Orange County Restraining Order Defense Attorney
Restraining orders serve a valid purpose. There are times when victims need protection from their abusers. Unfortunately, it's a legal protection that many people who don't need it often take advantage of in unfair ways. Far too often, restraining orders are weaponized by someone vindictive. Many people, too, upon receiving restraining orders, are unsure of how or even if they have any recourse.
Fortunately, there are ways that these orders can be challenged. However, because so many things are tilted in the favor of alleged victims, it's important that you have a strong case when challenging a restraining order. At Power Trial Lawyers, we help people fight back with a formidable argument and an aggressive effort. We can help you push back against someone petitioning for a restraining order against you.What to Expect From a Restraining Order
Restraining orders exist for the purpose of protecting victims. Anyone who the court believes to be an abuser may have a series of restrictions placed on them, particularly as related to their accuser. The specifics of what is included in the order will be different in each case, as the court puts together orders that they believe to be appropriate for the situation. Some of the things that a restraining order may require of you include:
- Staying a set distance, typically 1000 feet, away from the victim
- Not threatening, assaulting, sexually assaulting, abusing, following, stalking, damaging the property of, or disturbing the peace of the victim
- Making no direct or indirect contact with the victim, including through digital means such as text, social media, or email
- Restrictions on access to any kids you may share
- Surrendering any animals owned together to the victim
- Staying away from and not harming any animals that you share
- Vacating the home if you share one, even if you are the rightful owner or tenant
- Payment to the victim for any expenses incurred as a result of any incident leading to the restraining orders, including a stay at a shelter, counseling, and medical or dental bills
- Payment for the victim's attorney fees
- Transferring any mobile phone service account into the victim's name
- Allowing the victim to have temporary ownership of shared property
- Continued payment of any debts related to shared property
- Alimony if you are married
- Child support if you have children together
- Disposal of any firearm you may own, possibly by selling it or surrendering it to police custody
- Attending court-ordered classes, such as batterer's treatment, parenting classes, or anger management classes
- Other things that the petitioner requested and the court considered to be reasonable
Another important element of a restraining order is that it appears on your record, even though it is not technically a crime. The result, though, is that many people and institutions treat it very similarly to a crime. This means that a restraining order can cause problems in finding employment, getting accepted to a university, getting approved for a professional license, and maintaining a social life.Types of Restraining Orders
There are generally three different types of restraining orders in terms of how long they last and what they cover. Typically, one restraining order will lead to the next, although the first order, an emergency protective order, isn't something that is always involved. The three general types of protective orders are:
- Emergency Protective Orders - These orders are issued by the police in some situations when they are responding to a domestic violence They are not usually individualized to the circumstance or as broad as other types of orders. Their purpose is largely to allow the victim the time to petition the court for more extensive restraining orders. Because their purpose is to cover the time until the next phase, they usually only last about a week.
- Temporary Restraining Orders - These are orders that are handed down after the alleged victim petitions the court. The alleged abuser does not get a chance to present their side before these orders are handed down and most likely may not be aware that the petition is occurring. So long as the petitioner is able to persuade the court that there is enough evidence to warrant a full hearing, then temporary orders will be given to cover the period until the hearing. If the orders expire before the hearing can occur, then the orders will likely be renewed. When temporary orders take effect, they replace any active emergency protective orders.
- Permanent Restraining Orders - These are the most thorough, extensive, and longest-lasting of orders. They usually last years and sometimes for the rest of either party's life. The orders are given only after the hearing. At that hearing, both sides will get to make their case. This is the opportunity for the alleged abuser to have their side heard as to why the orders shouldn't be given. Once the orders go into effect, any previous temporary or emergency orders are nullified.
The consequences of violating a restraining order can range from being treated only as contempt of court all the way to having civil and even criminal consequences. If you are accused of violating a restraining order, it is critical that you work with a criminal defense attorney, like one at Power Trial Lawyers, to challenge the accusation.
If the violation is less serious, the court may choose to treat it as contempt of court because restraining orders are a form of court order. This could result in fines and jail time. A more serious violation that causes harm and damage may have both civil and criminal penalties. In the case of civil penalties, the accused may have to pay for a variety of costs incurred on the part of the victim as a result of the violation, including medical bills, property damage repairs, and pain and suffering.
A criminal violation of a restraining order could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor is more likely if the violation is a first violation and if the violation is relatively minor. More serious or repeat violations will likely be charged as felonies. For misdemeanor charges, the possible penalties include:
- A fine of no more than $1000
- Not more than one year in jail
- Mandatory classes
- Payment of restitution for the victim
- Any firearms that you own being relinquished
Felonies, depending on their severity, could result in one of two penalties:
- A maximum of one year in county jail, followed by probation
- A maximum $10,000 fine and 16 months to three years in prison
Whether it be career issues that come with restraining orders showing up on your record or not being allowed to see your children, there are significant consequences for receiving a restraining order. For those hoping to avoid those consequences, it's critical that you put forth a formidable defense. This is done by offering a robust and impactful presentation of your position. This can be done at the hearing that occurs between temporary orders and permanent orders. However, there are a few things that can be uniquely challenging when faced with fighting restraining orders.Challenges When Fighting Restraining Orders
Restraining order hearings are a matter of public record. That might not seem like a tremendous issue at first, but it's important to recognize that, often, an incident that precedes a restraining order petition may also be subject to criminal charges. Prosecutors for those charges may attempt to take something that was said in the hearing and use it against you in a criminal trial. It can be difficult to argue against charges while not saying something that could hurt your defense in a criminal trial.
It's also important to recognize that, although a restraining order can have consequences on par with many criminal charges, it is not a criminal charge. This means that they do not require the petitioner to prove the guilt of the accused "beyond a reasonable doubt." Instead, the court must merely be persuaded that a preponderance of the evidence points to the need for a restraining order. Therefore, you need a strong argument against the petitioner's evidence, along with evidence on your side.
To manage some of these unique difficulties, it's critical that you work with a lawyer like one from Power Trial Lawyers. It's our job to help prevent you from saying anything incriminating that may hurt a potential criminal case. We can also represent you and put forth a formidable defense against the accusations made against you. Restraining order cases can be challenging and are unique in the law. At Power Trial Lawyers, we have the experience and knowledge to help you with your case.We Fight Restraining Orders
Fighting restraining orders can feel like one of the most lopsided things in the law. If you are facing that situation, you need a team on your side. You need to work with someone who knows the law surrounding the issue, who is experienced, and who will aggressively fight on your behalf. At Power Trial Lawyers, we help gather evidence and facts that strengthen your position. We also can help you avoid saying something incriminating that might hurt you in criminal proceedings. If you are faced with a restraining order, contact us to discuss your case today