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Stay Away Order

What is a Stay Away Order?

A Stay-Away Order, also called a Criminal Protective Order (CPO), is a restraining order issued under California Penal Code section 136.2, by a Judge in a criminal case against the person (the defendant) accused of domestic violence. This Stay-Away Order is issued to protect a victim or witness of a crime, from harm, intimidation or dissuasion that has occurred or is reasonably likely to occur. The Stay-Away Order is usually issued after the defendant is charged with or found guilty of certain crimes against the victim.

How Does a Stay-Away Order Work?

The Stay-Away Order is issued when the criminal case is initiated and the defendant makes his or her first appearance in court (the arraignment). The defendant is served a copy of the Order in open court. The Order specifies what the defendant can and cannot do. Generally, the Order specifically prohibits the defendant from having any contact with the victim. It tells the defendant to stay away from the victim or a witness (usually 100 yards away) and from his or her place of employment. It directs the defendant from having no contact with the victim or witness, either directly or indirectly, and not to annoy, harass, threaten, or commit any acts of violence. In some rare cases, the Order can be modified so that the defendant can have contact with the victim, but the contact cannot be annoying, offensive, or hostile.

How Long Does a Stay-Away Order Last?

The Stay-Away Order generally lasts for three years or until the criminal case against the defendant has been resolved. Sometimes the Stay-Away Order can be extended for 10 years. Keep in mind that a Stay-Away Order differs from an Emergency Protective Order, Domestic Violence Restraining Order, or a Civil Harassment Restraining Order.

What Is The Difference Between A Stay-Away Order And A Civil Restraining Order?

The main difference is that the Stay-Away Order (Criminal Protective Order) arises out of a criminal case and is issued in criminal court by a Judge while the Civil Restraining Order is issued by civil or family law Judges. In the Stay-Away Order the prosecutor (District or City Attorney) is usually involved in drafting the Order while in a Civil Restraining Order the victim is the one filing and seeking the Restraining Order. Law Enforcement treats and responds differently to Stay-Away Orders than violations of Civil Domestic Violence Restraining Orders. Violating a Stay-Away Order is a crime in Los Angeles County and a Civil Restraining Order is usually not subject to criminal prosecution.

What Happens When A Stay-Away Order Is Violated?

If the defendant disobeys the Stay-Away Order he or she can be arrested for violation of the Stay-Away Order and subject to misdemeanor Criminal Contempt charges (also called Violation of a Court Order) punishable in California, under Penal Code section 166 by up to one year in county jail. In certain circumstances, multiple violations of a criminal protective order can lead to felony charges and a state prison sentence of up to three years.

Gun Restrictions

A Stay-Away Order prohibits the defendant from owning, possessing, purchasing or receiving firearms while the Stay-Away Order is in effect. After the Stay-Away Order is issued the defendant is ordered to relinquish any firearm in his or her possession. The defendant must comply within 24 hours of the Order being served on the defendant. The defendant will be ordered to present proof to the court in the form of a receipt of sale or surrender. In some rare cases, the court can make an exception to this when a firearm is required as part of the defendant’s employment.

Top Criminal Defense Attorneys

Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners if you are charged with Domestic Violence and facing a Stay-Away Order (Criminal Protective Order) in Los Angeles County. We are experienced attorneys who can assist you with a Stay-Away Order and represent your best interests in court.