April 28, 2014 • Jerod Gunsberg, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
In almost every domestic violence case, there is a criminal protective order issued against the defendant. In many cases this is a complete stay away order (meaning that there can be no contact between the defendant and the accused). Violation of this order could result in revocation of bail, or if an own recognizance release was granted, the court could impose bail on the defendant. Even more serious is the distinct possibility of additional criminal charges.
It is important to follow court orders and to have no contact with any alleged victim in a criminal case. The only people allowed to make contact is the defendant’s criminal defense attorney or the private investigator who works for the defendant’s attorney. If the protected person wishes to have contact with the defendant, then the protected person needs to retain an attorney and ask the court to modify the protective order to allow such contact.
Make no mistake, the additional criminal charges for violating a criminal protective order can be serious. For a first violation of Penal Code Section 273.6(a), provided there’s no injury to the alleged victim, the City Attorney or District Attorney can file a misdemeanor charge that carries up to one year in the county jail and a fine of $1,000.
If the violation of a protective order results in an injury to the protected party, the consequences are even more severe: A mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days and a maximum sentence of one year, plus a maximum fine of $2,000. You can also bet that on top of charges relating to the violation of the protective order, the prosecutor will file additional misdemeanor or felony charges relating to the infliction of the injury. This court can waive the jail time resulting from this charge, but it is going to take a highly skilled domestic violence defense attorney to convince the court to do that.
Another charge that can be brought as a result of violating a protective order is “dissuading a witness.” Often the protected person is also a witness in domestic violence case, usually the alleged victim. Under Penal Code Section 136.1, if there are allegations that the “defendant knowingly and maliciously prevents or dissuades any witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any trial or proceeding or inquiry authorized by law,” then the prosecutor can file either a felony or a misdemeanor against the defendant. If the alleged threat is accompanied by force, fear, or any injury the court can impose a felony with a sentence in state prison. This is in addition to any charges that can be filed related to any assaults, battery with great bodily injury, or criminal threats.
BOTTOM LINE: Do NOT make contact with any person named in a criminal protective order. The consequences are severe. If the protected person wishes to have contact with the defendant, he or she should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney to discuss the situation. Contact the Law Offices of Jerod Gunsberg at (323) 633-3423 or via the secure contact form on this page for a free and confidential consultation.