What Happens If I Violate My Restraining Order?
Restraining orders are civil court orders that reported victims of domestic violence can file against their alleged abusers. As a result, the abuser will be limited in their actions, behaviors, and whereabouts, while the victim will receive certain legal protections against further violence. A restraining order in California can severely restrict the freedoms of a reported abuser, making it challenging for them to “get it right” every time.
For instance, the abuser may have come too close in proximity with the victim, failed to pay temporary child support, or called the victim’s cell phone (by accident or on purpose). Whatever the case may be, it’s important to understand what could happen if you violate a restraining order in California. The violation and subsequent penalty depend on the type of restraining order against you. General restraining orders can include:
Personal Conduct Order: Requires the abuser to stop specific acts against the victim or “protected person.” These acts can include:
- Contacting, calling, or sending any messages
- Attacking, striking, or battering
- Sexually assaulting
- Disturbing the peace of the protected people
Stay-Away Order: Requires the abuser to stay a certain distance away from the protected person(s) or certain areas where the protected person(s) stay(s). These areas are:
- Their residence
- Their place of work
- Their children’s schools or places of childcare
- Their vehicle
- Other important places where they go
Residence Exclusion Order: Requires the restrained person to move out of their residence and only take clothing and personal belongings until the court hearing.
Penalties for a Restraining Order Violation
In California, violating a restraining order is a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or up to $1,000 fines. If a violation resulted in physical injury, you may get sentenced to 30 days to 1 year in jail and pay $2,000 fines. A subsequent restraining order violation that results in physical injury is punishable by up to $2,000 fines and/or 6 to 12 months in county jail.
These criminal penalties may be accompanied by a civil contempt action. The reported victim can file papers in court asking the judge to find you in “contempt of court” for violating your restraining order(s). As a result, you may go to jail for 5 days for each violation. It’s worth mentioning that the reported victim should only file contempt actions as a last-resort option, such as in cases where their abuser repeatedly violates the restraining order.
To have any chance of success in convicting you for being in contempt of court, the victim must come to court prepared with detailed descriptions of each time a violation occurred, including dates, times, witness statements, police reports, pictures, security camera footage, etc.
Accused of Violating Your Restraining Order?
If you are accused of breaking the rules outlined in your restraining order, you cannot make the mistake of going to court empty-handed. You need powerful legal defense equipped with a compelling defense strategy in your corner, which is why the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed is your go-to law firm for all your criminal defense needs.
Get to work sooner rather than later. To learn about your legal options, contact us at (510) 907-6600 today!