Restraining orders are issued for a variety of crimes, and they are supposed to prevent the person from getting too close to another person or a place to ensure no further conflicts and problems.
A large portion of these come from bad breakups or divorces where one of the parties refuses to acknowledge the end of a relationship which makes the other person seek legal help. Restraining orders are also very common after a domestic violence conviction. So, what happens if you violate the restraining order somehow? First of all, get a good attorney to represent your case.
Legal Punishment for Violation of a Restraining Order
There is an important distinction between a first-time violation and every subsequent one. The first offence is considered a misdemeanour, whereas all others will likely be treated as felonies.
However, don’t be fooled by this distinction, both of these convictions can be quite severe. When it comes to a misdemeanour sentence, it can land you a maximum year in jail and as much as $1000 in fines, but that remains at the discretion of the judge. There is a caveat here if you injure the person protected by the restraining order, there is an obligatory jail sentence of at least 30 days, and the fine can be doubled to $2000.
A felony sentence, naturally, means a more severe punishment, with up to 3 years in prison and a significantly higher financial fine of $10,000.
How Is Violation of a Restraining Order Proved?
The legal system of the USA is conceived so that everyone is deemed innocent until proven guilty. That means that if you are accused of violating a restraining order, the prosecution has to prove that the event happened rather than you proving that it didn’t happen.
If you are accused, you should consider consulting a criminal law attorney to advise you before going to court. Tell them everything that happens to prepare the best possible defence based on facts. However, keep in mind that they cannot help you if you are not honest.
The prosecution needs to prove several things to have you convicted of a violation of a restraining order. So, if your attorney can disprove any aspect of it, you may be able to challenge the case and have it thrown out or get a reduced sentence.
The first thing that needs to be done is to establish a restraining order against you and that you were aware of its existence and its contents. This is fairly easy to prove, but another important thing remains to be proven. They need to show that you have intentionally violated the restraining order. Who can challenge any one of these claims, and your attorney has several ways to approach the case.
Lines of Defense
The simplest and the rarest case is to show that the restraining order was not issued lawfully and legally, so a violation is not in itself a crime. Another possible justification may be that you didn’t know that there was a restraining order, but it is really hard to disprove that claim.
The most likely line of defence is that you did not intentionally violate the order. It is a kind of a misunderstanding or that the allegations of a violation are completely untrue.
Whatever your defence, you will need a good criminal attorney to ensure that you have the best chance to conclude the case successfully.