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A restraining order is sometimes labeled a ‘protective order’. Protective orders are listed under Penal Code 273.6. This means that someone has filed a complaint and a judge has issued a legal order restraining an individual from contact with that person. If you are aware of such an order pertaining to you and intentionally violate it, you have committed a crime.
The order will indicate which kinds of behaviors are or are not prohibited within the order, but no contact will probably include:
1. Personal contact. This means coming within a prohibited distance of the individual filing the complaint.
3. Text messages or phone calls.
4. Placing messages on a social media page.
5. Surveillance, such as stalking or watching an individual.
Types of restraining orders will pertain to domestic violence, civil harassment (neighbor or co-worker), elder or dependent adult restraining order or workplace violence restraining order.
Three levels of protective orders may be issued. These range from emergency protective orders, as when law enforcement responds to a call involving domestic violence. A temporary restraining order lasts for two or three weeks. After two or three weeks expires, a hearing is held in court to determine if the order needs to be renewed as permanent. A permanent restraining order may last three years and orders the restrained individual to leave the residence and avoid any of the contact listed above. The restrained individual must remain at a determined distance from the protected person at all times.
If you violate the restraining order, you are charged with violating an order under Penal Code 273.6. This is also referred to as ‘contempt of court’.
Some facts must be proven before you can be convicted of violation, however. It must be proven that a judge:
1. Did issue a restraining order against you.
2. You were aware that the restraining order was issued.
3. You willfully violated the order.
A caveat to these proofs might be that the restraining order was invalid. If the judge did not have proper jurisdiction to issue a restraining order, the order is illegal and therefore invalid. It is advisable to address possible illegality before intentionally violating the order. A valid case is much easier to present if you do not intentionally fail to comply with a judge’s orders.
A prosecutor must be able to prove that you knew about a restraining order and then violated it. This will include availability of the order for you to read.
A notice must be given that a person’s civil liberties are being or are about to be restricted. The notice may be served:
1.Verbally, by a judge to the violator who is present in court.
2. In writing by a police officer who serves the notice to an individual.
3. Verbally, by a police officer required to issue the order to an unaware individual.
Penalties for violation of a restraining order may include restitution paid to the victim for the offense, fees paid to a domestic violence shelter or mandatory counseling for such issues as uncontrolled anger or substance abuse. You could also be fined $1000 and held up to one year in a county jail.
If you are accused of violating a restraining order, or you think you have been illegally presented with a restraining order, please contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney today. There are a variety of sound legal defenses pertaining to violation of a restraining order, and a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer is aware of the proper defense for your case.