Were You Served with an Emergency Protective Order After a PC 273.5(a) Arrest?

January 16, 2023

In California, an emergency protective order (EPO) is a court-issued order that is designed to protect a victim of domestic violence from further harm or abuse. This type of order is typically issued when a person is arrested for violating Penal Code 273.5(a), which is the California law that makes it a crime to inflict corporal injury on an intimate partner.

When a person is arrested for violating PC 273.5(a), the police are required to notify the victim and inform them of their right to request an emergency protective order. Note, law enforcement routinely issue EPO’s regardless of the alleged victim’s desire. Moreover, even if the alleged victim has no desire for prosecution, the police may still serve the arrestee with an EPO.

An emergency protective order can include several types of relief, such as:

  • Prohibiting the arrestee from having any contact with the victim
  • Ordering the abuser to stay away from the alleged victim’s home, workplace, or school
  • Granting the victim temporary custody of any children involved

An EPO is intended to be a temporary measure to protect the victim while a longer-term restraining order is being sought. Emergency protective orders are effective for up to 7 days and can be extended for up to 30 days with a hearing in court. If your accuser wants the protection to be in place for a longer period of time, they must file for a domestic violence restraining order, which can be in effect for up to five years.

It’s important to note that violating an emergency protective order is a criminal offense in California, and can result in additional charges against the defendant. The defendant can be charged with contempt of court, which can result in fines and/or jail time. For example, sending a text message to your spouse while the EPO is in place can lead to additional charges. Additionally, if the defendant violates the EPO by committing another act of domestic violence, they can be charged with a separate crime.

If you were arrested for PC 273.5(a) and served with an EPO, then you need to protect your rights. You may still face prosecution even if your accuser has no desire to press charges. Formal criminal charges are determined by the prosecutor, not the alleged victim.

Attorney John D. Rogers is an Orange County criminal defense attorney. He is a board-certified criminal law specialist by the State Bar of California. His office is located in Newport Beach, CA and he represents clients throughout Southern California in state and federal matters. If you’re seeking legal representation, give the Law Offices of John D. Rogers a call to schedule a free consultation.

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