What Happens if Someone Violates a Restraining Order?
Getting arrested for a restraining order violation typically occurs when the alleged victim of a restraining order receives a communication from the Respondent, in violation of the Order issued by the judge. Even a benign message to the alleged victim will result in arrest if reported.
The law related to a criminal restraining order violation is found in ORS 33.065, which details contempt of court. The possible sentencing related to a conviction is found in ORS 33.105.
From a procedural standpoint, after an arrest, the defendant will get the opportunity to post bail. In many instances for retraining order violations, that bail amount will be set at $5,000, which means that if the defendant pays $500 (10%) they will be released. If the defendant fails to show up for court, then the court will go after the person who paid the $500 for the remaining $4,500 (the other 90% of the bail amount).
Before or after posting bail, the defendant will receive notice of arraignment, wherein the defendant will be asked to state their position (guilty, not guilty, no contest). Thereafter, the court will set additional dates for future court hearings.
The biggest question that the defendant likely has is in regards to the consequences for a restraining order violation. The vast majority of time, restraining order violations result in probation for 12 to 18 months, and possibly a requirement that the defendant enroll in domestic violence classes. In addition, the court will likely order the defendant to pay costs and expenses.
Many, but not all, restraining order violations are “clear cut.” For example, a benign text to the Petitioner, even one as simple as “I miss you” or a “kissy face emoji,” can result in arrest and a criminal violation. Each case is unique; for example one can imagine a situation where one “pocket dials” the alleged victim, or an instance where the “violation” arose during a few texts about a parenting time exchange. In either of these instances, it would obviously be wise to have an attorney representing your interests. Even if the violation is clear cut, an attorney can help cut a deal.