Punishment for Violating a Restraining Order in California

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What is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order prohibits a person from acting or not doing something such as stalking a victim. In California, it’s a crime to violate, or not comply, a restraining order. Anyone convicted of retraining will face a criminal sentence. But the specific sentence depends on the facts of the case, the injuries to the victim, and the number of offenses.

What is the Punishment for Misdemeanor Restraining Order Violation?


The sentence is up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The defendant may also be ordered to pay victim restitution, attend counseling, and relinquish any personal firearms.

Can I Be Convicted for Felony Restraining Order Violation?

Yes. In California, violating a protective order can also be a felony. A felony conviction typically occurs when it is a second offense and/or a victim sustains physical injury because of the violation.

If convicted of felony violation of a restraining order, the defendant can face probation and up to 1 year in county jail, or 16 months to 3 years in prison with a fine of up to $10,000.

Are There Tougher Penalties for Violating an Order a Second Time Within a Year of the First Violation?

Yes. A second violation can still result in a misdemeanor or felony charge. A misdemeanor conviction can result in up to 6 months in jail. A felony conviction can result in at least 1 year in  jail and probation, or 16 months to 3 years in jail. Ultimately, the court has discretion to decide on the punishment by looking at the surrounding factors and any mitigating circumstances.

Is Supervised Probation a Sentencing Option?

The court has the option to sentence a defendant to supervised probation. This means the defendant can’t violate any laws during the probationary period. A violation, including another protective order violation, will result in serving the initial criminal sentence.

Should I Call a Lawyer to Help Me Fight My Restraining Order Violation Charge?

Yes, contact a criminal lawyer regarding how to avoid severe penalties associated with a conviction.

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Last Modified: 08-17-2016 03:09 PM PDT

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