Violation of a Restraining or Protective Order – California Penal Code 273.6
These violations of protective orders usually come up in domestic violence-related offenses. What ends up happening is people are being ordered by the court to stay away from a particular individual who is the subject victim in a criminal case. Part of that order is usually to keep up a hundred yards away, don't annoy them, don't molest them, don't strike them, don't stalk them, don't have anybody else contact them.
Often, what I see happening where these violations occurred, the obvious one is the person is stalking and following the other person and bothering them and getting caught within a hundred yards of the other person. The people are there, and they get arrested. A restraining or protective order violation is covered under California Penal Code 273.6.
But also see them calling, texting, sending things, and posting stuff on Facebook that indirect communication. They somehow think they're sneaky, and they're going to get out of it. They get arrested, handcuffed, and taken away because they can't stay away from others.
Prohibited from Making Contact With Victim
They'll have a third party contact the other person and try to get that person to change their testimony, not testify or simply pass a message along. That would be a violation of a protective order in a criminal case. You don't want to violate an illegal protective order because it will violate your current issue and make your present case a lot more challenging to deal with. It will cause a new charge to be filed against you, so you'll be looking at two separate criminal cases. So, nasty things can flow from a violation of a protective order.
Another thing that I see is that people confuse a protective order and a restraining order. A protective order is put in place by a criminal just while a case is pending to keep the parties separated or after a conviction in a domestic violence case or any other type of case; a protective order can be put in place if necessary it's appropriate. So, that's what a protective order is, and it's a criminal remedy that's dealt with in a criminal domestic violence case most of the time.
A restraining order, on the other hand, is a civil remedy. Someone's bugging you. You don't want them to be bothering you and harassing you anymore. You go to civil court. You request a civil restraining order. The judge grants it. If a person violates the civil restraining order, you can call the police.
The person will be arrested and will be charged with a crime. That's what gives that restraining order some teeth. But just because a restraining order is issued against the person, it doesn't mean the person is convicted of a crime. It is not criminal-related.
Both things could be going on. Somebody could get a restraining order, and at the same time, they could go to the police and have the police arrest the person for stalking them, molesting them, harassing them, and battering them. You're more likely to get a restraining order if you could prove some domestic violence related to whatever happened. Getting a restraining order will be very easy if you can show a criminal conviction in a case. Still, at most times, once you get that criminal conviction, you don't need a restraining order anymore because you're going to end up getting a protective order which is just as effective — if not more effective — than a restraining order in a criminal case.
Full Stay-Away Protective Order
So, protective orders are essential things to look at. A new thing that's going on now in domestic violence cases is that — you can read about this in my book — is that what ends up happening is people are getting arrested for a domestic battery charge. In most cases, the prosecutors try to get a full stay-away protective order right from the first court appearance.
This is horrible for some people because what ends up happening is that they get themselves in a position where they are kicked out of their living location are having problems meeting with their kids because of this criminal protective order. It's a tricky thing. I've thought of some remedies to try and avoid this full protective order being issued where you can't see your loved one, but you can't get it in every case.
The more serious the domestic violence-related issue, the worse the person's criminal record, and this protective order will be more likely. It's going to be a complete protective order, and you're not going to be able to see the other party.
See related: How Can You Challenge a Domestic Violence Protective Order?
Difference Between a Protective and Restraining Order
Many people have asked us the difference between a legal protective order and a restraining order in Los Angeles County? A restraining order is a civil remedy. You go into a civil court and prove some harassment for general restraining order. On the other hand, if you are trying to seek a domestic violence restraining order, you will need to go in front of a judge.
You will have to claim that the person has committed acts of domestic violence against you and that you want a restraining order ordering them not to come within 100 yards of you, call you, stalk you, molest you, or harass you. A domestic violence restraining order is more difficult to prove than a civil harassment restraining order. You are just trying to confirm that the other party is harassing you by trespassing or calling you.
A protective order is a criminal remedy. When someone gets arrested for a domestic violence case, the prosecutors will seek a protective order. You can later get the protective order taken off if you are found not guilty in the case.
Until then, they are not going to take any chances. Sometimes, the victim does not want a complete stay-away order. They only want a level one protective order, just if the person gets angry and tries to hit them again.
The defense would argue for a level one protective order. Unfortunately, in Los Angeles County, the prosecutors seek a full protective order in every domestic violence case while the case is pending. I have some strategies that I use to try to avoid a complete protective order from happening.
Violation of Protective Order in Los Angeles County
What does the prosecutor in Los Angeles County need to prove to convict me of violating a legal protective order? The proof requirements for a violation depend on which type of protective order was granted by the judge.
One example of a protective order would be a level one protective order where you're still allowed to see the other person. You can have peaceful contact with that person. In that scenario, you would have to do something violent to that person or threaten that person to violate the order. The prosecutor could show that you did it and get a violation.
In addition to that, they can also charge you with a new offense if you did something physical toward that other person by violating that protective order. The entire protective order usually says that you have to stay 100 yards away from the person. If you go within 100 yards of the person, the police are called, and the person shows the protective order to the police. You are arrested for violating the protective order.
Calling the person on the phone is also a violation. Having someone else call the person on your behalf violates the protective order. Going on social media and posting something about the person you know they will see is a violation. Even if the protected party calls you, it is a violation; do not answer the call. If the other party messages text, do not answer the text message. If you see them at the grocery store, leave and go to another grocery store.
If you violate a protective order related to a domestic violence case, you need an experienced attorney. You will be facing a new criminal charge for violating the protective order and a probation violation if you are on probation and the complications of your pending case.