The court can order a person to do or refrain from doing something, this is known as a restraining order. A retaining order is the court’s way of legally stopping some criminal act such as stalking, sexual assault, or domestic violence.
Is Violating a Restraining Order a Crime in California?
Yes. California defines violating a restraining or protective order as failing to comply with the conditions and terms outlined in the order.
Can I Be Automatically Found Guilty of Violating a Restraining Order?
No. In order to be found guilty, the State has to prove the defendant violated the order.
Are There Any Defenses I Can Use to Fight The Charge of Violating My Restraining Order?
Yes. Specific defenses depend on circumstances surrounding the violation. However, there are some common defenses such as:
- The alleged victim made a false claim the defendant violated the restraining order.
- The defendant didn’t know about the protective order.
- The order is not possible for the defendant to obey.
- The defendant accidentally violated the conditions and terms of the order.
- The order was illegally or improperly issued.
What Is the Criminal Punishment for Violating a Restraining Order?
The punishment for violating a California restraining order depends on whether the defendant violated it before and if the victim suffered any physical injury from the violating.
The crime is considered to be a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If convicted of misdemeanor of a restraining order, it is punishable by up to 1 year in jail. The prosecutor may charge the defendant with a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. If charged with a felony, the defendant can face up to 3 years in prison.
For a felony or a misdemeanor, the defendant may also face a fine, payment of restitution to the victim, counseling services, and relinquishing any personal firearms.
Should I Contact a Lawyer about My Charge?
Yes. It’s in your best interest to talk to a California criminal lawyer about fighting a restraining order violation.