A temporary restraining order (TRO) helps prevent the recurrence of domestic violence cases and gives the parties involved ample time to resolve their issues. However, when issued against you, TRO conditions can impact several aspects of your life, including your ability to see your children while it is in effect.

Before you make any decision that you could regret, you should speak with a defense attorney if you are facing any domestic violence charges, including a TRO, or if you want to obtain a TRO against someone. We at the Restraining Order Law Firm understand the possible impacts of restraining orders in domestic violence cases and can help you.

If you need help with restraining orders or someone has served you with a restraining order in Los Angeles, you can rely on our defense attorneys to help you obtain a favorable outcome in the case. We have a track record of success and adequate resources to help you obtain favorable results at the TRO hearing.

Restraining Orders at a Glance

A restraining or protective order is one of the most effective legal tools for protecting domestic violence (DV) victims. A restraining order is a court order that makes it illegal to contact another person to prevent emotional, mental, or physical abuse from occurring.

Your spouse, cohabitant, registered domestic partner, or any other person you have a familial or close relationship with can file a protective order against you if you have abused or threatened to abuse him/her. Other people that can file a DV restraining order against you include any person you are related to within the 2nd degree of affinity or consanguinity, including (but not limited to):

  • Son in law.
  • Sister in law.
  • Stepparent.
  • Brother in law.
  • Father or mother in law.
  • Lawfully adopted child.

The person who files a restraining order against you can also ask that this order protect other vulnerable family members.

The Process of Obtaining a TRO

For any person to secure a restraining order against another, he/she must go to court and properly complete the required paperwork explaining what happened and why he/she needs protection. If the person faces immediate threats or abuse, meaning he/she requires instant protection, the court can grant him/her a TRO.

A TRO will stay valid for 20 to 25 days or until the judge schedules a hearing, typically within three weeks, to determine whether a permanent restraining order is necessary. It is worth noting that the other person or victim can file a temporary restraining order against you without your presence or notifying you of what he/she is about to do.

Most courts will grant a TRO request if the person has sufficient evidence to show he/she needs this protective order. The person requesting a restraining order against you should have the order and court documents delivered to you within five (5) days before the scheduled mandatory hearing. The primary reason for receiving these documents is to inform you that you have a TRO petition filed against you.

The TRO will become effective once you receive the papers in person. The court will not issue a TRO against you if you received it through other possible means. For example, if you received the TRO via mail, the court will consider it invalid. That means if you violate any condition of a TRO that was not served to you as required, you can argue that the TRO is invalid for the best possible outcome.

Generally speaking, TRO papers should contain the following information:

  • Date and time of the scheduled hearing.
  • A brief explanation of the court-ordered action that you should comply with.
  • Any other documentation the person had filed to strengthen his/her petition.

Once you receive the TRO papers, you will have ten to twenty-five days before the hearing date to file your response to the petitioner's statements. For the judge to issue a TRO against you, there must be clear evidence that your threatening conduct affected the person or is likely to affect him/her in the long run.

How a Domestic Violence TRO Could Impact Your Life

If the judge has issued a TRO against you in connection with a domestic violence case, he/she will require you to do the following:

  • Make no contact with the victim either directly or indirectly by mail or phone calls.
  • Not to follow, threaten, abuse, harass, stalk, sexually assault the victim or disturb his/her peace or damage his/her property.

Aside from the above requirement, when the court grants the person (victim) the TRO request, the judge could require you to comply with the following conditions:

  • Pay child support and alimony if you are married.
  • Vacate the home or apartment that you and the person share or stay, even if you legally own it or a tenant.
  • Grant the person exclusive control, care, and possession of animals and pets that you, your child, or the victim owns, and stay away from these animals.
  • Grant the person temporary possession and ownership of assets you own together, including a second home, vehicle, or computer. The court could also require you to clear any debts linked to these assets or items.
  • Pay the person's legal fees if your income is higher than his/hers or he/she is indigent.
  • Pay the person's lost income and other costs caused by the abuse, including medical, shelter, dental, or counseling costs.
  • Enroll in a 52-week batterers' intervention and treatment program.
  • Give the person temporary child custody and visitation.
  • Transfer any shared phone account to the person's name.
  • Enroll in anger management therapy or classes.
  • Any other condition the person requests and the court finds reasonable in his/her current situation.

What to Expect When You Violate any of the Above Conditions of a TRO

Although some of the terms of a protective order seem unfair and harsh, you must comply with them for the period required by the court. Violating the terms of a protective order is a crime under PC 273.6. In most cases, a PC 273.6 violation is charged as a misdemeanor. If the court finds you guilty of this offense, your punishment will include the following:

  • A jail sentence not exceeding one (1) year.
  • A fine amounting to up to $1,000.

In some cases, the prosecutor can file a PC 273.6 violation as a wobbler, attracting felony or misdemeanor charges. Your offense will become a wobbler if it is your second conviction for a PC 273.6 violation and the offense involved any act of violence.

If the prosecutor files your violation as a felony, a conviction will attract a fine not exceeding $10,000 and a jail sentence of not more than three (3) years. Luckily, for non-citizens or immigrants, a conviction for a PC 273.6 violation will not attract immigration consequences.

Several misdemeanor and felony crimes could lead to deportation and inadmissibility consequences upon conviction, but a PC 273.6 violation is not one of them.

Fortunately, you could also be eligible to have your criminal record for a PC 273.6 violation conviction expunged after serving your sentence.

Once you obtain an expungement of your conviction record, the public, including potential employers, will not know you have a conviction record, increasing your chances of securing reliable employment. You will be eligible to expunge your record under PC 1203.4 as long as:

  • You have served your jail sentence.
  • You have completed your probation successfully.
  • You do not have any other pending charge.

Aside from increasing your chances of securing job opportunities, a conviction can give you the satisfaction of knowing you do not have a conviction record.

How a Conviction for Restraining Order Violation Could Impact Your Constitutional Gun Rights

Unfortunately, a conviction for violating a restraining order could impact your gun ownership and possession rights. Even if you are a legal firearm owner, the court will require you to surrender it to local law enforcement authorities, sell it, or give it away while the protective order is in full effect.

Upon a PC 273.6 violation conviction, the court could also permanently revoke your right to own a firearm. That is particularly true if your violation is a felony. According to PC 29800, any person with a felony conviction on their record cannot purchase, own, carry, or receive a firearm.

For the sake of PC 29800, a firearm is any device you can use as a weapon that uses combustion or explosion to expel projectiles via a barrel, for example, a shotgun, pistol, or revolver.

Steps to Take When Someone Obtains a TRO Against You

Sometimes disagreements with your loved one could escalate to the point that he/she decides to obtain a TRO against you, prohibiting you from contacting or speaking with him/her. If someone has served you with a TRO, it will help to do the following:

Comply With the Conditions and Requirements of the TRO

Once someone serves you with a TRO, read its terms and requirements carefully to understand what you can and cannot do while it is in effect. Regardless of how severe or unfair the terms of the TRO seem, complete compliance with them is a brilliant idea.

If you are unsure of what to do or not do while the TRO is in effect, you should speak with your attorney for advice to avoid the severe consequences of violating a restraining order.

Speak With a Defense Attorney Without Delay

Considering how harsh and life-changing the conditions of a TRO can be, you cannot risk handling the case and attending court hearings alone. You will need a skilled defense attorney to access and scrutinize the facts and circumstances surrounding the restraining order and offer the necessary legal guidance, regardless of whether you are dangerous or abusive to the other person.

Additionally, the court could consider hiring an attorney as an act of good faith. If you reasonably believe the TRO is unlawful or invalid, your attorney can advise you further on what to do. Ensure the attorney you hire for legal representation is dependable and familiar with these domestic violence cases.

Here is what to consider when finding a reliable defense attorney for legal representation after being served with a TRO:

  • Consider the attorney's reputation.
  • Consider the attorney's accessibility and availability.
  • Consider the attorney's experience.
  • Consider the attorney's cost of services.
  • Consider the attorney's licensing credentials.

How to Challenge Domestic Violence TRO Served Against You

When someone serves you with a TRO, it could seem like you have few options, but you can challenge the order to avoid complying with its strict requirements. Generally speaking, you can challenge a TRO issued against you by:

Responding to the Person's Statements Against You

When a person files a TRO request and makes a statement to show why the order would be necessary to protect him/her, you can respond to the statement and explain your version of the story to the court. Your defense attorney can review the victim's statements and help you file a response to show that you did not harass or threaten the victim and that you only wish him/her the best.

Tell the Judge Your Side of the Entire Story at the Scheduled Mandatory Hearing

Aside from responding to the person's statement against you, you should be ready for the scheduled mandatory hearing about 21 days after being served with a TRO to challenge the allegations. A skilled attorney will know the most suitable arguments to raise during this hearing to challenge the allegations that have led to this situation for the best possible outcome.

Your attorney will provide evidence, including eyewitness testimonies and surveillance videos, to show the court why a TRO is unnecessary in your case. If the court finds your attorney's evidence and argument reasonable and viable, the TRO served on you will expire, meaning it will not become a permanent restraining order (PRO).

During this hearing, it is advisable to remain calm and carefully follow your attorney's instructions because any emotional response could decrease your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome. Unfortunately, if the TRO becomes a PRO, do not fret because it is not certainly permanent and could last a few months or years.

However, like a TRO, when the PRO is in effect, you should comply with all its requirements to avoid further legal issues and possible harsher consequences.

Defenses That Your Attorney Can Use to Challenge a Restraining Order Violation

When you are under arrest for allegedly violating the requirements of a restraining order obtained against you, you will have a chance to challenge the allegations. Your defense attorney will investigate your case and prepare defense arguments to help you obtain the best possible outcome.

Common defenses that could work in your favor to challenge an alleged restraining order violation include the following:

You Did Not Have the Intent to Violate the Order

Although you have to accept that the allegations are true, this defense could work in your favor. Your defense attorney can argue that you accidentally violated your probation conditions because of mental retardation and did not mean to harm the victim to secure a favorable outcome.

The TRO Was Invalid

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, a person requesting a TRO must follow proper rules when serving you with the order. The court could dismiss your case if your attorney can provide evidence to argue that the victim did not follow the strict rules when serving you with the TRO. For instance, your attorney can argue the TRO was invalid because the victim served you with it via a mailbox.

In that case, there are high chances the court will not convict you of violating your restraining order terms.

There is Insufficient Evidence Against You

Like any other crime, the prosecutor must present adequate evidence in court to prove the allegations you are up against for violating the conditions of a TRO are true beyond a reasonable doubt. If your defense attorney can successfully raise doubt on the alleged violation by convincing the court that the available evidence is unreliable or insufficient, the court could dismiss your case.

Obtaining the best possible outcome on the alleged restraining order violation requires aggressive legal representation by an experienced attorney.

Find a Reliable Restraining Order Attorney Near Me

A TRO can help you if you are a victim of domestic abuse, but it can also prevent you from spending quality time with the people you love when served against you. If you have any restraining order issues or someone has served you with a TRO, hiring a defense attorney with prior experience in domestic violence cases and restraining orders is a decision you cannot regret.

When you fail or refuse to respond to the TRO served to you, you will lose your chance to tell your side of the story to the court and increase the chances of it becoming a PRO. Our attorneys at the Restraining Order Law Firm can help you if you have any restraining order issues or are under arrest on suspicion that you have violated the terms of a protective order.

Aside from advising you on your legal rights, we can help tell your side of the story and raise defense arguments to help you obtain a favorable outcome. Call us at 424-600-7691 to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case with our understanding and credible defense attorneys, wherever you are in Los Angeles.