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If you or a loved one have been served with a restraining order, consider consulting with a Los Angeles restraining order attorney. You need to understand why the judge issued the restraining order. You also need to know what you can and cannot do regarding the person who got the restraining order against you.
Violating a restraining order can mean jail time and fines. An experienced Los Angeles restraining order violation lawyer can guide you so that you abide by the order and not risk being charged with violating the restraining order.
Los Angeles Restraining Order Violation Attorneys
California Penal Code §273.6 PC prohibits people against whom restraining orders have been issued (the “restrained person) from harassing, contacting, visiting (depending on the terms of the order) the person the order protects (the “protected person”).
Generally, there are three types of restraining orders. The first prohibits the restrained person from harassing, stalking emailing, etc., the protected person.
The second type is a “stay away” order. This type of restraining order prohibits the restrained person from being within a certain distance of the protected person, not visit them at their place of work or where they live.
A third type of restraining order is a residence exclusion order. This type of order requires the restrained person to remove his/her belongings from a residence and not go there while the order is in effect.
California courts issue restraining orders in four types of situations:
Domestic Violence Restraining Order
One party may ask for a domestic violence restraining order against another person who is abusing them. The couple are or were in a close relationship, such as marriage, a domestic partnership or a dating relationship. Persons who lived together in the past or who share a child may also seek a domestic violence restraining order.
The person seeking the order does not have to prove that he/she was physically injured.
Rather, that person only needs to show that a current or former intimate partner or first- or second-degree relative has abused or threatened to abuse the person or minor children of that person.
The restrictions imposed by a domestic violence restraining order will vary depending on the circumstances of a particular case.
Generally, the order prohibits a restricted person from contacting the protected person. “Contact” in this context could mean any type of communication: phone calls, emails, texts or messaging through social media.
The order may limit the restricted person’s visitation of minor children. That person may have to pay some bills and spousal/child support.
The order may require the restricted person to attend a year-long batterer intervention program.
Judges often issue domestic violence restraining orders when the restricted person has been charged with domestic battery (Penal Code §243(e)(1)) or inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner (Penal Code §273.5).
Sometimes, those charges are reduced or dismissed. However, that does not automatically remove the restraining order.
Civil Harassment Restraining Orders
A civil harassment restraining order protects a person from harassment, stalking, threats, etc. A person seeking this type of restraining order would do so against someone with whom he is not in a close relationship. It could be a co-worker, roommate or a neighbor.
Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Orders
Persons over the age of 65 or disabled adults may seek protective orders in cases of physical or financial abuse, abandonment or neglect or abuse/mistreatment by a caregiver.
Workplace Violence Restraining Order
An employer can apply for a restraining order to protect an employee or employees from harassing or threatening conduct in a place of business. Note that the employer must be the one to request the restraining order.
If an employee is being harassed at work, and the employer cannot or will not get a restraining order, the employee would have to seek a civil harassment restraining order.
How Long Do Restraining Orders Last?
There are different restraining orders that last for different periods. An emergency protective order can last a few days. A police officer, with the permission of a judge, can issue an emergency protective order. The police might issue an emergency protective order when they respond to a domestic violence incident and believe a person is in immediate danger.
A judge can issue a temporary protective order that will last 21 days. A person can seek a temporary restraining order by filing as motion in court. If the judge agrees, the judge will issue the protective order and schedule a hearing so both sides can argue for or against a permanent restraining order.
After that hearing, the judge could issue a permanent restraining order. That order can last up to five years.
What Are the Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order?
Persons against whom restraining orders are issued commit a misdemeanor if they violate the orders.
Misdemeanor charges carry with them up to one year in county jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
However, if they have violated protective orders more than once, and the current violation involved violence, the violation becomes a “wobbler.” Depending on the facts, the police can charge the restrained person with a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony conviction can mean up to three years in state prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
What are the Defenses to Charges of Violating a Restraining Order? There are arguments experienced Los Angeles restraining order attorneys can make in defending a charge of violating a restraining order.
The restraining order must be lawful. If the judge improperly issued the order, or the judge based the order on mistakes, the restraining order may be dismissed.
In order to be legitimate, the restricted person has to know about the order. If he was not aware of the order and violated it by calling his former spouse or visiting her home, he cannot be guilty of violating the order.
In order to convict a person of violating a restraining order, the prosecutor has to prove the restrained person intended to violate the order. Therefore, if the restrained person showed up at a restaurant or theater not knowing the protected person was also there, no violation occurred.
Get Experienced Los Angeles Restraining Order Violation Lawyers
Conviction of violation of a restraining order in Los Angeles can lead to jail time and fines
Yet, the circumstances of the violation of a restraining order are often unclear. Someone may violate a restraining order by mistake. In those situations, knowledgeable Los Angeles restraining order violation attorneys can make the prosecutors step back and acknowledge the weakness of their charges.
Daniel Perlman and Matthew Cohen are experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at Perlman & Cohen. They have represented clients in all types of criminal cases, including cases involving violations of restraining orders. Perlman & Cohen will stand by you to fight the violation of a restraining order charge. They will also work to get the restraining order lifted, if appropriate. Call them at (310) 299-0062 to set up a free consultation to prepare your defense.