In California, domestic violence victims can ask the court for a restraining order against their alleged abusers. A domestic violence restraining order is a court order that is meant to protect victims from abuse or threats of abuse.
A restraining order can order that you:
- Do not contact or go near the protected person
- Surrender your firearms
- Move out of your home
- Follow child custody and visitation orders
- Pay child support
- Pay spousal support
- Stay away from family pets
- Pay specific bills
- Return certain property
- Refrain from making any changes to existing insurance policies
If you fail to appear in court for your hearing, the judge can make the restraining order effective without hearing your side of the story, and the order can last up to five years. The judge can also make orders regarding your children and child support without your input.
What happens if I disobey my restraining order?
If you violate or disobey any of the orders in your restraining order, the police can arrest you, and you can be fined, or you can be sent to jail. Furthermore, the district attorney may decide to file criminal charges against you.
If your restraining order expires and the protected person is still concerned for their safety, they have the option of "renewing" it, which extends the restraining order and gives it a new end date. In some cases, a renewal makes a restraining order permanent with no expiration date.
Can I defend myself?
If someone has asked the court to issue a restraining order against you because of an alleged domestic violence conflict, you are entitled to receive notice of the hearing, you have a right to an attorney, and you have a right to defend yourself.
In most states, the court can issue a temporary order that will last a few days, without holding a hearing, however, the judge must hold a formal hearing before entering a permanent order. This will be your opportunity to present evidence such as clothing, photos, videos, letters, emails, phone or GPS records, computer records, and anything else that may help strengthen your case.
If the petitioner has made false accusations, anything that you can provide as evidence may discredit the petitioner's testimony. Your ability to defend yourself against a permanent order will depend on the quality of your defense and your understanding of the laws in California. Having an experienced attorney on your side will greatly increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
To learn more about restraining order violations and how we can defend you in court, contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney from Okabe & Haushalter today.