Domestic violence is something that courts in California take very seriously. Prosecutors will usually seek a criminal protective order against the defendant during the pendency of a criminal case, or after, in cases of domestic violence.  Ironically, the prosecutor will likely seek such an order even if the alleged victim doesn’t want any order in place at all.

Criminal protective orders are tools that courts use to protect alleged victims of domestic violence, and they can be either a no contact order, a no harass order or a stay away order. If there is a criminal case where a person has been charged with domestic violence, one or all of these orders will likely be in effect while the case is pending.

What types of conduct are prohibited by a criminal protective order?

If you have been charged with a crime of domestic violence, you need to know that there are strong consequences for violating the order put in place by the court. Some of the actions that may be considered to be violating the order include:

  • Contacting the person in any way – including via phone, text, email or any other means
  • Being in the same place at the same time as your ex or your children
  • Going to specific places – such as your child’s school – while the order is in effect
  • Owning or possessing a firearm

If you are engaging in any of these acts while the order is in effect, you are subject to potential arrest. You will most likely have to serve time in jail as well as a result of the violation of the order. You may be found to be in violation of the order even if you respond to the victim after he/she reaches out to you. No contact means no contact.

Some people think that they may be able to work things out by talking with their spouse or partner. That if they just had the chance to talk things through, everything will be fine. That the issue will pass and people can move on with their lives. However, know that your partner or ex does not make the determination about whether or not these cases move forward. The prosecutors in the case make the decision about how things proceed, so any attempts made to contact the other side leave you at serious risk.

In these cases, your best strategy is to work with a lawyer and discontinue communication with your partner outside of legal proceedings. Anything that you say could be construed against you, and result in the court potentially believing your partner’s allegations.