Suppose you are in an intimate relationship with a person or are related to them by blood, and you commit domestic violence. In that case, they can obtain a permanent restraining order against you. The plaintiff or victim is called the protected person, while you, the accused, is called the restrained person. When someone else feels threatened by you or claims you threaten to harm them, they can file a petition with a Los Angeles court for a protective order.
A permanent restraining order in domestic violence cases can last up to five years. If you receive a permanent restraining order from a relative or a person you are in an intimate relationship with, it bars you from doing many things. If you violate any of the protective order rules, you risk going to jail. However, you can fight against a permanent restraining order or charges for its breach with our attorneys’ help at The LA Criminal Defense Law Firm.
Understanding Domestic Violence
If you are accused of abusing or issuing offensive threats to a person you are currently or formerly in a relationship with, it is domestic abuse. Domestic abuse can also be between family members, such as abuse against a child, a parent, or any closely related relative. According to laws on domestic violence, abuse happens when:
You physically hurt or try to hurt another person, and you do so intentionally or with recklessness
Sexual assault in the home is also a form of domestic violence
Causing reasonable fear to another person by making them believe that they are about to get seriously hurt or
Stalking, harassing, hitting or threatening a person, disturbing their peace or damaging their property
When an alleged victim accuses you of physical abuse to obtain a permanent protective order against you, the abuse is not only hitting them. Pushing, pulling their hair, shoving, scaring, kicking, or controlling their coming and going are domestic abuse forms. Additionally, abusing the family pets can be included in the claim of domestic abuse to obtain a restraining order.
A person can also obtain a permanent restraining order against you if you abuse them verbally, psychologically, or emotionally. Abuse is not only defined as physical abuse. Abuse takes various forms because the abuser uses different tactics to achieve power or control over the abused person.
When a person in a domestic relationship with you feels you abuse them, they can petition the court to issue a restraining order against you.
Understanding Domestic Violence Protective Order
As earlier stated, a person in an intimate relationship with you or formerly in a relationship can obtain protective orders against you, citing domestic violence. A restraining order in domestic violence is a court-issued document protecting a person from threats or abuse issued by a person they share an intimate relationship with. A person can only seek domestic restraining orders against you if:
You have abused them or issued threats of abuse against them
They are closely related to you, such as:
You are a married couple or are registered as domestic partners
You are separated or divorced
You dated or are still dating
You are roommates, or you used to live together
You share a child
You share a blood relation such as a child, brother, parent, grandmother or father, sister or in-law
A parent can also be accused of abusing their child by the other parent. This means, if you share a child with an ex or current partner, they can obtain a restraining order against you to protect their child. If your child is over 12 years, they can directly petition the court to issue them with a protective order against you.
Overview of Permanent Restraining Order
Although the name suggests the order to be permanent, a permanent domestic protective order lasts up to five years. The consequences of a permanent protective order are adverse to you and other parties that may be affected. Before the court issues a permanent restraining order, they begin by issuing a temporary protective order.
During the stay of the temporary restraining order, you have a chance to respond to the order given to you in court. With the help of a lawyer, you can challenge the temporary restraining order.
Typically, after the court issues a temporary restraining order, both parties are set a hearing date to present their case. After each side shows their case, the judge decides if to issue a permanent restraining order or not, and for how long. It is critical to note that upon expiry of the permanent protective order, the protected person can petition the court for its extension. This means as the restrained person, you will continue to suffer the consequences of a restraining order if the petition is successful.
What to Expect with a Permanent Restraining Order
Although you can successfully contest against a permanent protective order, once it is issued, it will restrict you from many things that you enjoyed doing before. Additionally, the permanent protective order restricts you from:
Being near your children, relatives, or persons that previously lived with you
To avoid going to your home, the workplace of the protected person or the school where your children attend
From living in your house even when you previously lived with the protected person
Not to own or have a gun
To adhere to the child custody and visitation guidelines
To ensure you make child support payments
To pay partner or spousal support in cases where you were married or were registered, domestic partners
To keep off your domestic pets
Pay specific bills
Avoid incurring huge expenses that would affect your property or that belonging to the other partner
Enroll and complete a program on batterer intervention that lasts for 52 weeks
If a permanent order is issued and the above terms are included in it, you must obey them. A violation of any of the orders will see you back in court defending yourself against the violations resulting in a jail term.
However, there are things a permanent protective order cannot do. These things are:
A permanent protective order is not a divorce. This means, when one is obtained against you, it does not mean your marriage is over, or your domestic partnership is terminated. If the party that obtained the order or yourself wants an end to the relationship, you must have a separate petition.
A permanent restraining order does not determine paternity or parentage. If you share a child with the protected person or the restraining order was obtained to protect the child, it does not mean you lose your child’s right. You and the protected person can agree on parentage terms and ask the court to enter the agreement into judgment. You can also move to court to seek your rights if the protected person keeps you away from your child illegally.
Consequences of a Permanent Restraining Order Against You
When the court issues a domestic violence permanent restraining order against you, you will be prohibited from doing many things you like and ordered to do some you don’t like. The repercussions of having a permanent restraining order against you are severe. Some of these include:
Restraint to your Freedom
When a person is not restrained or prevented from doing something, they often take their freedom for granted. With independence, you can go anywhere you like, engage in activities you enjoy and do things that you feel are right. Unfortunately, a permanent restraining order can restrict you from enjoying life by taking away your freedom.
For instance, if you and the protected person enjoyed dining at a particular restaurant, you will lose the freedom to enjoy your meal there. When the order states you stay away from specific places the protected person wants, it could indicate your favorite restaurant. Some couples join a member’s club to enjoy recreational activities such as playing golf or tennis and socializing. A permanent restraining order can bar you from going to this club, meaning you will give up on your recreation activities or socializing there.
Restraining your freedom of movement and enjoying life is frustrating, and violating the orders can result in jail time. A permanent restraining order lasts a long time, and fighting against its issuance is critical to your freedom.
Leaving your Home
A home is every person’s sanctuary where you enjoy time with your family and relax. A permanent restraining order can see you move out of your home and look for another place to stay. Aside from the added costs, you will be forced to stay away from the house you enjoyed and start looking for another place that gives you similar joy.
Challenges in Seeing your Children
In an ideal world, parents prefer staying with their children and having access to them anytime they wish. This is also critical to the psychological development of your children. Unfortunately, a permanent restraining order can deny you the joy of being with your children as you please. When you could enjoy time with your children, you will suddenly lose that opportunity, which would affect you and the children.
You cannot Own or have a Gun
When a permanent restraining order has been issued against you, you lose the privilege of having or owning a gun for the period of its effect. If you had a firearm before the orders, the law requires you to surrender or sell them. If you enjoyed hunting, you would give up your hobby because the privilege of having or using a gun is taken away from you.
Violating a Permanent Restraining Order
Permanent restraining orders are court issued documents that must be obeyed and respected. Unfortunately, the orders’ frustrations can result in you breaking them, and hence facing criminal charges according to PEN 273.6. Other times, the restrained person can accuse you of violating the orders, and a charge for the violation is triggered.
Violating or disobeying the terms in a restraining order can result in a misdemeanor or a felony charge. If during the time the permanent protective order is in effect, you harassed, physically injured, or threatened the protected person, you can face charges of violating PEN 273.6.
If you are charged with violating a permanent restraining order, the prosecutor must prove their case before the court arrives at a conviction. The state must prove this by determining various factors or elements of the offense. These include:
Determining that the court legally issued the permanent protective order
That you were aware of the given permanent restraining order
You were capable of following the terms in the order and
You violated the terms of the order willfully
While proving the element of knowledge, the prosecutor must show the court that you knew about the permanent order’s existence and read its contents. If this is not determined, the state will drop the charges against you.
In proving willfulness, the prosecutor must show the court that you purposely or willingly carried out the act. For instance, your ex-wife obtained a permanent restraining order against you that indicated you must not contact them or go to certain places where they frequent. You read the order and are willing to obey the terms therein. Unfortunately, one day you are dining with some friends in a restaurant you did not expect your ex-wife to go to, but she is there.
If she accuses you of violating the terms of the restraining order, your lawyer will argue that it was not intentional, and you did not contact her. The accidental encounter cannot be used to find you guilty of the offense in California.
Penalties for Violating a Permanent Restraining Order
If the prosecutor can prove you violated the terms on the restraining order by determining the various elements, you will be guilty of violating PC 273.6. The offense of violating a restraining order is a wobbler in California. The circumstances of your crime and your criminal background determine the charges the prosecutor will prefer against you.
If you receive a misdemeanor conviction, you could be sentenced to one year in county jail and a fine of $1,000 or less. A felony conviction, on the other hand, carries steeper penalties. You may earn a county jail time of sixteen or twenty-four or thirty-six months and a $10,000 or less cash fine.
Before a judge issues a verdict, other factors are considered to enhance the penalties you receive. These factors include whether you caused injuries to the victim as you violated the orders, or you have a prior conviction for the same offense.
Probation as a Punishment for Violating a Permanent Restraining Order
Another possible punishment for violating a permanent restraining order is probation. During the probation period, you are prohibited from committing another offense, aside from traffic infractions. Probation is issued with strict conditions that you must follow failure to which the sentence is revoked and a jail sentence given instead. These conditions include:
Frequently visiting with your probation officer
Attending mandatory counseling
Carrying out community service works
The reinstitution of expenses to the victim following the violation
These, among other terms, must be strictly followed to avoid a revocation of your sentence.
Defending Yourself against Permanent Restraining Order Violations
As earlier stated, violating a permanent restraining order is an offense severely punished in California. If you are charged with this offense, you must engage an experienced attorney’s services to formulate your defense strategies. After studying your case, your lawyer will develop reasons that will challenge the elements of the offense the prosecutor must determine. Some of the defenses your lawyer will present include:
You did not know there was a Permanent Restraining Order against you
Knowledge is one of the critical elements to prove for a conviction. If you never knew or the prosecutor cannot prove this element, you cannot become convicted. This is possible where the restraining order was issued in your absence, and you never received a copy of it. An order can mistakenly be served to another person and assumed that you received it. If there is no evidence that you knew about it, the court cannot convict you.
You had no Intention of Violating the Order
Intent or willfulness is another critical element that must be determined for a guilty verdict. The prosecutor must prove that you violated the permanent restraining order intentionally. If this is not shown, the court cannot find you guilty of violating the law.
For instance, one of the permanent protective order conditions is to stay a certain distance from the protected person. You have every intention of obeying the order, but one day you are at the grocery store, and the protected person is in the same store. As you went into the store, you had no idea the person would be there or come there.
If the protected person sees you and accuses you of violating the permanent protective order conditions, your lawyer can argue that the violation was accidental. In this case, you will be found innocent of the offense.
You Couldn't Follow Follow the Permanent Protective Order Requirements
Sometimes, the order’s terms can be impossible for you to follow, and you end up violating the order. If this is the case, the court cannot convict you of violating the order because you could not obey it. For instance, a restraining order may ask you to avoid using a particular road within the protected person’s neighborhood. But, this is the road to your place of work or your home, and no other route is available.
In this case, charges of violating the permanent protective order will not prevail. Your lawyer will argue that it is unfair for you to be asked to obey those terms when you couldn’t follow the orders.
The Restraining Order was Unlawfully Given
One of the elements the prosecutor must prove to receive a conviction is that the order was issued lawfully. If the court lacked the mandate to give that order, your lawyer can point this out and challenge the legality of it. The order might also have been issued based on misleading and false information from the protected person. If any of these is the case, the order can be considered invalid, and the charges dismissed.
In some cases, the protected person can falsely accuse you of violating the order. False accusations are common in criminal cases. In this case, if you and the protected person are going through a protracted divorce, false allegations for revenge are likely. If this is the case, your lawyer can point that out and expose the truth to have the charges dropped.
What to Do After Receiving a Permanent Restraining Order
When you receive a permanent restraining order, you may feel angry and frustrated. The thought of being barred from places and things you love is devastating. However, a permanent protective order is a court document that must be obeyed, and failing to do so can result in criminal proceedings against you. If you receive a conviction for not following the orders, the consequences are more and can adversely affect your life.
An important thing to remember is that a restraining order is issued against you to control your conduct. This means, even when the protected person tries to make contact, you should not be tempted to respond. Instead, let them lift the order because they can later accuse you of violating it.
You can also petition the court to lift the permanent restraining orders against you. Your lawyer can argue that you have changed your ways and have witnesses testify to that. The protected person is informed of your intentions and can file a petition to protest it or accept it. However, the ultimate decision to lift or not to lift the order lies with the judge.
After the protective order expiry, the alleged victim can apply for an extension for five years. However, if you have obeyed the order and have shown change, the court can deny their request and lift it.
Find a Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me
Receiving a permanent restraining order is frustrating. In Los Angeles, this order curtails your freedom for an extended period, and disobeying it can result in you facing criminal charges. However, you can fight against receiving a permanent restraining order when you are served with the temporary restraining order. If the order is issued, accusations of violating it can be more devastating. With the help of an attorney from The LA Criminal Defense Law Firm, you can fight and prevail against these allegations. Call our office at 310-935-1675 to discuss your case in detail.