic violence vandalism charge may not be eligible for court diversion.

Elements of Vandalism

In order to convict a defendant of vandalism, the prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant maliciously defaced property with graffiti, damaged or otherwise destroyed property and that the defendant did not own the property or have the owner’s consent.

In many domestic violence cases, a defendant may be accused of destroying or defacing property that is jointly owned with a spouse, such as a vehicle. Even if this is the case, the defendant could still be guilty of vandalism, as California Penal Code Section 594 PC applies to property that is owned jointly with another person.

Defenses to Vandalism

There are several defenses that may be applicable to defendants who are charged with vandalism as a domestic violence crime. California Penal Code Section 594 PC requires a showing that the defendant acted maliciously when he or she destroyed the property of another. If property was destroyed by accident, the defendant would have a valid defense.

If you have been charged with vandalism against a domestic partner, it is imperative that you meet with an attorney experienced in fighting domestic violence cases immediately. Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands how to effectively defend clients charged with vandalism and other related offenses.

For more information about domestic violence and vandalism, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

Share |
Client Reviews
He gave me the peace of mind that my DUI case was going to be resolved. He fought for what it was needed and helped me by answering all my questions. Mike is not an average attorney. He’s a very experienced, honest and straightforward person that is there for you!
I hired Attorney Mike Kraut and I'm am so happy and grateful that I did! I was arrested for a DUI because my BAC level was over the .08 limit. I ended up getting a wet and reckless instead of a DUI. I still have to do some classes and I'm on probation, but I do not have a DUI on my record. If you have a DUI hire Attorney Kraut, he definitely knows his stuff!
Avvo User
There aren't enough positive words to write about Mike, but let me be clear that this is the only lawyer worth hiring in Los Angeles. Mike is professional, caring, and an absolute champion at winning in court.
Kyle, Avvo User
Mike Kraut is not a typical lawyer. He is a straightforward person with a true heart and a sympathetic ear. He is also smart and connected and he cares about the people who seek out his help. He got my son out of a jam. He did it quickly and painlessly. I recommend Mike Kraut to anyone that needs his services.
Thank you Mike for helping my son.
Mark, Avvo User
Michael Kraut is a rock star lawyer. I was really happy and satisfied with the results I received from Michael and his team. A few months back I was being accused of a serious felony. Mike gave me sound legal advice and worked diligently to clear my name. Mike was great at always keeping me updated and returning calls. Great, great lawyer I cant say enough about this man!
Eric, Google User
How can I express how relieved and pleased I am with Michael's professional abilities to have my Felony brought down to a misdameanor to a possible dismissal with deferment. With his care my life has been turned around and cannot say how helpful he's been not only in my case but life. He, himself has changed how I view criminal lawyers. Thank you so much Michael!
Owen, Google User