Repeat Violence Restraining Order
One of the hallmarks of the California legal system using restraining orders is to protect victims of abuse form cyclical violence. Restraining Order Attorney is a capable group of counselors who are knowledgeable about protocols and procedures in dealing with any and all types of restraining and protective orders.
What Is Repeat Violence and The Cycle of Abuse?
Restraining and protective orders are tools in the California system of courts (both criminal and civil circuits) to help protect victims and vulnerable populations from abuse, harm, and/or violence. They are technically civil injunctions that are requested (or petitioned) from a judge by a private citizen. A restraining order is a request on behalf of a private citizen (also known as the victim) to request that the judge compel another private citizen (also known as the defendant) to engage or not engage in certain behaviors. They are, in essence, a way to ask the courts of California to protect the victim from the defendant.
Repeat violence is a pattern of violence that consists of two (2) or more instances of violence or violent behavior against the victim by the defendant. It is a result of the California legal system recognizing that certain types of behavior follow patterns of cyclical violence. This is also known as the “cycle of abuse” and is particularly prevalent in parts of the population who experienced abuse and violence at a young age. If a youth between the ages of 11 and 14 is a victim of any kind of violence and/or abuse, the chances that they then themselves will inflict abuse and/or violence on someone else rise exponentially.
Furthermore, one of the primary problems with repeat violence (frequently referred to as cyclical violence) is that each iteration of violent behavior generally becomes more severe. This is also known as “escalation” and is a crucial component of repeat violence. In other words, violent behavior that only results in the victim feeling fear may eventually be followed by more severe forms of violence until the victim eventually loses their life to the violence. This repetition of the violence almost always escalates to more serious crimes. Additionally, this process of repetition is also referred to as “recidivism”.
Violence committed on intimate partners has one of the highest rates of recidivism. This is because people generally inflict violence on those closest to them, both emotionally and geographically. Furthermore, teenagers who are 16 to 24 years old have a likelihood of being involved in intimate partner violence, either as the assailant or the victim, which is three times higher per capita than the national average. This statistic is frequently shocking for those who are not familiar with the particulars of the criminal justice system. However, experts agree that when youths are exposed to violent and abusive behavior the likelihood that they will mimic this behavior in their own lives is significantly higher.
Teenagers are still developing; their morality and system of ethics is far from complete and their brains are still receiving transformative experiences that are forming who they are as people. They are still developing. If this impressionable brain is exposed to the violent trauma of abuse, particularly persistent abuse (as abuse almost always is), then it stands that these youths will in some way be permanently traumatized. They are also more easily influenced by family members (particularly their parents), their friends, mentors, movies, and their own personal experience. Furthermore, if they develop unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as drug and alcohol abuse, then those will further damage their brains.
These are the primary components of repeat violence and recidivism, particularly in cases of domestic violence. A repeat violence restraining order is designed to stop these instances of abusive and/or violent behavior.
Furthermore, teenagers who are 16 to 24 years old have a likelihood of being involved in intimate partner violence, either as the assailant or the victim, which is three times higher per capita than the national average. This statistic is frequently shocking for those who are not familiar with the particulars of the criminal justice system. However, experts agree that when youths are exposed to violent and abusive behavior the likelihood that they will mimic this behavior in their own lives is significantly higher.
These are the primary components of repeat violence and recidivism, particularly in cases of domestic violence. Repeat violence restraining orders were developed specifically to help combat these cycles of abuse and the high recidivism rate of domestic violence.
What Is a Repeat Violence Restraining Order?
There are various types of restraining orders in California law. All of them potentially deal with repeat violence, as long as the negative/abusive behavior being targeted by the restraining order happened at least two (2) or more times. Some jurisdictions specify that the behavior had to happen two (2) or more times in the last six (6) months. Some of the specifics may vary slightly, but in general, these restraining orders target recidivism and cyclical violence.
There are all kinds of negative, abusive, and/or violent behaviors that may be grounds for the judge issuing a restraining order. Some of the most common are:
Threatening a victim, also referred to as criminal threats (which is officially specified in California Penal Code Section 422 PC). This is a potential felony or misdemeanor charge and basically occurs when a defendant puts the victim in a state of fear for their wellbeing and safety as well as the wellbeing and safety of anyone close to them. Even if the defendant did not intend to carry out the threat, simply making the threat is enough to trigger a charge (and a restraining order). Criminal threats almost always escalate to a more violent crime.
Following and/or watching the victim, also known simply as stalking (officially specified in California Penal Code Section 646.9 PC). The crime of stalking is an integral early part of many cycles of repeat violence, seeing as how it is generally an early offense in the process of escalation and recidivism. It is also has a sexual component to it and is almost always followed by violent physical crimes and/or types of sexual assault.
Cyberstalking or bullying on the internet or social media. Technically cyberstalking is the same crime as stalking, but is simply an addendum to Penal Code 646.9. The defendant does not need to make actual physical contact with the victim, nor occupy the same physical space, to merit the issuance of a repeat violence restraining order from the judge.
Menacing or intimidating a victim (officially specified in California Penal Code Section 136.1 PC). This includes any instance of making a victim feel unsafe or making them feel like an attack or violent outburst is imminent. This may also include instances of the defendant threatening the victim’s family or friends. These threats must be probable and/or credible, which is simply the legal term that the defendant must actually have the means to carry out the threats. This behavior is frequently observed in domestic violence situations that are themselves instances of repeat violence. The victim will be so frightened that they will refuse to testify, thereby allowing the repeat violence to continue unabated.
Any type of physical assault and/or abuse. This includes assault (officially specified in California Penal Code Section 240 PC) and battery (officially specified in California Penal Code Section 242 PC). Said assault and/or abuse does not need to result in actual injury, though if it does the charge is immediately more serious and will certainly be charged as a felony by the prosecutor.
Destruction of personal property. This is frequently a precursor to more serious violent crimes and is done as a means of frightening or intimidating the victim.
Sexual abuse, including any kind of sexual assault and/or rape. More serious sexual crimes are almost always preceded by lesser sexual crimes, such as voyeurism or stalking. Part of the cyclical nature of repeat violence is that lesser crimes escalate into more serious offenses.
The Penalties for Violating a Repeat Violence Restraining Order
When a repeat violence restraining order is ordered and issued, then it is enforced by the police and any instance of disobeying its explicit instructions results in either a charge of violating a protective or restraining order (officially listed under California Penal Code Section 273.6 PC) and/or a charge of violating a court order (officially listed under California Penal Code Section 166 PC). They are very similar charges, except that 166 PC is a broader offense and can be applied to any number of situations. It is essentially a contempt of court charge.
Failure to obey a judge in the courts could result in either of these charges being triggered. If there are multiple violations at once, then each violation is considered separately and applied towards the various charges that the defendant may face. Eventually, the consequences of these repeat offenses start to stack up, until the abuser may end up facing serious felony charges. In order to break this pattern of repeat violence, however, the court must issue a restraining order in the first place. This is the first step in making the aggressor accountable for their actions
Any instance of repeat violence (which, by its very definition, is in violation of a restraining order) will result in grave consequences for the defendant. If the directives of the restraining order are willfully and maliciously disobeyed and/or ignored several times, the prosecutor will start to treat the defendant as a repeat offender. A repeat offender is someone who engages in repeat violence and is always treated more harshly by the criminal justice system. In fact, few classifications on a defendant can more quickly bring about dire consequences than being classified as a repeat offender.
This means that any charge that is a wobbler (including 273.6 PC and 166 PC), meaning one that may be pursued as a felony or misdemeanor, will automatically be charged as a felony. Every run-in with the law or interaction with the court will be treated as another repetition in the cycle of repeat violence and the proverbial book will be thrown at the defendant. This means that the crime of violating a protective or restraining order will go straight to felony status and likely result in a prison term of three (3) years. This is on top of any other repeat violence criminal charges that may be related to the initial offense.
California’s Three Strikes Law and Repeat Violence
California has a three (3) strikes system. This system was specifically designed to combat repeat violence and recidivism, and though it is controversial it does not appear to be going away any time soon. It essentially means that each felony conviction leads to increasingly more severe penalties and punishments. If a defendant has been classified as a repeat offender (one who engages in repeat violence), then they will have a higher likelihood of facing felony charges.
A second felony conviction means that the defendant will face a prison sentence that is doubled. They will also be required to serve a mandatory minimum of their prison sentence, even if they have good behavior while incarcerated. Finally, a third felony conviction, particularly for a violent crime, can potentially result in a term of twenty-five (25) years to life in prison. This means that a repeat offender who engages in repeat violence if they accrue enough felony convictions for violent crimes can spend their entire lives in jail due to their recidivism.
The three strikes law has been exposed to its fair share of controversy, though it does not appear that a repeal of the law will happen any time soon. It is in the best interests of the courts and the district attorneys to pursue aggressive sentencing for repeat offenders due to high profile cases in the past where the criminal justice system failed to adequately protect the public from repeat violence.
Once a repeat offender has triggered the third strike, their likelihood of getting parole after they serve their incredibly long sentence is also strikingly low. They may appeal the governor’s office for a pardon, though this is exceedingly rare.
The Three Kinds of Repeat Violence Restraining Orders
There are three basic types of repeat violence restraining orders that are on three basic timelines. They are:
An Emergency Protective Order (also known as an EPO) that is requested by the police officer responding to the scene of the crime. They have to have “probable cause” that the victim is in imminent danger of violence, abuse, and/or reprisals for contacting law enforcement. There are judges who are on call all day and night to issue these EPO’s and have them be effective immediately. They are generally good for one (1) week.
A Temporary Restraining Order (also known as a TRO). The victim must petition the judge themselves once the EPO expires if they wish to receive continued protection from their assailant. It is a closed hearing, with no jury present, and is usually an ex parte request, meaning that the defendant need not be present at the hearing. The burden of proof is fairly low and the victim must merely prove that there is a pattern of violence and that they are afraid that the behavior will escalate. Most TRO’s are valid for about one (1) month.
A Permanent Restraining Order (also known as a PRO). These are the final and most comprehensive level of a restraining order. Each side may argue their case in front of the judge, with no jury present, and present any evidence they find compelling to support their arguments. These can last for an incredibly long period of time, including three (3), five (5), or even 10 (ten) years in a domestic violence restraining order (which most repeat violence restraining orders are).
Police are required to protect the victim the entire time that the restraining order is valid. As soon as an order is issued, it gets listed on a national law enforcement database known as CLETSthat is accessible to a law enforcement officer anywhere in the country.