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Orange County Zone Code Violations Attorney

Orange County Zone Code Violations Attorney


Zone code violations can be one of the more frustrating aspects of law. Often property owners can be blindsided by accusations of violations when they are under the impression that they were operating according to code. The consequences of violations can sometimes end up being surprisingly significant, ranging from simple citations to criminal felony charges. Zone code violation can be a serious issue, and it’s important you work with a lawyer who understands the issue and how to defend your case.

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Blake & Ayaz services clients in Santa Ana, Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County, and throughout California.

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Zoning codes are a broad category of law that are meant to orchestrate how land and property are used within a jurisdiction. The thinking behind these codes is that they create some consistency of expectations around land use, property standards, activities, and safety within a community. These laws are meant to play a role in everything from aesthetics to safety to environmental effects. With such a range in terms of impact that these laws are meant to have, it should come as no surprise that the codes impact broad elements of property ownership and management. Things like signage requirements, building code, and environmental regulations all fall under the category of zoning codes.


Violations of zoning codes can take a variety of forms and levels of significance, but in all cases, the violations are thought to negatively impact the community’s welfare in some form or another. Just a few of the more common violations include:

  • Environmental Violations – Certain codes are meant to protect the local environment and the health of a community. Violations of these codes can lead to damage in those areas.
  • Use Violations – These kinds of violations result from a building or land being used in a way that violates the local rules regarding that use. For instance, local governance may designate a particular use for certain land, and any use outside that is a violation. This is why in many places; you can’t demolish your house but can put up an ice cream stand. The land is likely zoned for residential purposes, not commercial.
  • Building Code Violations – To build a structure or building without proper permitting can lead to building code violations.
  • Signage Violations – Locals can often place restrictions on the size, location, illumination, and look of signs in the community. Creating a sign outside of these specifications can result in a violation.
  • Parking Violations – Zoning codes often regulate the number of parking spaces required, as well as their design. These codes must be complied with.


If code violations are challenged in Orange County, CA, there needs to be some kind of proof that the violation occurred. The process for these challenges and demanding proof from the governing authorities can be complex and different depending upon the violation in question. So, it’s important to work with a legal team that has a thorough understanding of the procedures. Generally, the violations can be proven with a few different kinds of evidence, including:

  • Physical Evidence – Things like photographs and video footage of violations can be used to establish that it has occurred.
  • Witness Testimony – It’s possible that individuals who have observed the violations may be called upon to offer an account of what they’ve seen.
  • Expert Testimony – Depending upon the specifics of the code, someone with some level of expertise in that particular field may be called upon to explain exactly how the code was violated.
  • Evidence of Non-Compliance – Showing that an individual has a history of not complying with zoning codes can often be a mark against them.


Often, the regulators will have a system in place for how they will ensure that the codes are met and the standards enforced. The exact nature of the process will vary depending on the category of codes. Some of the methods include:

  • Complaints – Some enforcement relies on notifications from citizens of a violation
  • Inspections – In some cases, regular inspections are required, or inspections prior to something like a building being used or sold may be required
  • Notice of Violation – A kind of warning may be sent to the property owner outlining the violation and correction that must occur
  • Injunction – A property owner may be required to see the building or some other operation until the issue is corrected
  • Penalties – If the violation continues or is severe enough, then it’s possible that penalties up to and including criminal charges may be issued.


Violations of zone codes are often handled with relatively mild legal consequences; however, in the case of significant infractions, serious consequences are possible. Some of the means used to address violations include:

  • Fines
  • Legal Action
  • Forced Correction
  • Criminal Charges
  • Demolition


Depending upon the particulars of the case, there may be a variety of ways in which a party can defend against accusations of zone code violations. Some possible defensive tactics include:

  • Hardship – There are some cases where if a property were to comply with code, it could be damaging to the property owners’ business and result in financial difficulty. While not a defense that is accepted in every case, it can sometimes result in protection.
  • Unintended Consequences – It’s possible that a zoning code that is not particularly precise and open to interpretation can lead to an unintentional violation of the code.
  • Non-Applicability – It’s possible that a code, for instance, if it was instituted after a building permit was issued, might not apply to a particular building.
  • Variance – There are times when the authorities may allow for a variance from zoning codes. This allows a specific, outlined, deviation from the codes on a one-time basis.


Zone code violation charges can sometimes feel like something you can’t defend yourself against. Too often, people assume that whatever some bureaucrat has decreed regarding your situation is final. This is not the case. When you’re facing potential significant fines or even criminal charges, there are options for defending yourself. However, this can be a complex process and area of law. That’s why it’s essential that you work with a legal team of zone code lawyers, such as Blake & Ayaz, who have an intimate knowledge of the codes and the legal process for defending yourself against bureaucratic overreach. If you’re facing zone code violation concerns, contact us today for help defending yourself.


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