In domestic violence cases, a temporary restraining order stops further incidents and gives the parties involved some time to work out their differences. If a judge believes you could endanger someone closely related to you, they can impose a TRO against you. The judge must hear the applicant’s argument and render a decision before the order is enforceable. To prevent additional criminal charges for disobeying a court order, you must follow the conditions of any restraining orders against you.
Having a temporary protective order against you makes facing criminal accusations considerably more unpleasant. Throughout the order, you are not permitted to visit or speak with your family members (protected individuals). However, if you have a TRO against you in Santa Ana, our skilled criminal defense lawyers at Darwish Law can travel this challenging path with you until a judge rules on your case. They will aid you in comprehending the significance of the restraining order, its requirements, and the penalties for disobeying them. Additionally, your lawyer will put up a lot of effort to resolve your matter fairly.
Understanding California Temporary Restraining Orders
Domestic violence is regarded very severely. When the police respond to a call for assistance involving domestic violence, they must make an arrest. It typically keeps the persons involved apart, protects the victim, and stops abuse and violence from happening again. Domestic violence victims need more protection than an arrest can provide. Most domestic violence offenders are released on bond shortly after being taken into custody. Courts issue temporary restraining orders to prevent offenders from seeing their victims for a defined time before a judge rules on their case.
A temporary protective order, or temporary restraining order, is only in effect while the issue of domestic violence is being resolved. If you have mistreated or issued threats of abuse to a victim of domestic violence, they can obtain a TRO against you. You will not engage in further abuse as long as the order stands. Additionally, it gives the court enough time to hear the case against you before making a decision. The person who files for an order of protection against you is typically someone close to you. They can include:
- Your spouse or ex-partner.
- Current or ex-legal domestic partner.
- Current or ex-cohabitant.
- Current or ex-boyfriend or girlfriend.
If they are 12 years old or older, your child could apply for a TRO against you. Someone else can file a TRO against you on their behalf if they are younger than that.
A second-degree affinity or consanguinity relative can also obtain a TRO against you. These are a few of them:
- Your parents.
- Your siblings.
- Your father or mother-in-law.
- A stepchild or lawfully adopted child.
- Sister or brother-in-law.
- Grandparents or grandparent-in-law.
- Daughter or son-in-law.
If your in-law requests a protective order against you, they must be related to you by your present marriage.
Note that the individual who seeks a TRO will list other members of your family or household who require the court's protection through the obtained order.
The Process of Obtaining a TRO in California
A person who wants to file for a TRO against you must appear in court and submit all the necessary documents. They must justify their need for a protective order against you in the filing. A court clerk will schedule a hearing date if the judge grants their request. If the judge feels that the person is under an immediate threat from you and needs protection, they will sign and issue a TRO.
TROs are effective for 20 to 25 days or until the court rules on the underlying domestic violence case, whichever comes first. That should continue for three weeks at most. Whether or not the petitioner needs a permanent protective order against you will depend on the hearing outcome. The judge will lift the TRO if the dispute is settled by the court before the order expires, but not if the court issues a permanent protective order against you. You will not approach or speak with the protected individual within that period.
Note that a victim of domestic abuse can request a TRO against you even without informing you or appearing in front of a judge in person. On their behalf, a police officer can obtain the order. But, the judge will need enough evidence to support their necessity for defense against you.
The protected person must serve you with the order within five days of your scheduled court hearing after obtaining the TRO. This serving aims to inform you that a protective order has been brought against you. The TRO will only take full effect once you have received the order. Therefore, the protected party is responsible for ensuring you have the TRO.
The TRO must be given to you directly rather than through another person in your life. You can receive the order directly from the protected person, or they can have the police or their lawyer serve it to you on their behalf. In either case, they need to make sure you receive the order. The judge will deem the TRO illegal if you receive the order any other way, like through the mail. As a result, you will not be found guilty of disobeying a court order if you violate the TRO and claim it was invalid because of how you obtained it.
Once you receive the TRO, you must read it carefully and comprehend its contents. This document covers the charges you face, the hearing date and time, and the order's specifics. You have ten to twenty days from receiving the order until the healing to reply to it, or you will be held accountable.
What is Expected of You After Receiving a TRO
Remember that the TRO you obtain will have guidelines you must follow for its validity. Depending on the specifics of your situation, you could be expected to accomplish the following or not:
- To refrain from threatening, stalking, abusing, harassing, following, or sexually abusing the individuals covered by the order.
- Not to interfere with their peace or harm their property.
- Avoid contacting them in any way, including by mail, in person, over the phone, or through other persons.
The following requirements could be included in the order's additional clauses:
- A court order authorizing you to provide the protected person custody, sole authority, or ownership of a child/children or any animals you both own. Additionally, you will not be allowed to approach or harm them.
- A demand that you leave the house, whether you own or rent it, where you lived with the protected person.
- An order requiring you to pay alimony or child support (whichever applies in your situation).
- A demand that you provide the protected person temporary access to or ownership of something you jointly own, like your home, car, or computer. You could be compelled to settle outstanding debts associated with these things.
- To pay the alleged victim of domestic abuse what they have lost, including lost wages, housing costs, medical expenses, dental expenses, legal fees, and counseling costs.
- A directive to pay the victim's legal costs if they cannot do so or if you have a higher income than they do
- A requirement to attend and complete any counseling or treatment program related to your case, like a batterer's program
- For the victim to retain their number or the wireless phone numbers of any youngsters they care for, you must transmit their information if you share a mobile device.
- You could be obligated to provide the victim temporary custody or visitation if any children are involved. The judge will determine the minors' living arrangements, which parent they will live with, how much time they must spend with each parent, and which parent will make important choices that will directly affect them. Remember that any custody, visitation, or support orders made while the TRO is in effect can remain the same even after the TRO is lifted.
- If youngsters are involved in the protective order, a requirement to take parenting programs or anger management sessions. You could be ordered to attend classes until the court is pleased with the outcomes.
- The judge could grant any other requests the victim could have regarding the case.
Consequences for Violating a TRO
When you fail to follow the guidelines of a protection order, it becomes a TRO breach. The prosecutor will then file criminal charges against you, and the judge can order your arrest.
A misdemeanor offense for violating a California TRO carries a maximum one-year jail sentence and a maximum $1,000 in court fees. The prosecutor can charge a protection order violation as a misdemeanor or felony in some situations, though. Depending on your criminal past and the specifics of your case, the prosecutor can decide to file a misdemeanor or felony charge against you.
If you had previously been found guilty of disobeying a protective order or if there was violence involved, your offense can be a wobbler. In the most severe cases, the prosecution will charge the violation as a felony, which carries a possible three-year prison sentence and $10,000 in court fees.
You can also be subject to further punishments if you are guilty of the domestic violence act that led to the protective order violation. Be aware that even if you are not accountable for the primary offense, you can still be guilty of violating a protection order.
The loss of your right to bear arms is one of the additional repercussions of being guilty of breaking a protective order. Adults in California are allowed to buy, use, and possess firearms unless certain conditions apply, like after a felony conviction. If you are guilty of a felony, you will have to turn in any guns you can already own to the police. Throughout the prohibition, you are not permitted to buy a gun.
Fortunately, after serving all court-ordered punishments, you can ask the court to expunge your criminal record. You must finish your term before asking the court to have your record for breaking a protection order erased, even if the court sentences you to jail, prison, or probation. Before submitting the petition, you must also pay all court and assessment fees. The judge will remove all the detrimental effects and limitations of that specific criminal conviction if the court grants your request.
Fighting Charges for Violating a Protective Order
To prevent all the destructive effects of a criminal conviction, you must adequately prepare for the defense if you face charges for violating a protection order. You could enlist the aid of a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer. Fortunately, your lawyer can employ some of the most effective tactics to refute your accusations and ensure that the judge throws them out. Here are some tactics your lawyer can implement in your situation:
You Did Not Intend to Violate The Order
You could have unintentionally disregarded one or more of the requirements on your TRO. You can contend that your conduct was unintentional and simply inadvertent to have the prosecutor dismiss your charges. For example, you could have had a mental impairment or you simply misunderstood the conditions of the order. The judge will dismiss your charges if they believe that your actions were not intentional.
The Order Was Invalid
Remember that if a TRO is not adequately served, it loses its validity. The protected person could have left it at your front door, or given it to your neighbor to deliver it. The TRO becomes invalid if you received the order in any other manner than what is allowed by law. You will not be guilty of violating any of the terms of the protected order if your lawyer can demonstrate that the protected person did not adhere to the established standards for serving the protected order.
The Prosecutor's Evidence is Insufficient
The prosecution must establish all the components of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a defendant in a criminal case. The prosecution, in this case, must show that a judge issued a protective order against you, you received it within the allotted time frame, but you disregarded one or more of its terms. Due to a lack of sufficient evidence, the judge will dismiss your charges if the prosecutor cannot prove each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
What To Do If a Judge Has Issued a TRO Against You
When you have a TRO issued against you, it implies that someone accuses you of domestic violence or abuse and needs the court's protection before your case is considered and decided by a judge. You should treat the order seriously because it is a serious matter.
It would be best if you accept and carefully study the TRO after receiving it. Avoid battling or resisting it because doing so could worsen your underlying case. Make sure you comprehend everything that is mentioned therein. To ensure you do not overlook anything crucial that could further complicate your case, you can ask for the advice and assistance of an experienced criminal lawyer.
Read the protection order against you and understand its purpose. Note all the protected individuals in the protective order. Review the order's conditions, and make sure you abide by them. For example, if the directive mandates that you live apart from the protected person and were previously living with them, make plans for your relocation to a new residence, at least before the case's conclusion.
Do not discuss the protective order's seeming unfairness with the individual who obtained it against you if you believe it to be so. Remember that there could be a directive telling you not to communicate with them in any way. No matter how enraged you could be, resist reaching out to them. Discuss any potential difficulties you could have with your lawyer. Your lawyer will give you guidance and any help you require.
Thus, as soon as you receive the TRO, you must contact a criminal lawyer if you do not already have one. A knowledgeable criminal lawyer will take the time to carefully examine the facts of your case before advising you of your alternatives. They will ensure that you abide by all its conditions to avoid receiving a permanent restraining order. To guarantee that you are reunited with your loved ones again, your lawyer will assist you in court while you contest the protection order.
Find an Experienced Criminal Lawyer Near Me
Have you or a loved one in Santa Ana been the subject of a temporary protective order? If so, what should you do?
To comprehend its legal ramifications, you want the assistance of a qualified criminal lawyer. We will explain the specifics of your order and the guidelines you must follow at Darwish Law. We want to ensure you know your legal options and rights. To find out more about California TROs, contact us at 714-887-4810. Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers will not stop working until a judge resolves your case fairly.