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Violation of Restraining Order

Garcia Law Group > Violation of Restraining Order

Violations of Restraining Order – California Penal Code 273.6


The crime of violating a restraining order in California is laid out within the California penal code in section 273.6. Several determining factors help to specify the particulars of how a restraining order was violated and thus there are different penalties and charges for each type.


Understandably, the legal jargon used in the California penal code can be difficult for someone without a legal background to interpret. That is why this article exists, to shine some light on the variety of ways and types of restraining order violations that can get you or a loved one in a legal bind.


Please read on the get the full story on California penal code 273.6: violations of restraining orders.


Specifics of the Penal Code Sections


First, it is important to break down the specifics of the California penal code section 273.6 into understandable terms.


PC 273.6(a)


Penal code section 273.6(a) states that any intentional violation of a protective order (which can also be a restraining order as defined in Section 6218 of the Family Code) is a misdemeanor.


The statute goes on to further state that any violations of a protective (restraining) order that was filed according to sections 527.6, 527.8, or 527.85 of the Code of Civil Procedure is a misdemeanor. Lastly, Section 273.6 (a) states that violations of protective (restraining) orders filed according to Section 15657.03 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is also a misdemeanor.


Essentially, if the code the restraining order was filed according to is one of the ones listed in the paragraph above, the offender will be charged with a misdemeanor. Charges brought to offenders who violate restraining orders according to these codes are also charged a fine no greater than $1,000, imprisoned in a county jail for no more than a year, or both the imprisonment and then fine.


Section 273.6(b)


Section 273.6(b) goes on to further specify a scenario. In Section 273.6 (b), if Section 273.6 is violated and the violation results in physical harm, then the offender will be charged no more than $2,000, imprisoned in a county jail for more than 30 days but less than one year, or both the fine and imprisonment.


It is important to note that some courts may lower or eliminate the number of days spent in jail (after the offender has been imprisoned for 48 hours,) depending on the case. The court decides this based on the history of the offender, the severity of the allegations, and other facts such as the physical safety of the victim, the chance that the offender will violate the restraining order again, and the progress the offender is making in counseling.


Section 273.6(c)


Section 273.6(c) states that the penalties and charges indicated in both sections (a) and (b) also apply to some other court orders, including (1) any court orders according to Section 6320 or 6389 of the Family Code, (2) any court orders excluding one person from a family home or the home of the other, (3) an order instructing someone to stop a specified behavior that the court deemed necessary to put into action after the order described in Section (a), (4) any restraining order that was issued in another state.



Section 273.6(d)


If the offender has already been convicted of violating a restraining order as described in Section 273.6(a) within the past 7 years and it involved an act of violence or a serious threat of violence, (like Section 273.6 © says,) then the offender can be imprisoned in a county jail for no more than one year.



Section 273.6(e)


If the offender was convicted of violating a restraining order as described in Section 273.6 (a) and then is convicted of the same crime within one year of the earlier conviction and the violation results in physical injury to the victim, the offender will be charged a fine up to $2,000, spend more than 6 months but less than one year in county jail, or both the fine and imprisonment.


If the offender spends at least 30 days in county jail, the court may review the case and lower or eliminate the six-month minimum jail time sentence. The court will do this by reviewing any additional allegations the offender has against them, previous charges, history of violating restraining orders, the chance they will violate an order again, the safety of the victim, and what progress the offender is making in counseling.


Section 273.6(f)


This section says that the prosecuting agency for each county in California is in charge of making sure that the restraining orders listed in sections (a), (b), (d), and (e) are being followed properly.


Section 273.6(g)


Section (g) has 2 subsections. Subsection (1) states that everyone who either purchases, owns, or gets a firearm knowing that they are not allowed to have a gun because of the court restraining order against them will be punished.


Subsection (2) says that everyone subject to a restraining order like the one listed in Section 273.6 (a) will not be prosecuted for owning or buying a firearm if the firearm is given an exemption by the court according to subdivision (f) of Section 527.9 of the Code of Civil Procedure or subdivision (h) of Section 6389 of the Family Code.


Section 273.6(h)


This section of the code states that if a person convicted of violating Section 273.6 (a), (b) (c), (d), or (e) is granted probation, the probation will be consistent with Section 1203.097. Additionally, in place of a fine, Section 273.6 (h) subsection (1) says the offender may be required to make payments to a battered woman’s shelter, an abused elders shelter, or dependent adults. These payments have a maximum of $5,000.


Section 273.6 (h) subsection (2) says the offender must reimburse the victim for the costs of therapy, counseling, or other expenses that the court thinks are directly related to the offender’s violation.


Section 273.6(i)


Lastly, the court will determine the offender’s ability to pay fines, make payments to shelters, and reimbursement payments when it decides how much the offender will pay. This can also be referred to as “restitution.”




In general, any violation of a restraining order in the state of California has repercussions.. Most of the sections are based on the offender knowingly and willfully violating the restraining order against them or making credible threats against the victim.


If you accidentally violate a restraining order, there are ways to navigate that legal mess. Many courts understand that accidents happen. You may avoid jail time or steep fines, but you may have to pay reimbursement. Every case is different when it comes to accidental violations or conflicting orders.


Domestic Violence/Corporal injury to spouse or cohabitant PC 273.5

Criminal threats PC 422

Disturbing the Peace PC 415

Dissuading a Witness PC 136.1

Domestic Violence PC 243(e)(1)

Extortion PC 518

Stalking PC 646.9




Appearing in front of a judge by yourself can be an intimidating experience. Additionally, the laws are complicated. If you are facing a criminal case, Garcia Law Group is here to help you. We’ve handled hundreds of cases and represented individuals in your situation. We are here to help you get through this stressful situation.

Call now and speak to attorney Joel Garcia for a FREE CONSULTATION.


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