How Can You Challenge a Domestic Violence Protective Order?

Posted by Ronald D. HeddingMar 25, 2022

A protective order is a routine part of the criminal case when someone gets charged with domestic violence in Los Angeles County.  This protective order is not to be confused with a restraining order. 

A restraining order is a civil remedy.  If someone is harassing you or bothering you or if you're with somebody who is your significant other and they batter you, you can get either a civil harassment restraining order or a domestic violence protective order.

Challenge a Domestic Violence Protective Order

The protective order is a criminal concept.  It's similar to a restraining order, but it's called a protective order.  A restraining order has nothing to do with a criminal case. 

It's a protective order, and the way you deal with a protective order and you're the person have the protective order placed on you, you have to be able to show that you're not guilty of the crime. The alleged victim won't have the jurisdiction or authority to issue a protective order against you.

If, on the other hand, you are charged with a domestic violence offense, whether it be a misdemeanor or a felony in LA county, the judge will automatically put a protective order against you when you show up in court for the first time.

It will remain against you while the case is pending. Sometimes, the prosecutor will demand a protective order as part of the criminal resolution even after the issue is resolved. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will review this topic in more detail below.

See related: How Does California Define Domestic Violence?

What Are the Common Domestic Violence Charges?

  • Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC - Domestic Battery;
  • Penal Code 273.5 PC - Corporal Injury to a Spouse;
  • Penal Code 273.6 PC - Violating a Restraining or Protective Order;
  • Penal Code 273a PC - Child Endangerment;
  • Penal Code 273d PC - Child Abuse;
  • Penal Code 368 PC - Elder Abuse;
  • Penal Code 136.1 PC – Intimidating a Witness;
  • Penal Code 422 PC – Criminal Threats;
  • Penal Code 646.9 PC – Stalking;

Types of Protective Orders

This can be a level 1 protective order where you can still see the alleged victim, as long as you have peaceful contact with them.  Other times, they can issue a full protective order, where you're not allowed to come within 100 yards of the alleged victim, you cannot contact them, and you cannot have a third-party contact them.

Types of Protective Orders

So, first and foremost, if you want to get a protective order off, you have to get a not guilty verdict, and then the protective order will go away.

If, on the other hand, you end up getting convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony in a domestic violence case in one of the LA county courts – and I've been handling these cases now for 30 years with a lot of success – then you're in a position where you're trying to get, through your attorney, a level 1 protective order if that's what you choose to do.  That is going to be up to the judge. 

The prosecutor can argue for or against it.  Your attorney can have their say, and the judge will decide. Let's say that after you're convicted of either a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence case, also known as a spousal battery case, you get a protective order issued against you, and it's a full stay away. 

See related: Domestic Violence and Restitution

How to Remove a Protective Order?

You can still get it off you, but you may have to wait.  You may have to first:

  • get some domestic violence courses under your belt;
  • show that you can follow directions, follow the court's order;
  • show you're no longer a threat to the victim, whether that victim is your husband or wife or your significant other.

The judge will want to evaluate whether or not that person will be safe and that usually takes some time. 

So, I go in after cases all the time; after a few months has gone by and my client has done some of the 52-week domestic violence programs, has shown they can follow instructions and not hurt the victim, we get that protective order dropped down to a level 1, which is an order telling you not to annoy, abuse, harass, stalk, threaten or hurt the other party.

See related: Video - Domestic Violence Chalk Talk

Violating a Protective Order – Penal Code 273.6 PC

Criminal protective orders (CPOs) are restraining orders issued by a criminal court as part of a domestic violence prosecution. It outlines and dictates the type of behavior that is acceptable or prohibited. Violating a California protective order is a criminal offense punishable by law.

When protective order exists, the restrained person must avoid contacting the protected person. There are different forms of contact, such as personal contact, where they must remain a certain distance away from the victim.

But there are other forms of prohibited contact, such as through electronic means such as text, email, phone calls, and social media. Criminal protective orders will remain in effect from the first court date until the case's resolution and could potentially extend up to ten years as part of the defendant's sentence.

Violating a Protective Order – Penal Code 273.6 PC

A violation of a criminal protective order can carry harsh consequences under California Penal Code 273.6 PC. While the domestic violence case is still pending, following the provisions of the CPO is a condition of their release on bail. 

The judge could immediately remand the defendant to the Sheriff's Department's custody if the judge decides the CPO was violated. Violation of the protective order is a separate misdemeanor crime that carries jail time, fines, and fees.

However, more importantly, violating a criminal protective order is considered a probation violation. If the court determines a defendant violated their probation, they have the authority to impose any sentence up to the maximum for the underlying offense. 

The terms of a CPO in a domestic violence case could be disruptive for a charged defendant, resulting in losing their housing and a strain on the family. 

Thus, rather than violate the protective order and face the increased consequences while out on bail or after a conviction while on probation, the best approach for addressing a restrictive criminal protective order is to file a formal motion to modify the criminal protective order before the court. 

The judge has broad discretion to modify the terms and conditions of a CPO to address specific circumstances faced by the defendant.

See related: Mitigating Domestic Violence Related Charges

We Can Help You Deal with Protective Orders

So, if you're looking for an attorney who knows how to deal with protective orders, that knows the ins and outs of protective orders, restraining orders, spousal restraining orders, you've come to the right place. 

I will give you the truth.  I will tell you what is necessary.  I will tell you a strategy that relates to your case.  You will have to meet with me, be honest with me, give me all of the details.

So, if you need somebody to help you with a domestic violence protective order in LA County, pick up the phone.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  Let my 30 years of experience work for you. The Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles County, and we serve people across Southern California. We offer a free case consultation by phone, or you can fill out our contact form.