Restraining and protective orders are court issued orders limiting or prohibiting an individual from contacting the alleged victim of a crime. The names for each order are essentially synonymous. In criminal matters, the court is authorized to issue restraining orders, which are generally referred to as criminal protective orders, to protect a victim or witnesses of a crime from intimidation, threats, and harassment by the accused during the pendency of the criminal proceedings. The court is also authorized to issue ex parte no-contact or stay-away orders enjoining a person from stalking, sexually assaulting, coming within a specified distance, or contacting either directly or indirectly, other named members of the victim’s family.
In domestic violence cases, evidence of past harm, which is presented by the underlying charges or other information concerning the defendant’s criminal history, may be sufficient to provide justification for issuance of a criminal protective order. However, in all other cases, a criminal protective order must be based on an additional finding of good cause to believe that an attempt to intimidate or dissuade a victim or witness has occurred or is reasonably likely to occur in the future. That finding may be based on the charged crimes and the circumstances surrounding the commission of the charged offenses, but a mere finding of past harm to the victim or a witness is insufficient to sustain a finding of good cause to issue a protective order.
Thus, for example, in an assault case, it would be an error to enter a criminal protective order based solely on a summary of testimony at the preliminary hearing regarding the charged assaults and the proximity of defendant’s residence to that of his alleged victims. Instead, the court must also make a specific finding of good cause to believe that the accused had already attempted to intimidate or dissuade his or her victims from reporting the crime or testifying at trial, or that there is a reasonable likelihood that intimidation or dissuasion or any other type of harm will occur in the future.This office handles all types of matters related to restraining and protective orders (criminal) in San Diego County. For a free consultation, contact us at:
For more information on restraining orders, see the following: