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Understanding Contact While a Restraining Order Is in Effect

Restraining orders serve as a vital legal tool to protect people from harassment, abuse, or violence. In California, violating a restraining order can have serious legal consequences, including fines, imprisonment, or both. Understanding the rules and limitations surrounding contact while a restraining order is in effect is crucial for both the protected person and the individual subject to the order.

A restraining order, also known as a protective order, is a legal order issued by a court to protect individuals from harassment, abuse, threats, or violence by another person. These orders impose specific restrictions or conditions on the individual subject to the order, such as maintaining a specified distance from the protected person, refraining from contacting the protected person, or ceasing any form of harassment or intimidation.

Contact Restrictions & Prohibited Behaviors

One of the primary restrictions imposed by a restraining order in California is prohibiting any form of contact between the individual subject to the order and the protected person.

Contact can include direct communication, such as:

  • Phone calls
  • Text messages
  • Emails
  • Social Media messages

Contact can also involve indirect communication, such as relaying messages through third parties or leaving someone messages in places where they’re known to be.

Additionally, the restraining order may specify a minimum distance that the individual subject to the order must maintain from the protected person, such as staying away from their residence, workplace, or other specified locations. Any form of contact or communication in violation of these restrictions is considered a violation of the restraining order.

What If the Protected Person Contacts the Restrained Person?

A restraining order only restrains one party from communication. Although it’s unlikely in many situations, the protected person is free to contact the restrained person by any means. Even when this communication is not initiated by the restrained person, or perhaps unwanted, the restrained person risks violating the order if they reply in any way.

Consequences of Violating a Restraining Order

Violating a restraining order in California is a criminal offense, punishable by fines, imprisonment, or both. The penalties for violating a restraining order are outlined in California Penal Code section 273.6, and they can vary depending on the circumstances of the violation and any prior offenses.

Repeat or egregious violations of restraining orders can result in more severe penalties, including longer jail sentences and higher fines. Additionally, violating a restraining order can have other collateral consequences, such as impacting child custody arrangements or immigration status.

Navigating Contact While a Restraining Order Is in Effect

For individuals subject to a restraining order in California, navigating contact restrictions can be challenging but crucial for avoiding legal repercussions. It's essential to carefully review the terms and conditions of the restraining order to understand the specific restrictions and prohibited behaviors.

Any attempt to circumvent or violate the terms of the restraining order, even inadvertently, can result in serious consequences. Seeking legal guidance from an experienced attorney who has a lot of experience in restraining order cases is highly recommended to ensure compliance with the order and protect one's legal rights.

Contact Us for Legal Assistance

If you are served with a restraining order or are accused of violating the terms of one, you need legal support as soon as possible. Delaying such assistance can have adverse consequences for the outcome of your situation.

Turn to our legal team at the Law Office of Peacock & Le Beau for help. Our attorneys share more than 40 years of combined experience and can apply this experience to your defense.

Contact us online now to learn more about how we can help.