Defense for Violating Restraining Orders
If a judge issues a protective order or a restraining order, you have a legal obligation to obey all the terms and conditions that are specified in that order. If you fail to do so, you could be arrested and charged with violating your protective order. California law does not take violations lightly and if you are convicted, you can face serious consequences and penalties. An experienced criminal defense lawyer at Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law can help defend you against these serious charges.
What Is a Protective Order?
A protective order is a court order that seeks to protect a person from abuse, harassment, stalking or threats of any kind. These types of protective orders generally dictate what the offender is allowed to do and not to do and what type of contact he or she is allowed to have with the protected victim. Restraining orders often restrict personal contact, email messages, phone calls, and other types of communication between the protected individual and the perpetrator.
Types of Protective Orders in California
Below are some examples of types of protective orders in California:
- Domestic violence restraining orders
- Civil harassment restraining orders
- Elder or dependent adult restraining orders
- Workplace violence restraining orders
- Restraining orders under Penal Code section 136.2 (during the pendency of a criminal case)
- Restraining orders imposed as a condition of probation
Violating Protective Orders in San Mateo County
Violating a protective order or restraining order is addressed in California’s Penal Code section 166(c)(1) and section 273.6 PC. In order to prove that you are guilty, the district attorney must prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- A court lawfully issued a written order (such as the ones identified in paragraphs 1 – 6 above);
- The court order prohibited the defendant from (taking some kind of prohibited action);
- The defendant knew of the court order;
- The defendant had the ability to follow the court order; AND
- The defendant willfully or intentionally violated the court order.
If you did not willfully or intentionally violate your protective order, then you cannot be convicted of violating your restraining order.
For example: Tina has a restraining order against her ex-husband Tom because of spousal abuse. As she is eating dinner one night at a local restaurant, she notices her husband Tom at another table. Meeting Tina at the restaurant was a mere coincidence because Tom works down the street and was simply having dinner with clients. According to California law, Tom is not guilty of violating his restraining order because he did not do so intentionally. However, Tom could be in violation of the restraining order if he does not leave the restaurant once he sees Tina.
Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order in California
In the State of California, if you are convicted of violating a restraining order, you could face the following penalties and consequences:
- Misdemeanor Charges
- Up to one year in county jail
- Maximum $1,000 fine
- Restitution to the victim
- Mandatory counseling
Prosecutors could file felony charges against you if this is your second violation of a protective order or if your violation involved an act of violence or a threat of violence.
- Felony Charges
- 16 months to three years in state prison
- Firearm restrictions
- Mandatory counseling
Defenses against Charges of Restraining Order Violations
There are many defenses your Redwood City criminal defense attorney can employ to have the charges against you reduced or even dismissed all together. The prosecution must prove that you intended to violate your restraining order. Your attorney may be able to show that you did not intend to violate your protective order and that the violation was accidental. In many cases, charges of restraining order violations are nothing more than false allegations that a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney can bring to light.
For Example: Jill woke up one morning to find her car windows smashed. She believed it was her ex-boyfriend Bill and pressed charges against him for violating the restraining order. Upon further examination, it was discovered that Bill was nowhere near Jill’s home that night and that her car had simply been vandalized. His criminal defense attorney was able to bring the truth to light and all charges against Bill were dismissed.
Contact Our Redwood City Firm if You Have Questions Regarding a Violation of a Protective Order
At Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, our Redwood City criminal defense lawyers have successfully defended clients throughout the State of California who have been charged with violating their protective order. If you are facing criminal charges in Redwood City, San Francisco, San Jose, Palo Alto, or anywhere in the State of California, contact the dynamic legal team of Ahmed & Sukaram immediately. We will fight for your future.