What Can I Do If My Harasser Violates the Order?

If your restraining order is violated, you should immediately call the police to report the incident. If the situation is urgent, call 911. If you are not in imminent danger, you can call 311 or file a complaint in person. After addressing any immediate threats and ensuring you are in a safe place, you should consider other legal options.

After reporting the incident, you should consider:

  • Filing a motion. If in violation of a court order, they can be found in contempt of court.
  • Contacting an attorney. They can help you file the motion, and they can also help connect you with additional resources.
  • Keeping a record of the incident. Take a note of any witnesses as well as the date and time of the violation. If your abuser calls (or communicates with you in any way), save recordings or screenshots.

What Is Considered a Violation of a Restraining Order?

After a restraining order is issued by the court, all law enforcement officers have access to the order (and its details). The order is effective even if you move or travel (within the United States). A restraining order can order an abuser to:

  • Not contact or go near the alleged victim, their children, or relatives.
  • Stay away from the alleged victim’s home and work.
  • Pay child and/or spousal support.
  • Stay away from any family pet(s).
  • Move out of their home (if shared with the survivor/victim).

An abuser may also be required to attend a batterer prevention program and give up their weapons and ammunition. Every restraining order has its own specifics, so it is best to review your restraining order details. Generally, restraining orders are violated when the abuser:

  • Contacts the victim/survivor (by initiating or responding to communication).
  • Refuses to move out of their home they shared with the victim/survivor.
  • Comes too close to the victim/survivor.
  • Doesn’t abide by the gun and ammunition restrictions.
  • Fails to pay child and/or spousal support.

What Happens If Someone Violates a Restraining Order?

If someone violates a restraining order, they face serious penalties that increase with each subsequent attempt. According to California Penal Code § 273.6, the violation of restraining orders is punishable by:

  • A fine of up to $1,000.
  • Up to 1 year in a county jail.
  • Both a fine and imprisonment.

If a motion is filed in court, someone who violated a restraining order may also be found in contempt of court, which is also a misdemeanor offense (California Penal Code § 166).

At TRABOLSI | LEVY | GABBARD LLP, we work for and with our clients to achieve the best possible outcome in their case. For help with legalities concerning restraining orders, please reach out to our legal team online or via phone (310) 455-8364.
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