Upon receiving a restraining order, your interactions with the protected party are limited. Additionally, restraining orders will prevent you from living your normal life because of the arising restrictions that break off regular interactions with your loved ones. Since most restraining orders arising from domestic violence involve allegations of causing harm or attempting to inflict injuries to your family members, the law is strict on restraining orders.
You do not want to violate the orders as law enforcers may take further disciplinary actions. Therefore, if you receive a restraining order that directs you to stay away from your victim, it is necessary to speak to a criminal lawyer. When you consult a criminal attorney, you will understand the requirements and restrictions that you need to follow to avoid legal consequences.
You also learn what actions could be considered as restraining order violations. If you need legal representation, your defense lawyer could handle the matter and present the best possible defenses. We at Long Beach Criminal Attorney focus on providing strong criminal defense services to clients with restraining orders against them in Long Beach, California. With our wealth of experience, you will understand the reasons for your restraining order and how to navigate the justice system.
The Nature of a Domestic Restraining Order
Different protective orders exist to serve the needs of the abused people accordingly. Among these directives is a declaration that helps to prevent a victim facing domestic violence from the offender. When the plaintiff reports his/her case to the authorities, you will face strict restrictions for the victim’s sake, to keep him/her out of the harm you potentially pose.
However, before issuing the orders, the judge must receive evidence that satisfies the application criteria. With the proof/details, the judge will then establish a domestic relationship between you and the victim, along with the occurrence of alleged domestic abuse.
Thus, the first element that the abuse victim must prove is that you have a domestic relationship with them. Thus, you may be married or living as domestic partners and have children together. If you are dating the person, the relationship also falls within the domestic criteria to receive a protective order.
On top of this, the orders extend even if you and the protected person are divorced or separated. Since you lived together in the past and may have children together, the restraining orders against domestic violence will be more appropriate than other options like those preventing civil harassment.
The Duration of Validity for Restraining Orders
The validity period for protective orders differs depending on the type of restraining order. Sometimes, the circumstances may make the victims seek emergency or temporary orders for the sake of their immediate safety. Hence, you may receive different order documents that apply until the next set of directives is ready. The three main types of orders and their validity periods are:
The Emergency Restraining Order
When you have severely attacked the victim, he/she is likely to apply for emergency restraining orders that are effective immediately. However, the emergency orders are interim and only serve to maintain the status quo before the court holds a formal hearing to determine whether you are eligible for the permanent protective orders. Usually, a police officer is responsible for issuing these restraining orders, as he/she will be the first party to learn of the victim’s allegations.
Emergency protective orders are valid for five business days or seven calendar days to give the judge enough time to provide further directives. During this period, you will receive a copy of the order requiring you to stay away from the protected party pending the instructions. A violation of the order could lead to your arrest and imposition of severe repercussions.
Temporary Restraining Order
Like emergency protective orders, the temporary orders also apply for a few weeks or months based on the court’s duration to settle the matter. However, temporary orders are within the court’s jurisdiction, meaning the judge will have to issue them.
Despite this, you may not be present for the hearing to issue the directives, as they are often ex-parte orders. Nevertheless, your criminal defense lawyer will be pivotal in helping you go through the terms to help with any subsequent appeals or complaints before receiving the permanent protective orders.
Permanent Protective Orders
Typically, a court-issued permanent restraining order lasts for up to five years to protect the abuse victim from any subsequent attacks of domestic violence. While the name insinuates a permanent state of directives, the five year period takes effect, meaning that you may have a chance to reconcile with the affected person upon the lapse of time.
However, the victim can renew the terms of the restraining orders before the time lapses to extend the restrictive period. Consequently, the infinity of the orders is likely in most cases, especially if you subjected the person to grievous harm.
The Terms of a Domestic Restraining Order
Usually, restraining orders are court directives that aim to protect an affected person from the abuse they receive. In this case, domestic violence will be the primary cause of restraining orders issued against you, as the victim hopes to keep you away from their home and children. Restraining charges are also known as protective orders, based on their role to prevent further harm from the perpetrator of abusive behaviors.
Thus, when you receive the orders, it is advisable to follow the instructions as best as possible to prevent any additional scrutiny or punishments from the court. Apart from domestic protective orders, you may also apply for restraining orders from preventing workplace abuse and civil harassment.
Additionally, restraining orders include specific instructions that may vary depending on circumstances between you and the victim seeking protection. Hence, the judge presiding over the issuing of orders will select the most relevant types of orders to ensure that the victim receives maximum protection from your actions. Some of the directives you may find in a restraining order document include:
To Prevent You from Engaging in Specific Conduct
The conduct you exhibit is the leading cause of domestic violence, primarily if it arises from anger, the need to intimidate, or revenge. As a result, the contents of your restraining order will provide only restrictions that prohibit you from committing any actions associated with the wrongful conduct.
For example, if you are prone to call the protected person’s phone often to threaten or instill fear, the judge may order to seize your phone or the permanent deletion of the victim’s number.
On top of this, your phone records may also be under extreme scrutiny from time to time to ensure that you observe the rules. You also need to note that the protected person has the opportunity to report any recurrent behavior if need be. Thus, you want to avoid making violations, as they may bring about serious repercussions.
Alternatively, the restraining orders may be to prevent you from making threats and harassing the victim. Here, the main issues under scrutiny will be your verbal behavior, including how you interact with other domestic household members apart from the restraining order’s primary applicant.
Thus, your protective order documents may impose strict measures like installing a recorder in your house to monitor your interactions with the people alleging abuse. In case of any suspicious verbal conduct from your side, you may be guilty of violating the directives prohibiting you from engaging in verbal abuse.
Sometimes, the domestic allegations you receive may also arise on the grounds of harassment. Harassment íncludes any activities you subject the domestic violence victim to inflict suffering and emotional distress. For example, giving off non-verbal cues of hostility may amount to harassment in the context of domestic abuse. In instances where you have held items like knives or other potentially dangerous utensils in a threatening manner, you may be guilty of harassment.
Moreover, psychological harassment exists when you threaten to leave with the children or cause severe harm to the family at an indefinite time. The victim may include specific details in his/her application for a protective order to justify the application’s reason. As a result, some of the requirements may consist of extreme directives and consequences upon your failure to follow them.
Assault is also a common behavioral problem that warrants the affected person to seek protective orders against you. Section 240 of the California Penal code defines the offense as an unlawful act that involves attempting to harm a victim around circumstances that make it possible for you to do so.
Moreover, you need to understand that in assault accusations, you do not necessarily have to cause any physical injury to the victim, as long as he/she reasonably believes to be in danger from your actions. For example, if you raise your fist to look like you are about to hurt the person, he/she will have a rightful claim in the assault.
Lastly, a p[rotective order may also order you to seize from damaging the victim’s property. Most cases surrounding property damage in the domestic setting include trashing the house, breaking the victim’s vehicle, and destroying valuable documents out of malice. If the restraining documents mention the exact activity, you must stop doing it. We recommend following it to avoid more severe repercussions.
To Exclude your From the Residence
In adverse cases, you may have to move out of the domestic residence, primarily if you are likely to cause grievous harm to the protected person. Often, restraining orders that require you to move are available when the victim can prove previous encounters where you attacked him/her. However, the judge may also choose to issue the exclusion orders in emergencies where the abuse victim needs to protect the household, including the children, immediately.
When you receive exclusion orders, it is necessary to make logistics arrangements with your attorney to help you avoid going back and forth to the protected person’s house. Therefore, your criminal attorney will be beneficial in helping you request for a time extension or for special allowances that let you collect your essentials from the house without the risk of violation charges.
Additionally, eviction from your original home may extend for long periods, meaning that you may have to look for housing in another part of town or the city. Based on the various renting or leasing agreements you intend to enter, you need to have the protective order’s duration in mind. This way, you will avoid the inconvenience of moving out of the rentals without anywhere else to go.
To Keep you Away from the Protected Person.
If the allegations you receive require you to maintain a safe distance from the domestic abuse victim, you will receive orders from the specific area. Unlike the exclusion orders, stay away orders intend to create a minimum space that separates you from the victim, including in areas away from the house.
With the stay-away orders, you may also face prohibitions against seeing your children if you had any with the person seeking protection. The repercussions of these types of directives will keep you from attending school visits, taking the children out without prior permission, or in some cases, getting in contact with them at all. Hence, you need to consult with your lawyer to determine whether the terms of your orders allow the appeal.
You also have to refrain from going to the protected person’s workplace, among areas that may differ depending on the victim’s requests. Often, people receive orders when the victim has faced past cases of domestic abuse that occurred even outside the home. You may also receive the charges when you exhibit civil harassment behaviors like stalking the protected person even after receiving initial warnings.
Violating a Restraining Order
Criminal cases related to violating a restraining order are common, primarily because the terms of the documents are strict and apply in various circumstances. Therefore, you may face a criminal trial that could end in convictions for going against the specifications. Under section 273.6 of the California Penal Code, violating a restraining order is an offense that attracts misdemeanor or wobbler charges, based on the case facts.
However, before facing criminal convictions, the prosecutor handling your case must prove that you involved yourself in all the crime elements. This way, the fair criminal trial system will prevail to issue punishment only after the submission of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The main illegal features for the prosecutor to prove are:
- You Received a Court-Issued Restraining Order
- You Were Aware of the Terms of the Orders
- You Were capable of Following the Order
- You Violated the Instructions Wilfully
Penalties of Violating a Restraining Order
When the prosecutor succeeds in showing that you disregarded the protective directives against the victim, you will face several penalties as punishment for the offense. Usually, crime attracts misdemeanor charges and penalties. Hence, you may face one-year imprisonment in county jail or pay a fine of up to $1000.
Alternatively, you may face wobbler charges, mainly if you have aggravating factors in your case. A wobbler crime may attract felony or misdemeanor charges, depending on the factors aggravating the issue. For example, if you are a past criminal offender, you will likely face felony charges as part of retribution for the repeated crime. Moreover, if the domestic abuse included the use of weapons to inflict harm, you could face felony charges to prevent similar behavior in the future.
If the judge chooses to impose misdemeanor penalties, you will face the discussed punishments. It is important to remember that the judge has the discretion to enhance or reduce the charges, provided he/she notices outstanding elements of your case.
For felony penalties, you may face a three-year sentence in state prison or pay a maximum fine of $10,000.
Defenses for Violating a Restraining Order
Your criminal lawyer is available to help you prepare some defenses that apply to your matter. With appropriate reasons, your chances of facing reduced penalties or facing an acquittal altogether are better. Therefore, you need to have thorough discussions with your lawyer to develop the best legal arguments possible. Some common defenses to raise are:
- You did not know of the existing protective order issued against you.
- You did not intend to violate the orders.
- You face false allegations, including police misconduct
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me
Dealing with a restraining order is stressful, especially if the person seeking protection makes false allegations to keep you from your family and other essential resources at home. Subsequently, you need the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney to determine the best way forward, including motions in court and defending your rights. At Long Beach Criminal Attorney, we have competent lawyers who could help dismiss the restraining orders against you. Call us today at 562-308-7807 to contact a criminal defense lawyer.