On Saturday, February 8th, deputies from the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station headed to Saugus after receiving reports of “someone banging on a woman’s door.” Upon investigation, deputies learned that the suspect had indeed been banging on a woman’s door before they arrived. However, when the banging failed to elicit the response the suspect wanted, he then opened the victim’s unlocked vehicle and took several items from inside.
The suspect, E. Morejon, of Valencia, was arrested and charged with felony vandalism, grand theft property, and violating the terms of a domestic violence restraining order. Under California Penal Code 273.6 PC, it is illegal to violate the terms or conditions of a restraining order. A restraining order (or court order) is intended to protect a person from harassment, physical abuse, stalking, or threats.
In order to be convicted of violating a restraining order, a prosecutor must be able to prove:
- The court lawfully issued a restraining order
- The defendant knew about it
- The defendant had the ability to follow the order, and
- The suspect willfully violated the order
For example, suppose a man has a history of physically abusing his partner, so his partner appeals to the court to have a restraining order placed against him. After it is signed and issued, a copy of the order is shown to the man by his partner’s lawyer. Then, a few weeks later, the man sees his partner at a restaurant.
In this case, the man would not be charged with violating the restraining order because he had no idea his partner would be at the restaurant. However, if he shows up someplace that he knows his partner is likely to be (such as his partner’s house) and the man knows he has a restraining order against him, he can be charged because he intentionally went somewhere he knew his partner would be.
Violating a restraining order is a misdemeanor in California that is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 1 year in county jail.