Violations of Restraining Orders
It is not uncommon in domestic violence cases for a court to issue a restraining order, prohibiting the alleged abuser from engaging in certain acts, such as visiting or contacting his or her victim. Restraining orders are designed to prevent domestic violence and are strictly construed against the person restricted by the order. Thus, a person who violates a restraining order may face significant criminal penalties. Anyone faced with a charge of violating a restraining order should speak with a capable attorney regarding their rights. At Hinely Law, our Colusa and Lake County restraining order lawyers have the skills and knowledge needed to help anyone charged with violating a restraining order pursue the best legal result available under the circumstances.Defenses to Charges of Violating a Restraining Order
Under the California penal code, it is a crime for anyone to knowingly and intentionally violate the terms of a restraining or protective order. Therefore, the State must prove that a court issued a valid restraining order, of which the defendant knew, and the defendant acted with intent in violating the order. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a defendant charged with a violation may be able to argue that he or she did not possess the mental state needed to commit a violation. For example, if the restrained person runs into his or her victim in public, the restrained person can argue that the violation was accidental and not intentional. Similarly, if the defendant never received proper notice of the order, or the court did not properly issue the order, he or she should not be found guilty of violating the terms of the order. A restraining order attorney in Colusa or Lake County can make these arguments on a defendant’s behalf.
In many cases, a charge of violating a restraining order will rely solely on circumstantial evidence. As a result, the defendant may be able to argue that the accusation is false, or that the State lacks sufficient evidence to prove that a violation occurred.Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order
Generally, violating a restraining order is a misdemeanor crime. A person convicted of violating a restraining order normally may be fined up to $1,000, or be sentenced to imprisonment for a year, or both. If the violation causes a bodily injury, moreover, the defendant may be fined up to $2,000 and may be sentenced to a jail term of 30 days to a year, or face both a fine and imprisonment.
Furthermore, if a defendant is convicted of a second violation of a restraining order within seven years of a prior conviction, and the second act involved either a credible threat of violence or an act of violence, the defendant may be punished by imprisonment for up to one year. A defendant should consult a Colusa or Lake County restraining order attorney who can devise a strategy to try to avoid these penalties. Similarly, if a defendant is convicted of violating a restraining order for an act that occurred within one year of a previous conviction of violating a restraining order, and the second violation results in bodily harm to the victim, the defendant may be fined up to $2,000 and may be imprisoned for six months to a year, or receive both penalties.Consult a Dedicated Criminal Defense Attorney
Restraining orders must be strictly followed, since a conviction of violating a restraining order can significantly impair your rights. If you face criminal charges due to an alleged violation of a restraining order, you should explore your options for seeking a fair result. The skillful criminal defense attorneys at Hinely Law can help you strive to protect your liberties. We have offices in Colusa, where you can contact us at (530) 458-2950, and in Lakeport, where you can contact us at (707) 995-7006. We frequently defend people in criminal matters in Lake, Colusa, Sutter, and Yuba Counties. We can be reached through our form online or by calling either office to set up a confidential and free meeting with a restraining order lawyer in Colusa or Lake County.