A 28-year-old Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputy turned himself in Thursday and pleaded not guilty to attacking his girlfriend in Rancho Santa Margarita after a birthday party.

Kyle Edward Pickard, of Rancho Santa Margarita, allegedly inflicted corporal injury on his girlfriend on Jan. 19 about 2 a.m., according to Carrie Braun of the sheriff’s department.

Deputies responded to the scene at a home in Rancho Santa Margarita and arrested Pickard, Braun said. He was released on bail, and the sheriff’s department placed him on administrative leave. Pickard has not returned to work since the incident, according to Braun.

Pickard was back in custody Thursday after surrendering because a warrant had been issued for his arrest. Pickard was later released on $50,000 bail, according to Kimberly Edds, public information officer for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Pickard has been charged with one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury, one felony count of making criminal threats and one felony count of false imprisonment by violence or menace, Edds said.

Pickard pleaded not guilty Thursday. If convicted on all counts, he is facing a maximum sentence of three years in state prison, according to Edds.

Pickard started working for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in July 2011, Braun said.

“I expect members of the sheriff’s department to behave in a manner that is fitting of a law enforcement officer both on and off duty,” said Sheriff Don Barnes. “We hold ourselves to a high standard and hold our employees accountable when that standard is not met.”

Pickard will be in court on March 19 at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.

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