What Happens if I Get Arrested for a Restraining Order Violation?
Prompt jail release after a restraining order violation often means that defenses hold up in court.
Arrests for restraining order violations are on the rise in Gwinnett County, mostly because judges issued more restraining orders during pandemic lockdowns. Violation of a non-contact order is the most frequent infraction. Prosecutors also file cases based on technical grounds, like failure to pay support or failure to surrender all owned firearms.
Additionally, it is rather easy for law enforcement officers to arrest people for restraining order violations. These matters are violations of existing court orders. If officers respond to a domestic disturbance, they often do not arrest anyone unless physical violence has occurred. Otherwise, there is too much ‘he said, she said’ for these arrests to hold up in court. Also, quite frankly, many officers do not want to listen to a long list of accusations and explanations.
Because of the court order violation, restraining order violations are usually more difficult to resolve than domestic battery infractions. Many prosecutors take court order violations personally. So, effective representation from a Norcross criminal defense lawyer is even more important in these situations. Without good lawyers, defendants are basically at the mercy of judges and prosecutors. As outlined above, that is a bad place to be in.
In court, restraining order violations are in a worse category than domestic violence cases. But for jail release purposes, restraining order violations are often in a more favorable category than domestic violence cases. As mentioned, most restraining order violations are non-violent offenses.
Therefore, OR (own recognizance) release may be available in such cases. That is especially true if the defendant has an otherwise clear criminal record, and the alleged victim did not tell officers that they feared for their life.
On the downside, review officers often do not think these defendants will comply with the terms of bail. That attitude is understandable. After all, these defendants are behind bars because they violated court orders.
Effective advocacy from a Norcross criminal defense attorney often makes a big difference in these situations. In fact, the mere presence of a lawyer could make a difference. That presence shows officials the defendant takes the matter seriously.
These same issues apply to the other forms of pretrial release, which are cash bail and a bail bond.
Prompt pretrial release is very important in criminal cases, and not just for personal reasons. Incarcerated defendants cannot participate in their own defenses in any meaningful way. Therefore, fighting the case in court is like fighting with one arm tied behind one’s back.
The Court Case
Procedural defenses are often key in restraining order violation matters. A tip from an alleged victim that a defendant is violating a restraining order may not hold up in court, even if that tip is accurate. Swatting, or falsely summoning law enforcement to harass an individual, is becoming more and more common in Georgia.
Substantively, many defendants do not understand court orders. These orders are almost always in English, and almost half of Georgians speak a language other than English at home. Additionally, these orders are mostly Legalese. That is a language that even college-educated native English speakers usually don’t understand.
Attorneys usually leverage procedural and substantive defenses during pretrial negotiations to obtain a favorable plea bargain arrangement. This strategy avoids the risks of a trial, and according to the old saying, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Work With a Diligent Gwinnett County Criminal Defense Lawyer
Restraining order violations are serious matters. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Norcross, contact Zimmerman & Associates, Attorneys at Law. We routinely handle matters in Fulton County and nearby jurisdictions.