California has put many reforms to deal with domestic violence. When someone you trust or know seeks an emergency protective order against you, seek legal help as soon as possible. You want to understand the content of the orders issued against you and the possible consequences of violating the orders. When this is your first-time experience, you might wonder what to do next when your spouse or relative seeks an emergency order against you. Seeking legal help is the best thing you can do. The attorney will help you learn more about emergency protective orders and protect your constitutional rights.
At Riverside Criminal Defense Attorney Law Firm, our attorneys offer credible legal help to any person seeking assistance after their spouse or family members seek EPO against them. We have an in-depth understanding of California domestic violence laws. Therefore, if you reside in or around Riverside, CA, do not hesitate to contact our top-ranked attorneys.
Overview of EPO
Under California code 273.6, an EPO is one of the restraining order types the court may issue you. Primarily, you receive it when you engage in accusations of violence, putting the victim's life in danger. The primary function of the EPO is to prevent the restrained from contacting the alleged victim.
CPC 6250 allows the victims who feel they are in immediate danger of domestic abuse to seek EPO. Therefore, if you are the victim, you want to report the issue to the police officer. Upon doing so, the officers will issue you with the EPO.
After reporting, the police will report the issue to the court. When the judge issues the orders, the orders start working as soon as the police give them. The orders mean you want to keep a distance from the alleged victim for at least one week based on when they obtained the EPO.
During the seven days, the judge and the alleged victim pushed for the application of temporary restraining orders. The temporary restraining orders require you avoid contacting the victim for three weeks. After 21 days, the alleged victim may apply for the EPO. The permanent order keeps the alleged victim restrained away from the alleged victim for a period not exceeding sixty months.
You have to note that violating EPO may impact you. For example, the court may issue an arrest warrant against you. The police officer will take you to the detention facility to wait for your trial. Later, the court will determine if you are guilty of the alleged offense.
Elements the Prosecution Team Must Prove
The prosecutor wants to prove all the crime’s elements when you face arrest and trial. You cannot face conviction before the prosecutor proves the following elements:
Legal Issuance of Emergency Protective Order
The prosecutor wants to prove the protective orders were received lawfully. When unable to prove your innocence, you cannot face conviction. The prosecution wants to show an experienced and qualified police officer gathered details from the alleged victim. The necessary information includes the victims' details, addresses, and your details.
Again, the prosecutor wants to show the judge's consideration before giving the victim restraining orders. For instance, if your violent behavior forced the alleged victim to inquire about the emergency orders. For example, the prosecution team will seek details to know whether you harmed the child's well-being by abusing them. The prosecutor may use several domestic violence statements to convince the criminal court judge to give out the orders.
When the judge obtains relevant information, they provide the orders. During your trial, the prosecution provided evidence that the Process Was followed lawfully. Again, the prosecutor includes the victims' reasons for requesting the orders.
You are aware of the EPO Effect
The prosecutor wants to prove you knew about the existence of the EPO. The main element is you know the existence of the orders regardless of their short period of effectiveness. Again, the prosecutor wants to prove you had enough time to read the restraining orders and understand your restrictions and regulations for violating the orders. Examples of evidence the prosecution team may include a letter showing you obtained the EPO and you signed it as evidence. When the prosecutor provides the copies you signed, this is enough proof of whatever you were prohibited from doing.
Again, the victim may act as an eyewitness by providing testimony that they issued the EPO to you and called you to alert you about the orders. Here, the prosecution may provide a record of the phone call whereby the victim informed you about the existence of the orders.
You were Able to Comply with the EPO
The prosecutor wants to prove you could abide by the protective orders without any challenges. The element differentiates defendants who violated the orders willfully and the victims who faced limiting circumstances with complying with the rules in the EPO. For example, you abuse your children and your spouse. Later, you order them to leave your marital home and look for different housing.
The prosecution team will discover whether you were in a position to look for different housing. Again, the prosecution team may ask you whether you attempted to find a cheap hotel or if you had friends to accommodate you within the court-ordered period. If these places were accessible, the prosecution team would prove your unlawful desire to disobey the law. Also, the prosecution team may demonstrate your ability to comply with the orders by asking whether you understand the document's content.
You willfully violate the EPO
The prosecutor wants to prove you willfully violated the EPO. You commit a crime when you do something willfully and with knowledge of the repercussions of your behavior. The prosecutor wants to prove the elements present by demonstrating your willful intention to disobey the orders. For example, the prosecutor may show your actions or those you made against the alleged victim of domestic violence.
Witnesses may show up at the criminal court and testify about your repeated visits to the alleged victim's house, workstation, or school, contrary to the court’s Emergency Protective Orders. Again, if you physically broke into someone's house when directed to remain away, the prosecution will provide this evidence to demonstrate you willfully disobeyed the protective orders.
Again, the prosecution team may present recorded phone calls whereby you contacted the victim and tried to lure them into allowing you to return home. In this case, you are violating the orders, even when you contacted to request forgiveness. So, you want to limit yourself from contacting the victim when issued temporary restraining orders. You want to wait until your defense attorney directs you on what to do after receiving the orders.
When Could You Need an EPO?
When your spouse, domestic partner, or close relative abuses you and feels your life is in danger, you need to alert the law enforcement officers as soon as possible and obtain EPO. The orders last for a limited period. Therefore you cannot rely on them to protect your life for an extensive period. The orders help you feel secure and sleep over the night until you appear at the local court to request the long-term orders.
How Do You Obtain Protective Orders?
When the police arrive at your home over a domestic violence allegation, they may advise you why you need to obtain the emergency protective orders. If the officers fail to do so, ensure you ask about obtaining a temporary restraining order to keep your life safe. Unlike other domestic violence orders, you do not need to undergo a complex process to obtain emergency protective orders.
The only thing you want to do is to explain to the police the dangers you feel you are in as a result of domestic violence. The officer will then respond to you on whether you deserve the protective order or not. After that, the officer will alert the central police in the state to issue you with emergency protective orders.
So, not only the dependent adults or elders can request the orders but also other people acting on behalf of the alleged victim. Under the state's law, the law allows what is known as a guardian or conservator to be accountable for caring for the vulnerable adults in society. Ensure you work with your attorney to help you obtain emergency protective orders if you feel you are in danger because of domestic violence.
When you are a guardian or parent of a child being abused, the law allows you to request emergency protective orders on their behalf. As your child obtains the orders, as their parent, the order also covers you and other close family members. When the child is under 12 years old, you may file for their protective orders. Alternatively, when the child is older than 12 years, the law allows them to file for the orders themselves. But you may assist the child in filing the emergency protective orders until they are aged above 18 years.
When the judge grants you the EPO, they include specific aspects in your application for the EPO orders. The following are the aspects to include in your application for the EPO:
- The time and date the protective order will last
- Statement concerning the elements to be asserted by the EPO
- The address of the courthouse where the endangered victim's life
- The statement should be printed in Spanish or English
Before you obtain the emergency protective orders, the police need to determine whether you are a victim of domestic abuse. But what is domestic abuse in California? The law considers the following acts as domestic abuse:
- Attempted physical harm
- Sexual assault
- Reckless or intentional physical harm
- Disturbing another person's peace
- Destruction, harassment, threats, or stalking of other people's property
What Happens When the Law Enforcement Officers Issue the Emergency Protective Orders?
Once the police issue the emergency protective orders, the victim receives immediate protection, and the perpetrator loses certain rights. The other officers are informed about the domestic violence abuser. But the law allows the restrained person to contact their loved ones. The main work of the EPO is to keep you away from dangerous people until you visit a local court. The following are the specific ways in which the protective orders protect you while forcing the abuser to:
- Move out of the home, school, or place of work.
- To avoid making any contact with you, your close relatives, pets, or your children.
- The perpetrator to par partner, spousal, and child support.
- To follow the child visitation and custody orders.
- Return or release specific property.
- The perpetrator should not change the insurance policy.
- The perpetrator should not overspend or make any spending to affect the shared property.
In California, when the law enforcement officers issue the protective orders, the defendant loses their right to bear arms as protected by the 2nd amendment. The law requires them to sell the firearms to registered gun dealers or surrender them to the police. When they fail to do so, the court considers their action as a way of violating the protective orders.
What the Protective Order Cannot Do
Although the restraining order protects you from domestic violence dangers, it does not count as divorce or nullify your marriage if the involved parties are in a marriage. Again, the orders do not count as parentage when both parties are not married. Remember, the protective orders only last for one week. Once the week lapses and you fail to submit paperwork for obtaining restraining orders on the final day, you lose your right to receive protection against the abuser. You must follow the orders' conditions to avoid facing further penalties. Therefore, consult your attorney whenever you require legal assistance to remain on the safe side.
How a Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help
The EPO is designed to protect the victim of domestic violence from the possibility of physical abuse or harm. But vindictive people use the law as an abusive device. For instance, your former wife may decide to disrupt your life by limiting your chances to visit your kids by filling the emergency protective orders. Regardless of whether you wish to challenge the orders or not, ensure you consult your attorney before making any crucial step. If the order is unfair, the attorney can attempt to challenge it. To challenge the EPO, the attorney will do the following:
- Prepare a response to the accusations on the petition
- Outline reasons why they think the order is illegal
- Highlight your rights violated by the order, like your right to child visitation
When the claimant accuses you of domestic violence, the last thing you want to do is to handle the legal process alone. The criminal court judge will investigate your statements and conduct and then use them against you when determining your case. Speaking with your attorney is an added advantage to winning your case. The attorney will listen to your side of the story and develop the best possible options for your case.
The Legal Defenses for Violating EPO
Violation of the EPO attracts severe penalties. So, you want to seek legal help from your criminal defense attorney. The attorney will play a key role in helping you prepare your case before you face trial. The type of charge you face is unique as every case surrounding a particular case is different. By working with a top attorney, you have the opportunity to fight the charge. The attorney may employ the following arguments.
No Legal Basis to Issue the Orders
You might face emergency order restrictions without a valid basis, mainly when the applicant does not have a reasonable accusation. For instance, when you separate from the applicant and do not even communicate with them, they decide to make false allegations claiming you violated the court orders.
Since the court issues many EPOs immediately after application due to their urgency, the criminal court judge may approve the orders even when they do not have lawful verification of the allegations from the claimant. So, you might believe the court did not have a strong basis when issuing the orders, especially in cases where you live in different locations with the alleged victim. But your attorney must prove the claimant had unlawful ground and false accusations about you engaging in domestic violence.
You Never Obtained a Note of the EPO
In many cases, the alleged victim does not inform the other party about the application of the orders, mainly when the two experienced violent reactions and behaviors in the previous. But fear isn’t a valid justification for miscommunication since being unaware may result in severe penalties. Therefore, your attorney may argue you did not know about the existence of the protective orders.
Remember your lawyer should provide strong evidence to support your claim. For instance, the attorney can provide your details during the crime commission. Again, you may authorize law officers to seek or search for your device or residence to discover whether you obtained the information about the orders.
Existence of Conflicting Restraining Order
The EPO works as an interim solution for the victim with fear for their safety. Once the EPO effectively lapses, you may start contacting or visiting the alleged claimant without knowing other actions that may apply to the restraining orders. Also, the claimant may decide to renew the emergency restraining orders without your consent. If this is your case, you might raise a claim to the court, claiming you had only knowledge about the existence of the initial protective orders. You will have to prove that you did not know about the presence of the additional orders after the initial one lapses after the first seven days.
You Did Not Have the Intent to Violate the Orders
Remember, you might face charges for unintentionally contacting the alleged victim as outlined by the protection of the emergency protective orders. For example, you might unintentionally visit the victim using a different contact when they message or call you. Remember, when the alleged victim picks up or you respond to the calls and start conversations, you might face charges for violating the protective orders. Therefore when you are under the restriction of the protective orders, ensure you avoid picking up or chatting with unknown mobile numbers.
If you believe the claimant has employed the channel to trap you, your attorney can raise the defense of lack of intent to commit the crime. Again, to prove your content is challenging, so ensure you work closely with an attorney conversant with restraining orders in California.
What are the Legal Penalties for Violating the EPO?
Under California PC 273.6, the statute outlines the penalties for violating the protective orders. The law considers the crime a misdemeanor. So, you may face 12 months in county jail and pay a fine not exceeding $1,000.
Sometimes, the court can charge the violation of the orders as a wobble. You face wobbler charges when during the commission of the crime, you had aggravating activities which might increase the risks of causing harm to the alleged victim. For instance, you can face wobbler charges when you abduct a child and expose them to dangers during the abduction.
If you break into a restricted residence and injure the victim, you risk facing severe penalties, mainly if you cause bodily injuries to the victim. Alternatively, you might face felony charges. The felony charges attract a thirty-six months jail term in state prison. Again, you pay a fine not exceeding $1,000.
Contact a Riverside Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
You might be emotionally stressed when the judge places an unfair restraining order against you. You want to understand the conditions of the orders. Violation of the orders might even worsen your situation. That is why you want to seek legal help from a well-skilled criminal defense attorney. The attorney will help convince the court to remove the restraining orders against you.
At Riverside Criminal Defense Attorney Law Firm, our attorneys have passionately and successfully represented many clients facing restraining orders and domestic violence. So when you contact us, we will work tirelessly to protect your rights. If you are in or around Riverside, CA, the right time to fight the restive orders is now. For more information, contact us at 951-946-6366 and enjoy our free immediate consultation.