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Can I Face Criminal Charges for Violating a Protective Order?

 Posted on September 21, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Untitled---2023-09-29T113538.246.jpgA protective order, also known as a restraining order or an order of protection, is a legal document issued by the court to protect people from abuse or harassment. These orders are typically filed in cases involving allegations of domestic violence, stalking, harassment, or other forms of violence or abuse. A protective order can place significant restrictions on a person. They may be accused of violating the terms of the order when engaging in daily activities such as contacting their family members or returning to their home. Violations of protective orders can result in serious criminal charges. In these situations, an experienced attorney can provide guidance on how to defend against these accusations and avoid penalties.

Understanding Protective Orders in California

In California, protective orders may be a factor in cases where a person is arrested for domestic battery. They may also be issued when an alleged victim contacts law enforcement or emergency services to report domestic violence or abuse. The purpose of a protective order is to prevent a person from suffering harm due to violence, threats, abuse, or harassment.

California law allows for a few different types of protective orders:

  • Emergency Protective Order (EPO): This type of order is usually sought by law enforcement officers when a person calls 911 about domestic violence. If there is an imminent threat of harm, a judge may issue an emergency order that will last for a short period of time. This can provide temporary protection until a more permanent solution can be established.

  • Criminal Protective Order (CPO): If criminal charges are filed against a person for domestic battery or another offense involving domestic violence, the court may issue this type of protective order. An order may remain in effect while a criminal case is ongoing. If the defendant is convicted, another CPO may be put in place to provide long-term protections against violence or abuse.

  • Domestic violence restraining order: A person who claims that they have been the victim of domestic violence may pursue a civil restraining order. This may allow certain protections to be put in place that are meant to prevent future acts of abuse.

  • Civil harassment restraining order: If a person claims that they have been the victim of stalking or harassment by someone other than a member of their family or a current or former romantic partner, they may seek this type of restraining order to prevent the person from contacting them or taking any other actions that are meant to cause distress or harm.

The Consequences of Violating a Protective Order

Protective orders may place a number of restrictions on a person. They may be prevented from contacting their family members or others named in the order, and they may be required to stay a certain distance away from alleged victims and their homes and workplaces. They may be forced to leave their home and find new living arrangements. In most cases, a person will be prevented from owning or possessing firearms while a protective order is in effect. Any violations of these restrictions could lead to additional criminal charges.

Knowingly violating a protective order is a misdemeanor offense. The potential penalties may include:

  • Fines: The court may impose fines of up to $1,000 for a first-time offense. If a violation resulted in someone being physically injured, the maximum fine is $2,000. A fine of up to $2,000 may also apply for any additional violations that took place within one year of a previous violation.

  • Imprisonment: In most cases, the maximum sentence for violating a protective order is one year in county jail. An offense involving physical injuries to others carries a minimum sentence of 30 days, although this may be reduced to 48 hours depending on whether there is a likelihood of future violations or issues that could affect the safety of alleged victims. A second violation within one year carries a minimum sentence of six months, although this may be reduced to 30 days based on the facts and circumstances of the case.

  • Counseling or treatment programs: Offenders may be required to attend anger management classes, domestic violence prevention treatment, or other mental health programs. Participation in these programs may help determine whether the sentence for a violation can be reduced.

  • Probation: In some cases, the court may allow a person to complete a period of probation instead of imprisonment. Probation may involve conditions such as mandatory counseling, and a person may also be required to pay fines, make payments to a domestic violence shelter, or reimburse the alleged victim for the costs of mental health treatment or other expenses related to abuse or harassment.

Contact Our Palo Alto Protective Order Violation Attorney

If you have been accused of domestic violence and are facing a possible protective order, it is important to understand the restrictions that will apply to you. Violations of these restrictions can lead to serious penalties. At Fuller Law Firm, our Santa Clara County domestic violence lawyer can provide legal representation in these cases, helping you defend against accusations of abuse. We will work with you to respond to protective orders and claims that you have committed violations or other criminal offenses. To schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help in these situations, contact us at 408-234-7563.

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