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What’s the Difference Between Restraining Orders and Protective Orders in California?

California Domestic Violence Laws

In the State of California, as in many other states, “Restraining Orders” and “Protective Orders” mean exactly the same thing.  Restraining, Protective, or Stay Away Orders are court orders that are meant to provide protection from:

  • stalking,
  • harassment,
  • threats, or
  • physical abuse

by a specified individual who is named in the protective order.

According to California Penal Code Section § 273.6, it is a crime if the individual named in the protective order violates any of its terms.  Violating the terms of a court ordered protective agreement may result in either a felony or a misdemeanor. Usually, if there are no other criminal charges, a first violation of a protective order is a misdemeanor charge.  A conviction of a misdemeanor violation of a protective order in the State of California is punishable with fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000), one year or less in jail, or both incarceration and a fine.

What to Do if a Protective Order Has Been Filed Against You

If a protective order has been filed against you, you will be contacted by law enforcement and given a copy of the court order.  It is advisable that you immediately speak to an experienced attorney to understand the terms of your protective order and to understand what actions you need to take in order to protect your legal rights.

The following are some basic rules to follow after you have been served with a protective order.

  1. Obey each and every order that is contained in the protective order.
  2. Write out the exact details of the situation between you and the party parties involved.
    a. Be specific about what was said and what happened.
    b. Write the dates and times of the events that took place.
    c. Write down descriptions of the clothing of the parties involved.
    d. Collect any documents, text messages, emails, voice mail messages, GPS recordings, and computer records that may show where you were at the time of the incident.
    e. Create a list of potential witnesses. Be sure to write down the full name, address and telephone number(s) for each potential witness. Write down any person who you think could provide information about your situation. Write down the accusers, the petitioner(s), and anyone who maybe be a witness or was at the scene of the incident.
  3. Follow the advice of your attorney.

 What Not to Do if a Protective Order Has Been Filed Against You

If you have been served with a restraining order or if you believe that a petition will be made, it is crucial that you follow your attorney’s advice and avoid the following:

  1. Throw away or destroy evidence.
  2. Attempt to speak with the individual who filed or is about to file a protective order against you.
  3. Attempt to contact any witnesses.
  4. Attempt to speak with the friends or relatives of the individual who filed the protective order against you.
  5. Disregarding any of the conditions or terms in the protective order.

If the petitioner is a spouse and you have children together, it is advisable that you go through your attorney to make arrangements to speak with or visit with your children.

How to Fight a Protective Order

A protective order can have a significant impact on your legal rights, your right to bear arms, and your paternal rights.  A protective order and any violation of a protective order can be used as evidence against you in court for domestic matters and if future criminal charges relevant to this matter are filed against you.  Therefore, it may be in your best interest exercise your legal right for a hearing to dismiss a protective order.  Your attorney will be able to discuss your legal options and help you to determine whether or not a hearing is advantageous to your legal situation.

Contact Our San Jose Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

A domestic violence charge is a serious offense and a conviction will have lifelong repercussions.  If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with a domestic violence offense, it is critical that you speak with an experienced San Jose criminal defense attorney promptly.  Please call 408.277.0377 today to schedule your initial consultation with Attorney Wesley J. Schroeder.

Wesley Schroeder, Attorney at Law
181 Devine Street
San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: 408-277-0377
Monday – Friday 9am-5pm or by appointment