When a person is charged with a crime related to domestic violence, the accuser often requests a restraining order against the suspect. These orders are meant to protect victims from further abuse.
Restraining orders are often in place for up to three years, regardless of whether the defendant is guilty of the charges or was falsely accused. Violating a restraining order can result in additional consequences even if you are found not guilty of the original charges.
Defining restraining orders
Under California law, protective orders guard against physical abuse, stalking, harassment and threats of violence. In domestic violence cases, they can include:
- Stay-away provisions: The defendant may be ordered to remain a certain distance from the accuser, their children, home, workplace or other locations.
- Residency provisions: The defendant may be forced to move out of the family home shared with the accuser.
- Conduct provisions: The defendant may be prohibited from contacting or taking any threatening actions against the accuser.
Avoid the “wait and see” approach to your defense
Too many defendants make the mistake of proceeding to a domestic violence arraignment without having an experienced San Diego defense attorney in their corner. This can be a fatal flaw and cost the defendant years of personal and financial hardship regardless of the outcome of their domestic violence case.
In many instances, a judge will impose a permanent restraining order until the case is resolved. Those without a knowledgeable lawyer often find themselves suddenly without a home or the legal right to contact their children. They may end up couch-surfing with friends or family or living in a hotel or Airbnb for months.
Be prepared for arraignment to fight protective orders
Contacting an experienced attorney as soon as possible is crucial to avoid a restraining order’s potential repercussions. Your lawyer can provide evidence and witnesses proving why the order is unnecessary. In many cases, the judge will allow a temporary restraining order, put in place immediately after an arrest, to expire.
In addition to avoiding devastating restrictions over where you live or being with your children, your attorney can help you avert harm to your employment, education, professional license and your ability to possess firearms. Restraining orders can be vital tools for protecting victims of domestic abuse, but they can also be an unfair and unnecessary punishment for those facing false or inaccurate charges.