California Penal Code 273.6 PC | Violating a Restraining Order

There are a number of situations a court issues a restraining order. For instance, family law disputes over custody of the child, pending criminal charges, or someone obtained a restraining order ex parte in a court of equity. It should be noted that the underlying order can be issued in both criminal and civil proceedings. In essence, a violation of a restraining order is none other than a violation of a court order – i.e., disobeying a judge’s orders regardless if one contends it was falsely obtained through fabrication. If convicted under this charge, one can face a mandatory jail sentence and face substantial court fines.

Contact Attorney John Rogers Immediately

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer John Rogers understands that charges for violating a restraining order can occur at any time of day which is why he makes himself available 7 days a week to consult with individuals accused of such offenses. The best approach to defeating restraining order accusations is early criminal defense attorney intervention, contact Mr. Rogers immediately.

Violating a Restraining Order Defined by California Statute

In California, violating a restraining order is governed under Penal Code 273.6 which provides, “Any intentional and knowing violation of a protective order is a misdemeanor offense punishable by fine not more than $1,000, and or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year.”

Elements of the Crimes

In order for someone to be found guilty of violating a restraining order, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. A court issued a written order that defendant stay away from the victim
  2. The order was a stay away or protective order or restraining order
  3. Defendant knew of the court order
  4. Defendant had the ability to follow the court order
  5. Defendant willfully violated the court order


Dan was arrested and charged with domestic violence. He attended his first appearance in court and the judge issued a temporary 10 day protective/stay away order from the victim. The judge ordered that Dan must “refrain from all contact with the victim and stay 100 feet away.” As Dan was walking to his car from the courthouse he saw the victim sitting in her car. A police officer observed Dan violating the order and arrested him. In this case, Dan would not be guilty of violating a restraining order because he did not willfully violate the judge’s order. Instead, Dan violated the judge’s order on accident.

What are the Legal Defenses to Violating a Restraining Order?

  • You did not willfully violate the court order. Instead, one could have violated a court order on accident or inadvertently or circumstances beyond your control. The charge requires one to purposefully and intentionally violate the court’s order.
  • You did not know there was a restraining order issued against you. In order for someone to violate the court order, they must have notice that it was issued against them – i.e., they must be properly served.
  • The underlying order was not legally issued. There may be technicalities in the issuance of the order that should have not been issued in the first place.
  • You were falsely accused in violating the court. There are numerous reasons why the party who obtained the order against you would fabricate a violation. For instance, financial gain or child custody.

What is the Punishment for Violating a Restraining Order?

  • Up to one year of incarceration in the county jail
  • Up to $1,000 in court fines
  • Court Ordered Probation
  • Counseling Classes
  • Temporary Loss of Search & Seizure Rights
  • Possible Minimum 30 day Jail Sentence

Should I talk to Police Officers or a Detective?

One should avoid giving a statement to law enforcement at all costs. Generally, law enforcement questions a suspect when the current evidence is weak and seeking to build additional evidence from one’s incriminating statements. If police officers or a detective is asking to speak with you, do not make a statement and contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.

Free Los Angeles Restraining Order Attorney Consultation

If you have been arrested, charged, or under investigation for violating a restraining order, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free consultation concerning your rights and defenses. Mr. Rogers is located at 1801 Century Park East, 24th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067. Call (949) 625-4487 now for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.

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