In the State of California, a protective order may be issued upon the request of an alleged victim or by a court as a condition of a defendant’s release while criminal charges are pending. If a protective order has been issued against you it is imperative that you abide by the terms of the order because violating a protective order in California can have serious consequences, including the possibility of a lengthy term of imprisonment.
Typically, a protective order is issued in one of two ways. An alleged victim may petition a court for a protective order by alleging that violence, or the threat of violence, has occurred. A court may also issue a protective order on its own if the judge is convinced that one is needed. This generally occurs when a defendant is facing charges of domestic violence (or similar charges) and the court is considering the defendant’s release. A judge may make a protective order part of the release conditions. Regardless of how a protective order is issued, it is an order of the court with all of the inherent power of the judicial system behind it. A violation, therefore, is serious.
Violating a protective order can occur in a number of ways, including, but not limited to, the following examples:
- Directly contacting the alleged victim via telephone or in person
- Indirect contact with the alleged victim using email, social media, or even a third party
- Contacting someone else covered in the protective order, such as a child, parent, or other family member
- Coming in close contact with the alleged victim
- Entering the house or workplace where the alleged victim lives/works if the order prohibits you from being there
- Carrying a firearm
- Threatening the alleged victim in any way
California Penal Code Section 273.6 makes it a separate criminal offense to violate a protective order in California. The potential punishment you face will depend, to a large extent, on two factors:
- Whether you have ever violated a protective order before, AND
- Whether or not the violation resulted in injury
Violating a protective order can result in mandatory jail time and/or a term of imprisonment exceeding one year along with hefty fines. If a protective order has been issued against you in California and you are concerned that you violated the order, or you have questions about the order itself, contact experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney Domenic J. Lombardo today by calling (619) 232-5122 for a free and confidential consultation.