Repercussions for Violation of a Restraining Order
It is important to understand and abide by the provisions of your protective order when it is issued because there are strong repercussions if you do not. A violation of a protective order is a criminal offense and includes a mandatory period of incarceration. Subsequent violations include an additional potential for high jail time.
A violation of a protective order may lead to someone being considered a poor candidate for bond and therefore they may be held without bond. It is a serious case that can only get more serious as time passes. A violation of a restraining order is considered a serious danger to the community and may be viewed negatively on background checks and on employment applications. When you are given a restraining order or protective order, someone has asked you to refrain from certain contact. Being unable to do so and subsequently being convicted of being unable to do so says something about your willingness to abide by the law and understand the rules of court.
If someone thinks a person has violated the order, they should contact law enforcement and report the conduct right away. If you are facing a restraining order in Arlington, it would be beneficial to have a domestic violence defense attorney by your side to explain all potential consequences for violating this protective order.
Potential Consequences of Violation of a Protective Order
If a judge finds someone in violation of a protective order, that person will be convicted and it is likely they will be sentenced to an active period of incarceration. Violating a protective order requires the judge to impose jail time. This mandatory minimum time of imprisonment is an unusual provision in the statute and exists in few other places.
However, a judge cannot dole out an all-suspended sentence to the violation of a protective order. Even if it is only one day or even a half-day sentence, the judge must give some period of active incarceration if someone is found in violation of a protective order. The initial type of order may require someone to do certain things more than just stay away from the victim of the alleged offense. If they fail to do that, they are found in violation of the protective order.
A probation violation means the court may impose some sort of sentence that was previously presented. It is quite common in the probation violation context as well as in the protective order context.
If someone has violated that subsequent order, they may be charged with both the violation of a protective order as well as a contempt charge for a probation violation for being in violation of the first conviction. This means they would be facing up to 89 days in jail on the first offense as well as additional penalties and subsequent fines.
Being in criminal contempt is different than violating a protective order. A criminal contempt is contempt of the court process either violating a court order or failing to appear in court, it is essentially contempt of open court, either violating the decorum of the court by doing something like cursing, disregarding court orders inside the court, or disregarding orders to appear in court.
Depending on the kind of offense someone made, they may be required to serve up to 10 days in jail or up to a $250 fine if they are charged with misdemeanor contempt. There is also contempt of court due to failure to appear in court on a felony offense. If someone is charged with a felony offense and they fail to appear in court on that offense, they may be charged an additional felony of failing to appear. This differs from criminal contempt and an experienced defense Arlington attorney can help anyone facing a restraining order to understand the differences to the statute.
There is a variety of necessary information needed to gather in order to build a defense including information regarding someone’s underlying protective order. Whenever someone is charged with a protective order violation, a protective order defense attorney will learn exactly which part of the order their client is accused of violating and in which way they are accused of violating it.
Then, they will be able to build a strong defense. For example, if the person is not supposed to go on a certain property and they are accused of going on that certain property on a certain date, it may be useful to gather eyewitnesses and alibi witnesses as to whether this event occurred and how it was alleged to go down. If other things are alleged, such as contact, and the party that was not supposed to be contacted actually initiated the contact, that may be a defense. Phone records, voicemails, email records, and necessary witnesses are also common things to gather in a protective order case.
Contacting an Attorney
It is important to contact an experienced Arlington attorney if you have been charged with a criminal offense. Being charged with violating a protective order is no different. When being charged with violating a protective order, you should know it is not in your best interest to specifically try to explain the context of your violation to the judge. You have certain legal defenses that may be available including technical defenses regarding the terms, the process of the order, the language of the underlying order, and how your conduct did or did not violate the underlying order. There are several potential repercussions for violating a restraining order and a skilled attorney in Arlington will best help to defend your case.