Santa Cruz criminal defense lawyers are aware that domestic violence charges are treated harshly in California. The law does not require that parties to an alleged domestic violence dispute be married, or even related. The allegations arising out of Pasadena Sunday night involve an unmarried couple-the two have reportedly been in a on-and-off again relationship since Aug. 2010.

Police claim that when they arrived at the couple's home they observed evidence of minor injury. Law enforcement says Sinclair displayed bruises and red marks.

Sources claim that Hefner admitted having been in an argument with Sinclair, but denies that any physical contact was involved. Authorities claim that Sinclair told police during the investigation that Hefner had puncher her and kicked her in the stomach. She reportedly says that Hefner would not let her leave the home after the alleged attack. She says that she called relatives, who notified police of the alleged altercation.

Assault and battery charges in California are no laughing matter. The stakes may seem even higher when the allegations involve domestic violence.

Law enforcement arrested Hefner on misdemeanor domestic violence charges after a brief investigation at the home. He was booked into the jail and released a few hours later on $20,000 bail. It is not unusual for police to take someone into custody when called to the scene of an alleged domestic disturbance in California.

Source: Fox News, "Hugh Hefner's son Marston arrested for attacking Playmate-of-the-Year-girlfriend, report says," Feb. 13, 2012