A restraining order, or a protection order, is put in place by a judge to protect an individual. Protection may be sought from different types of crimes of violence including harassment, stalking, domestic abuse, and even verbal threats. The purpose of placing a restraining order is to prohibit the respondent from contact with the protected individual. These interactions would not only be face to face but could also include phone, digital, and social media contact.
A restraining order violation is considered contempt of court and can lead to a variety of violation penalties. These penalties may vary based on the state that the violation occurred in, the severity of the violation, and the original terms of the restraining order.
Restraining Order Violations
If you have been accused of violating a restraining order, it does not necessarily mean that you will be found guilty or charged. It is vital that you exercise your right to remain silent and immediately hire a criminal defense attorney who can reduce the chance of the violation escalating into a criminal proceeding. Violations of restraining orders are taken very seriously in the eyes of the court.
If you get accused of violating a restraining order, remember that it does not always mean you are formally charged being charged with or convicted of a crime. In the case of a violation, the prosecution must prove the different elements of the criminal offense. These elements include:
- The restraining order is legal
- You had knowledge of the restraining order
- You had the intention of violating the restraining order
Defenses To Restraining Order Violations
Lack of knowledge
You must be aware that a restraining order exists in order to violate it. You are considered to have knowledge of a restraining order based on one of three ways:
1) You were present at the hearing upon which the restraining order was granted.
2) If you were not present at the hearing, a copy of the restraining order would have been sent by first class mail to your most recent address.
3) A law enforcement officer at the scene of the alleged violation can verbally inform you that a restraining order has been issued.
Violation of a restraining order is often not intentional and in this case, you would need to prove that the violation was not deliberate.
Restraining Order is Not Legal
The restraining order is only legal if it is lawfully issued by a judge based on probable cause. The penal code 273.6 PC cannot be violated unless the restraining order in question is legal.
Fines and Penalties
California penal code 273.6 states that it is unlawful to intentionally violate the set conditions of a valid restraining order. Violation of a restraining order can result in a number of penalties. These may include monetary fines, community service, jail time. Different states have different laws, so the type of penalty may vary greatly across states. In most states, a restraining order violation is considered a misdemeanor and could incur a fine of up to $5000 and up to a year in jail. If other crimes are committed in addition to the restraining order violation, other penalties may be inflicted.
If you have been accused of violating a restraining order it is imperative that you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Patrick Griffin of Griffin Law is an Award Winning San Diego Criminal Defense & DUI Attorney with a sterling track record. We establish a powerful defense for our clients and are highly skilled at fighting restraining order violations. Clearing your record is our priority, contact us today to arrange a free consultation with the experts at Patrick Griffin Law.