What happens after Violation of a Restraining Order?

Author : Joseph Franks | Published On : 16 Aug 2021

There are several different types of restraining orders; hence, consequences vary from case to case. Violation of certain court orders may result in civil liability, but defiance can often lead to criminal convictions as well. Typically, a restraining order is aimed at removing a public hazard, controlling the actions of parties involved in civil litigation, or protecting victims of domestic violence from further abuse.

Restraining orders issued in regard to domestic violence are often called ‘protective orders’ or ‘orders of protection’ and those related to civil disputes are referred to as ‘injunctions’ by most jurisdictions. When a person violates a restraining order, he/she may face civil charges, criminal charges, or both at once. The legal penalties depend upon type, method, and severity of the violation.  If you facing wrongful accusations or charges for restraining order violation, work with Criminal Defense Attorney in Nashu, NH, to initiate damage control.

Violation of certain types of restraining orders can result in ‘contempt of court’ charges, accompanied by civil fines. For example, if a factory is unloading its toxic waste in a nearby public river, the court may impose daily fines while the misconduct recurs and continues. Some states levy corrective sanctions and civil penalties on individuals/businesses who have failed to obey established injunctions. The purpose of corrective sanctions, such as heavy day-to-day fines, is to encourage an offender to comply with the requisite court orders.

 The court may also imprison a person as a remedial punishment if he/she:

  • Fails to accept or abide by a court process, order, decree, or lawful verdict
  • Refuses to appear in court and take oath to testify honestly
  • Declines legal orders to provide crucial documents, records, or items

Once the person conforms to the orders, gives testimony, or presents the requested articles, the sentence shall be lifted; otherwise, the person may remain in confinement. If incarceration proves to be ineffective, additional penalties may be imposed.

Violation of a restraining order issued in cases of domestic violence or stalking are likely to instigate criminal charges. State codes usually contain instructions for dealing with arrest and bail procedures under these circumstances. The criminal penalties are applicable, even if the order was originally issued in a civil court.

 If law enforcement has reasonable grounds to believe that an individual has dishonored a domestic violence protective order, they can be arrested without a warrant.  Moreover, if the arrested person appears to be a threat to the victim or public, the magistrate will not immediately release him/her on bail. The arrested individual is supposed to wait for a minimum of 12 hours from the date of arrest, unless the magistrate concludes that adequate time has passed and the victim is safe. In some states, the minimum sentence can be 48 or 72 hours.

The bail for alleged offenders of a restraining order may come along with specific conditions. For example, the suspect could be required to wear a GPS monitor on the ankle at all times. The police must inform the victim that the defendant has been arrested, but may be granted bail and released from prison. Violation of a protection order is normally charged as a Class-A misdemeanor; the sentence may include up to a year in jail and fines amounting to $2,500.

If the behavior that constitutes a violation of the protection order is itself a crime, the suspect may be charged of two separate offenses. For example, if the restraining order forbids physical contact with the victim, but the person forcefully drags the victim’s by the arm, he/she is going to be held liable for violating the protection order and conducting assault. The first violation is normally charged as a misdemeanor, but repeat violations and offenses involving the use of weapons are considered a felony.