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How To End Up in Jail

In nearly twenty years of practice as an Orange County criminal defense attorney, I have seen the following too many times to recall:

He has been served with a temporary restraining order and wants to fight it. The says there’s no reason for it. They simply had a breakup and he said some mean things. There was no violence, no harassment and no threats. Imposition of the restraining order can have consequences- he could lose his job and his ex-wife could use the restraining order against him if she ever decides to take him back to court to get more child support. Shortly before the restraining order hearing he calls and says his ex-girlfriend wants to “drop” the restraining order. I ask how he knows this and he says “she called me”.

He should never have taken that call. Unless there is some specifically carved out exception such as “the parties may have electronic communication solely for the purposes of discussing continuing financial obligations,” a restraining order prohibits contact for ALL  purposes.

It does not matter if the protected person initiates  the contact. If you accept, you have violated and you could be criminally prosecuted for disobeying a court order.

What are you suppose to do if she calls you? Don’t answer. Hang up. Screen shot the call so that you can preserve it as evidence, should you need it later on.

What are you suppose to do if you see her at church or the Little League game and she comes up to talk to you? Walk away. Do not engage. Make a note of it to tell your lawyer later on.

You might argue that she doesn’t really “want” the restraining order or she wouldn’t be contacting you. If she didn’t want it, she wouldn’t have sought it in the first place. She may have changed her mind, but could easily change her mind again and report all of the contact to the police.

If she genuinely doesn’t want the restraining order, she can contact your lawyer and go about getting the restraining order removed. She is putting you at risk of going to jail every time she tries to contact you, in violation of the restraining order. Only you can control that risk by not allowing contact.

If you have been served with a temporary restraining order or if you want to modify an existing restraining order, call Orange County criminal lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949)477-8088 today.

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