A permanent restraining order (PRO) could have far-reaching consequences for people charged with domestic violence. Getting the advice of an experienced criminal defense lawyer will help you better understand the complexities of your case.
At the Long Beach Criminal Defense Attorney, we have a team of criminal defense attorneys who are highly qualified in handling matters involving domestic violence. We'll walk you through the actions you need to take to comply with a PRO and the options you have for challenging it in court. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our legal services.
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California Restraining Orders
Domestic violence is defined under California laws as any physical abuse or threats of physical or verbal abuse that occurs between two individuals who are or were in an intimate or romantic relationship and are related by marriage, blood, or other legal means.
Depending on the circumstances, they could be domestic or married partners, dating, ex-partners, living together or having lived together in the past, or even parents to a kid. Abuse, whether it be verbal or physical (such as harassment, stalking, or display of threatening behavior), is prohibited by law and is subject to criminal prosecution.
However, the completion of a criminal case could take a long time and meanwhile, the alleged victim could ask the judge to grant a protection order, which is also called a restraining order (RO). California offers domestic violence-specific restraining orders in cases where domestic violence has allegedly occurred.
Permanent Restraining Orders
A permanent restraining order usually comes after the granting of a temporary restraining order. A court hearing is required before a judge can impose a PRO. During the court hearing, the presiding judge will decide whether or not to grant a PRO based on whether or not the person seeking protection is in imminent danger.
A permanent restraining order's duration is dependent on the circumstances surrounding the issuance of the order. A restraining order issued for a domestic violence case, for example, lasts for five years, but a restraining order for civil harassment only lasts for three years.
A permanent protective order could prohibit stalking, physical assault, and any form of contact with the plaintiff. The required distance from the petitioner is approximately one hundred yards.
Contact of any kind, including verbal, written, electronic, and physical, is prohibited. Sometimes there cannot be communication through social media. Restraining orders can also protect other people, including the victim's relatives, household members, and friends.
The Implications of the Restraining Order
Your permanent restraining order could have an impact on the following:
In California, if you've been given a permanent restraining order, the court will automatically assume that you're unfit to have any custody of a child. The amount of time you have to spend parenting your children is drastically cut back or eliminated. As a preventative measure, the legislation includes a provision that mandates the presiding court to make sure that any parent who has perpetrated domestic violence is denied custody rights over their children.
The other party could request a PRO on your child's behalf if they are still minors. It frequently occurs when the opposing parent believes you could be endangering the child's wellbeing or when you have abused the minor. The child could file for a PRO against you once they turn twelve.
However, when you want to increase your chances of being granted visitation or custodial rights, you must demonstrate to the judge that you’ve changed for the better. Regardless of the domestic violence allegations, you can improve your chances of winning a child's custody by demonstrating that you've taken reasonable precautions to protect the child.
Your lawyer will present documentation showing that you successfully finished parenting classes, a batterer's intervention program, and personal anger management sessions, proving that you will no longer assault your children.
However, a PRO does not determine which parent will have custody over the children. Child custody as well as visitation rights are issues that must be resolved in a separate family court proceeding. You’ll still be responsible for paying the child support regardless of the outcome of the custody dispute.
A Move-Out Order
In cases of domestic violence, the defendant could be asked to leave the shared home at the victim's request. A sheriff or other member of the local authorities is going to execute "move out" orders to safeguard the victim of domestic violence and stop any future abuse. The defendant is allowed a couple of days to pack up their possessions and leave the shared residence.
The Effects on Non-Citizens’ Immigration Status
Being convicted of a felony charge in California can result in your deportation if you're not a citizen. Although it doesn't happen often. Consult your lawyer if you don't have U.S. citizenship to avoid such negative consequences.
Lost Gun Rights
You cannot legally possess a handgun in the United States as a person convicted of domestic abuse. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor and the victim was not seriously injured, the ban could last as long as ten years.
Federal law typically restricts gun ownership for domestic violence acts that count as felonies and misdemeanors. The only way you could have this prohibition lifted is to receive a pardon from the president, which is highly unlikely.
Permanent Criminal Records
A conviction for domestic violence will stay on your criminal record for the rest of your life. Your conviction record is going to be brought to light whenever a standard criminal record investigation is performed. Your prospects of finding work, finding housing, and receiving other benefits like state licensing could all be impacted.
What Effect Will the Restraining Order Have on Your Marriage?
A PRO could seem intimidating, but it cannot be used to dissolve a marriage. It also cannot be interpreted as a divorce. As would typically be the case, both of these processes must be completed independently in a separate courtroom.
Restraining Orders and Jurisdiction
Permanent restraining orders for domestic abuse are not limited to certain jurisdictions Even if you no longer reside in the state or county where it had been issued, it will continue to be effective.
A restraining order issued in Long Beach, for instance, remains in effect even if the subject of the order ceases to reside in Long Beach. Even if you move away from California while a restraining order is in effect against you, the order will continue to serve its purpose.
If you locate the alleged victim outside of California and try to contact them, you'll violate the RO. The same rules apply if you enter California with a permanent restraining order that was issued in a different state.
What to Do When You Receive a Restraining Order
You should do the following when issued with a restraining order:
Follow the Order
It will be in your best interests to avoid communicating with the victim, regardless of whether you disagree with the restraining order.
Gather Evidence and Documentation.
You need to compile proof of what took place if you've been wrongfully accused of the act that resulted in a permanent restraining order. You can compile images, call logs, and emails. This will assist in constructing a powerful defense to show you were innocent.
Find eyewitnesses who witnessed the unfolding of the incident described in the permanent restraining order.
The Steps You Should Take If You Were Wrongfully Served with a P.R.O.
An individual can be wrongfully accused of domestic abuse and given a permanent restraining order. You need to take legal measures to get the accusations against you proven wrong and clear yourself to avoid the bad consequences that come with having a permanent restraining order filed against you.
The sooner you retain legal representation, the sooner you can begin building your case and defending your name against the false accusations of domestic violence. If it's established that the person who sought a protective order against you made false accusations, they may face sanctions from the court as well as be ordered to cover your attorney's fees.
As a result, the petitioner will lose all credibility because they submitted their restraining order request deceitfully. This increases the likelihood that you will succeed in the custody dispute. It could also be utilized as evidence in your divorce proceeding.
Contesting Your Permanent Restraining Order
Judges occasionally fail to properly consider and weigh all the facts while making decisions, which can result in an incorrect decision.
If the defendant thinks the court didn't give enough weight to the evidence presented and the verdict is unfair, they have the right to appeal. Permanent restraining orders can be overturned on appeal when the appealing party can show that the court made a procedural or judicial error.
However, regardless of whether you intend to file an appeal or have already done so, you are obligated to continue adhering to the restraining order's conditions and limits. Making an effort to get in touch with the plaintiff could get you into more legal trouble. Your legal representative will review the transcripts and, within 60 days of the court hearing, prepare a Notice of Appeal on your behalf.
A panel of three judges will review the appeal. There will be a thorough review of all relevant paperwork and physical evidence. An appeals court solely takes into account the information and proof presented at the preliminary hearing when rendering a decision.
Here are a few potential defenses your lawyer might raise on your behalf:
- You were wrongly charged with domestic violence.
- You were acting in self-defense.
- What happened was an accident.
- You are not to blame for the victim's injuries.
Violating a Permanent Restraining Order
If a permanent restraining order has been issued, the defendant must comply with the terms of the ruling and refrain from pursuing the alleged victim. If you willfully violate any restraining order provisions, it is called a contempt of court or a permanent restraining order violation and can be punished under the law.
The court will likely pass a lenient stance if this is your first time violating the restraining order and if you've no prior criminal history. However, if you've got a prior criminal history or have committed the offense on multiple occasions, the penalties will be harsher.
To be considered in breach of the conditions of the protective order, you need to be conscious of the order in question and the enforcement officers must have confirmed that you knew what was expected of you. When a court made a grave mistake during the submission procedure, an act that was said to have violated the order won't be referred to as such.
The restraining order will be enforced if it can be proven that the defendant is of sound mind. The violation of the restraining order is considered a wobbler offense, which means that the charges might be either a misdemeanor or a felony. As a result, the penalties could vary depending on the circumstances. The prosecution must show the following for a conviction on a restraining order violation:
- The court legally granted you the protective order, and you knew.
- You had a chance to comply with the court's order, but you chose not to.
- You willfully (intentionally) disregarded the court's order.
If the judge determines that your violation of the permanent restraining order constitutes a misdemeanor, you might face up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine. On the contrary, if it is determined to be a felony you might receive a state sentence of three years or a maximum monetary penalty of $ 10,000.
Find an Experienced Restraining Order Lawyer Near Me
If you have been served with a temporary restraining order or another kind of domestic violence restraining order, you should get legal counsel immediately. It is essential to understand your legal options and seek defense or mitigation, whether you are innocent or guilty.
If you have been issued a restraining order or are being charged with domestic violence, our skilled defense attorneys at the Long Beach Criminal Attorney will fight relentlessly on your behalf. Call us today at 562-308-7807.