How Does California Law Define Restraining Order Violations?

California Penal Code § 273.6 (a) states that any intentional and knowing violation of a protective order results in a restraining order violation. In domestic violence cases, spouses who fear for their or their children’s lives and safety might file a protective order against the alleged abuser.

This could be an emergency or temporary protective order until a hearing takes place to decide whether the order should be made permanent. You must obey all provisions outlined in these orders the entire time they are in place. Failing to obey the provisions results in a restraining order violation, causing more legal trouble. 

Common Restraining Order Violations

A protective order lays out specific restrictions for the restrained person. Depending on the type of order issued, you might have to abide by the following:

  • No contact physically or by calling or sending messages
  • Staying at least 50-100 yards apart from the protected person, their work, their children’s schools, or other important places they frequent
  • Moving out of the protected person’s home immediately
  • Turning over your guns to law enforcement

As hard as it might be to stay away from your own kids, disobeying any of these provisions violates the protective order and results in severe consequences. It is important to speak with a restraining order violation attorney in Oakland to know your options.

What Happens if You Violate a Restraining Order in Oakland?

After you’re accused of violating a restraining order, you’ll be arrested and required to attend a violation hearing. At the hearing, the prosecution has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. According to California Penal Code § 273.6, the following must be true to obtain a conviction:

  • The court issued a restraining order lawfully
  • The defendant was made aware of the order
  • The defendant was able to follow the order
  • The defendant willfully disobeyed the order

Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order

Penalties vary depending on the facts of your case. You will most likely face a misdemeanor charge resulting in up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1,000. However, suppose this is a subsequent conviction of violating a protective order within one year of the first offense that results in physical harm to the alleged victim. In that case, you’ll receive between six months to a year in county jail and fines of up to $2,000.

Even more, if your first violation resulted in physical harm to the alleged victim, you could pay fines of up to $2,000 and face between 30 days to a year in jail. Depending on specific details of your case, you could face felony charges that could leave you spending up to three years in jail and paying fines of up to $10,000.

Defenses Against a Restraining Order Violation

Often, a restraining order is only temporary until a hearing takes place, and a violation can really set you back when you’re trying to prevent a protection order from becoming permanent. However, your attorney can create doubt in your case to keep a violation from staining your record and forcing you to possibly serve jail time and pay fines.

You might have the following defenses available to you to challenge the prosecution’s case:

  • The restraining order was not lawful in the first place
  • You were unaware of the restraining order against you
  • You did not disobey the order willfully
  • You didn’t have the ability to abide by the provisions in the order
  • The charges are based on false accusations from a toxic partner claiming you violated the court order

Your Reputation Is On the Line—Call Seth Morris Today

Being convicted for violating a restraining order may keep you from seeing your kids, force you to relinquish your gun rights, and take away future work opportunities. On top of that, you’ll face high fines and serve time in jail.

Your California criminal defense attorney won’t let the prosecution get by with presenting a case based on weak evidence. Seth Morris of Morris Law will exhaust all options and challenge the case against you from every angle to ensure a positive outcome. Call 510-330-0814 today for a free consultation with a restraining order lawyer in California.