Violating a Restraining Order

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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Most Common Family Law Issues:

Will a Restraining Order Really Protect a Victim?

A restraining order is only a piece of paper. Some abusers may react violently to the restraining order and try to retaliate against the victim. It is critical that a victim carry the restraining order at all times and call the police to report even the smallest violation of it.

What Happens if a Restrained Person Violates the Restraining Order?

Violation of a restraining order is contempt of a court order. A person who violates a restraining order can be arrested, taken to jail, and charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime. The restrained person can be forced to remain in jail until the day of a hearing to determine whether the restraining order had been violated. If convicted, the restrained person could be sentenced to additional jail time and fined.

What Should the Victim Do if a Restrained Person Violates the Restraining Order?

You should report even the slightest violation of the order to the police. Once the restrained person is arrested, the victim must decide whether to press criminal charges. Ultimately, it is the district attorney who will decide whether to prosecute the restrained person for violation of the restraining order. However, it is unlikely that the district attorney will choose to prosecute unless the victim decides to press charges.

If the victim does decide to press criminal charges, be sure to obtain a copy of the arresting officer's official report of the incident. Such documentation will be critical in the case against the restrained person.

Do I Need a Criminal Lawyer?

If you are accused of Domestic Abuse or of violating a Restraining Order, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system.

Victims of Abuse

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or if you believe your abuser has violated a Restraining Order, you should call the police. If there is sufficient evidence, the District Attorney will prosecute the person who committed the abuse against you. 

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Last Modified: 01-13-2014 02:36 PM PST

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