Restraining Orders— What they are, the penalties for violating them, and how to defend yourself (PC 273.6)
Restraining orders are the court’s power for keeping two people apart. Whatever the reasons behind them, a violation carries criminal consequences. Even just a call or text can be a misdemeanor, meaning possible jail time and a fine.
If you face accusations of violating a restraining order, the Restraining Order Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can fight for you. You may have legal options that can reduce or dismiss your charges, but you have to know how to use them. With over 30 years of experience in this field, below we have articulated just a few defenses that may work in a case just like yours. Give it a read and then call us, together we can get through this.
What if I violate the order?
If you look at our Practice Area page on Restraining Orders, we explain to you the various restraining orders that exist. And while each has its own requirements and lengths, violations carry the same basic penalties.
Under California Penal Code 273.6, violating a restraining order is typically a misdemeanor where you face up to one year in county and jail and a fine up to $1000. If the violation results in an injury, the fine doubles to $2000. The maximum jail time stays the same, but there is a mandatory 30 days in jail.
Subsequent violations are “wobblers” meaning they can be prosecuted as felonies or misdemeanors. The penalties depend on the time between violations and if anyone is hurt:
• If you violate the restraining order twice in the same year and someone is hurt, you face a fine up to $2000. If it is prosecuted as a misdemeanor you face jail time between six months and one year. If it is prosecuted as a felony, you face 16 months, or 2 or 3 years of jail time.
• If it is a second violation within seven years that is also violent or has a “credible threat,” you face misdemeanor or felony charges. A misdemeanor conviction carries a jail sentence up to one year. A felony conviction can mean a jail sentence of 16 months, or 2 or 3 years.
What can a lawyer do for me?
In order to convict you of a violation, the prosecutor will have to prove three things:
1. The order is valid;
2. You knew about it; and
3. You intentionally violated it.
Retaining an experienced Restraining Order Defense Attorney is the key to your defense. The penalties for a violation can vary a great deal and the right attorney can affect the consequences dramatically. Our Restraining Order Defense Attorneys will look over your case and determine the right defense in your case. Below are a few defenses that have worked for people just like you.
But I didn’t mean to!
A restraining order violation is an intentional crime. In order to prove you “guilty” the prosecutor must show that you intentionally chose to ignore the order—part three of the definition above. If you broke the order accidentally, you cannot be convicted.
I didn’t even know I had one!
The second part of the definition above is knowledge. The prosecution must prove that you also knew about the order. Depending on the type of order, you might not have known it existed. In some circumstances, the court can order a restraining order without you even knowing it.
Okay, there’s an order, but really? I have to live/work here!
The terms of the restraining order have to be possible. Consider a restraining order demanding you stay 100 yards away from someone. Now say that you live in a cul de sac and his house is the one on the corner. How in the world can you possibly stay 100 yards from him or his house? You cannot. The order is impossible to obey and should not be granted.
These are just three of the defenses we have successfully used in the past. The Los Angeles Criminal attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are ready to help you. When we look over your facts and circumstances, we can make the arguments that can lessen the restrictions or have the restraining order denied. A restraining order is a restriction on you and your freedom. It controls where you go, where you live, play, and work. The experienced Restraining Order Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have 30 years of experience in these matters. We can bring that experience to your defense. Let us work for you to help ensure your life is not drastically changed.
We have offices in San Bernardino, Ventura, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County. Call us today at 888-280-6839 or fill out our intake form for immediate assistance. We will get through this together.