When you have been accused of committing an act of domestic violence against your intimate partner, your current or former spouse, your current or former cohabitant or the parent of your child, the court could issue a domestic violence restraining order against you. The way in which restraining orders are viewed by the justice system are as orders that are meant to protect the victims of crimes. As such, if a restraining order is issued against you, it is very important that you do whatever you can not to violate its terms. You may also want to get the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney so that you can learn about your rights and how your freedom might be restricted.
Restrictions that are common with domestic violence restraining orders
There are several common prohibitions contained in domestic violence restraining orders. You may be ordered to do all of the following:
- Have absolutely no contact with your victim, including attempting to make contact via text messaging, social media or through third parties
- Not possess any firearms while the restraining order is effective
- Move out of your house or apartment
- Only see your children through supervised visits
- Pay spousal and child support as well as certain other bills
- Stay a specified distance away from your victim, his or her work and his or her home
- Stay away from your family’s pets
- Keep insurance policies in place
- Not incur new expenses or make any decision affecting the victim’s or your property, including getting new loans secured by it or placing it for sale.
- Returning certain items to the victim
You will be required to follow any and all requirements that the judge orders. If you don’t, you could face up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
What to do if a restraining order has been issued against you.
In order to protect yourself, the first thing you should do when a restraining order has been issued against you in Orange County is to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer like attorney Robert J. Hickey. We are the leading criminal defense law firm in Orange County, and Mr. Hickey is able to honestly advise you about your restraining order and how it might affect you and how you can avoid having additional legal problems.
It is very important that you carefully review your form DV-110. Listed there will be all of the important details regarding your restraining order. This will include each person you are ordered to stay away from as well as the other requirements. If the court has ordered you to move out of your home, pack everything you will need so you don’t have to return for anything.
If you own any firearms, turn them into law enforcement, sell them or surrender them to an arms dealer who can hold them for you until your restraining order is lifted. Review Form DV-800-INFO for guidance on how to handle the guns that you own when you have been served with a restraining order.
Your criminal defense attorney will help you with drafting and filing your answer to the restraining order by filing form DV-120. If you disagree with the restraining order, or if the victim lied about the underlying facts, your opportunity to tell the court what happened is through your answer and the restraining order hearing that will be scheduled. If you have children, you can also make requests about what you would like to see happen if the order is made permanent.
It is very important that you attend the scheduled hearing. Information about the hearing on your alleged victim’s request for a restraining order will be contained in DV-109, the notice of hearing form that should have been served on you along with form DV-110. At the hearing, you and your attorney will be provided with the opportunity to present your own evidence and to cross-examine the witnesses called to testify against you. If you fail to attend, you may face the following consequences:
- A restraining order could issue for up to 5 years by default
- All of the important decisions affecting your children and any spousal and child support could be made without any consideration of your wishes or interests
Your court hearing’s outcome could be influenced by whether or not you appear with a lawyer. Appearing in court and facing questioning is very intimidating for a majority of people. You could accidentally say the wrong thing and incriminate yourself. Having a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer by your side can potentially make the difference in whether or not you have to live for the next few years with a number of different restrictions. Call our law firm today to learn more about how we can help you.