The Leventhal Blog


A restraining order, a judicial directive compelling individuals to maintain distance from specific persons or places due to perceived threats, is a legal tool frequently sought in the context of toxic relationships, both intimate and otherwise. Surprisingly easy to obtain, these orders typically emerge through civil court petitions or within the realm of criminal cases involving potential harm to an alleged victim.

In the civil court scenario, petitioners draft affidavits outlining threats, and the court, often with minimal contestation, issues the order. In criminal cases, especially those involving domestic violence, courts routinely impose restraining orders, as mandated by Penal Code Sections 136.2 and 1203.097. However, in non-domestic violence cases, such as assault, battery, threats, or burglary, the court is expected to evaluate the evidence before issuing such orders, as highlighted in Babalola v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, 192 Cal.App.4th 948 (2011). While easy to secure, courts retain the authority to modify the restrictions as cases unfold.

Violations of these orders lead to criminal charges under Penal Code Sections 166 et. seq. and 273.6 et. seq. Notably, charges don’t apply if the order is a condition of probation, per People v. Johnson, 20 Cal.App.4th 106, 109 (1993).

Defending against these charges involves various strategies:

  1. Challenge the Lawful Issuance: Asserting that the order should never have been issued due to falsehoods or constitutional concerns, especially if it proves overly broad or unnecessary.
  1. Lack of Knowledge: Establishing that the defendant was unaware of the order’s existence, differentiating between not knowing the order’s contents and not being aware of its existence.
  1. Non-Willful Violation: Arguing that the defendant did not willfully commit the prohibited act, is crucial when intent plays a pivotal role.

In conclusion, the fight against restraining orders is crucial. Despite their ease of issuance, these orders carry a significant stigma that can profoundly impact lives. Reach out to THE LEVENTHAL FIRM’s adept criminal defense attorneys in Pasadena and Los Angeles to navigate and challenge criminal restraining order violations.