UPDATED, FEB. 28, 4:57 P.M.: Because federal law prohibits firearm possession for those convicted of domestic violence, veteran Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Travis Christopher Unholz's law-enforcement career is effectively over.
“We consider all the ramifications, and in this case, it is going to cost him his career,” Assistant District Attorney Ted Burnett told The Orange County Register this afternoon.
Also as part of the deal, child-abuse charges and sentencing enhancements were dismissed. If he'd been convicted of the charges as previously filed, Unholz could have gotten up to six years and eight months in state prison.
UPDATED, FEB. 28, 2:51 P.M.: Veteran Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Travis Christopher Unholz was sentenced today to 19 days in jail and three years of formal probation, ordered to participate in a 52-week
batterer's treatment program, barred from owning
or possessing any firearms, and prohibited from having any contact with his wife and two children.
penalties came after the 36-year-old Trabuco Canyon resident pleaded
guilty to one felony count of
attempted possession of a firearm in violation of a protective order
and one misdemeanor count of domestic battery with corporal injury. His
wife hit her head after Unholz pushed her to the ground in front of two
of his children from a previous relationship.
UPDATED, FEB. 7, 9:10 A.M.: Veteran Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Travis Christopher Unholz was denied bail Friday after his wife and former wife sought protection from him in court.
His current wife needed multiple staples to close a head wound allegedly caused by Unholz.
His first wife, who claims he has a history of domestic violence, told the court that Unholz tried to lure her to his home to pick up their two children because, he said, “everything” was going wrong.
Unholz is due in court this morning for arraignment.
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 3, 6:25 P.M.: Veteran Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Travis Christopher Unholz, who was jailed Sunday for allegedly roughing up his wife, was back behind bars Wednesday amid accusations he violated a protective order by trying to obtain a semiautomatic weapon and contact the Mrs. while out on bail.
Prosecutors will request that Unholz, a 36-year-old training officer and SWAT team member, be held without bail at his arraignment in Newport Beach Friday. He could get up to six years and eight months in state prison if convicted of the charges against him, which are detailed later in this post.
He was apparently arguing with his wife sometime after 5 p.m. Sunday in their Trabuco Canyon home when he allegedly pushed her to the ground, causing her to hit her head. Their two children were home at the time. The woman contacted a friend, who in turn reported the alleged abuse to Unholz's agency, the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD). He was arrested that night and made his $50,000 bail the next day.
A protective order prevented Unholz from possessing any firearms or contacting his wife directly or through any third party who was not an attorney. He is accused of contacting a friend and asking the friend to obtain a semiautomatic weapon and survival kit and to contact Unholz's wife. The friend instead contacted the OCSD, which sent deputies to arrest their colleague Wednesday.
Unholz is charged with one felony count of domestic battery with corporal
injury, one felony count of attempted possession of a firearm in
violation of a protective order, two misdemeanor counts of child abuse,
one misdemeanor count of the violation of a protective order, and a
sentencing enhancement for crime-bail-crime, which means he allegedly committed a crime while out on bail for another crime.
He was among several OCSD deputies the American Red Cross nominated for an award because of their contributions to fellow law enforcement in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit. He was also pictured–behind a surgical mask and on the hood of a moving patrol car–in an Associated Press shot of rescuers checking Modjeska Canyon homes threatened by wildfires in October 2007.
The Orange County district attorney's office statement on Friday's arraignment follows:
February 3, 2011
OCSD DEPUTY CHARGED WITH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGAINST WIFE AND VIOLATING PROTECTIVE ORDER BY ATTEMPTING TO OBTAIN FIREARM WHILE OUT ON BAIL
SANTA ANA – An Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) deputy has been charged with committing domestic violence against his wife and then violating a protective order by attempting to obtain a firearm while out of custody on bail. Travis Christopher Unholz, 36, Trabuco Canyon, is charged with one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury, one felony count of attempted possession of a firearm in violation of a protective order, two misdemeanor counts of child abuse, one misdemeanor count of the violation of a protective order, and a sentencing enhancement for crime-bail-crime. The term "crime-bail-crime” indicates that the defendant committed a crime while out of custody on bail for another criminal offense. If convicted on all counts, Unholz faces a maximum sentence of six years and eight months in state prison.
The People will be requesting Unholz be held without bail at his arraignment tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach. The time and Department are to be determined.
Sometime after 5:00 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2011, Unholz is accused of arguing with his wife, Jane Doe, and committing domestic violence by pushing her to the floor and causing her to hit her head. The defendant's two children were in the home at the time. Jane Doe called a friend, who reported the abuse to OCSD. OCSD investigated this case and deputies arrested the defendant that night. He was booked into the Orange County Jail.
On Jan. 31, 2011, Unholz is accused of posting $50,000 bail and was released from custody. A protective order was served on the defendant barring him from having any direct or indirect contact through a non-attorney third party with the victim. The order also barred the defendant from possessing or attempting to acquire any firearms.
On Feb. 2, 2011, Unholz is accused of contacting a friend, and requesting that his friend assist him in acquiring an automatic weapon and survival kit. He is also accused of violating the protective order by asking his friend to contact his wife. The friend reported the conversation to OCSD, who arrested Unholz that evening.
Deputy District Attorney Cyril Yu of the Family Protection Unit is prosecuting this case.