California Penal Code Section 273.6 PC – Violating a Restraining Order

California Penal Code Section 273.6 PC makes it a crime for an individual to violate a restraining order (protective order) or stay-away order. A person who violates section 273.6 is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be punished with up to 12 months in county jail, as well as a fine of up to $1000. If you have been charged with violating CPC 273.6 PC, you should immediately contact a criminal defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and keep you from going to jail.

You should not take this crime lightly as a conviction of violating 273.6 PC can result in substantial jail time. So, for the best possible results, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you and keep you from going to jail. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

Text of California Penal Code Section 273.6 – Violating a Restraining Order (Protective Order)

According to the California Penal Code, “A person who intentionally and knowingly violates a protective order, as defined in Section 6218 of the Family Code, or of an order issued pursuant to Section 527.6, 527.8, or 527.85 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or Section 15657.03 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.”

Note: Courts often issues a protective order, also knowing as restraining orders, to protect others from the person named in the restraining order. Restraining orders are often issues to prevent a person from harassing, abusing, stalking or making threats against another person. Protective orders are commonly issued under the following circumstances:

  • Domestic violence cases
  • Harassment cases
  • Workplace violence cases
  • Stalking cases

Proving an Individual Guilty of Violating Penal Code Section 273.6 PC

For the prosecution to convict an individual of violating this criminal code section, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to prove even one element, it cannot convict the defendant of a violation of this code section. The prosecution must prove the following elements:

  • The court issued a lawful and valid protective order (restraining order)
  • The court ordered the defendant to stay away from a specific person or from committing a specific act
  • The defendant knew of the court order’s presence
  • The defendant was able to follow the court order, and
  • The defendant intentionally and knowingly violated the court order

If the prosecution is able to prove all of these elements, it can convict him of violating a restraining order. However, if the prosecution fails to establish any one element, it will not be able to convict the defendant of violating PC 273.6.

Examples of Violating California Penal Code Section 273.6 PC

A man and his wife get into an argument, the man shoves his wife out of his way. The wife calls the police and the man is arrested for domestic violence. At the man’s court appearance, the judge orders the man to stay away from his wife. The man stays at his friend’s apartment, and a couple of days later, the wife tells the man to come home because she misses. The man goes home to his wife. Under these circumstances, even though the wife told her husband to come home, he can still be convicted of a misdemeanor violation of the protective order (restraining order) because the judge had ordered him to stay away from his wife. The fact that the wife told him to come home does not make it lawful for the man to come home because the court order is still in place.

Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order

If the prosecution convicts an individual of violating a restraining order, an individual faces the following penalties:

  • Conviction of a misdemeanor offense
  • Up to twelve (12) months of jail time
  • A fine of up to $1000
  • Informal summary probation for three years

Note: The court is free to order additional punishments as it sees fit. So, this is not an exhaustive list of penalties, but rather, some of the most common consequences that come with a conviction of violating a protective or restraining order.

Defense for Those Who are Charged with Violating a Protective Order

If you have been charged with violating a protective order, your attorney can use several defenses to defend you. Please note that the list of defenses below is not exhaustive of all defenses that your attorney can use. The only way to know which defenses apply to your case is to contact an experienced violating a protective order attorney to go over the facts of your case. Here are some of the defenses that may apply for your case:

  • The court order was unlawful or was not valid
  • The defendant had no knowledge of the restraining order
  • The defendant did not willfully and intentionally violate the order
  • The defendant accidentally ran into the person he is prohibited from being around.
  • The defendant is being falsely accused of violating the protective order

For example, if the defendant is not permitted to be within 1000 feet of his wife, and while he is out grocery shopping, he runs into his wife, the defendant cannot be convicted of violating the restraining order if the run-in was accidental. That said, judges and prosecutors are very suspicious when it comes to accidental run-ins. If you’re called into court for violating a restraining order, you should have an experienced criminal defense lawyer at your side to defend you and prove that the run-in was indeed accidental and that you had no intent on violating the restraining order.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with violating a restraining order or violating a protective order, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you and keep you from going to jail. At the outset of every case, one of our criminal defense attorneys will look over the facts of your case to determine whether a dismissal is possible. If they believe that a dismissal is possible, they will communicate this to the prosecution. If the prosecution refuses to dismiss your case, our attorneys will do all that they can to negotiate the best possible plea deal for you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

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