Breach of Non-Molestation or Restraining Orders

Ashmans Solicitors – experts in family law representing those questioned on or accused of breaching non-molestation or restraining orders

Failing to comply with a protective order held against you is an offence if you are unable to provide a reasonable excuse. In some cases, if you are found to be in breach of an order of this kind, you may also be charged with contempt of the court.

Restraining orders

It’s against the law to behave in a way which a person should know will cause someone else harassment or fear of violence. If you are found guilty of committing this type of offence against someone, the court may also impose a restraining order to prevent you from contacting or going within a certain distance of said person.

If you are found to be in breach of the rules set out in the restraining order, this is also a criminal offence. Breaching a restraining order carries a maximum charge of five years in prison.

Non-molestation orders

A non-molestation order is used by the family court to prevent a person from molesting another. There is no specific definition of what counts as molestation, however it can be used to describe all kinds of violent, threatening, intimidating and harassing activities.

A non-molestation order may restrict the kind of contact you can have with a specific person, their children, and potentially even other members of their family and friends too.

It is an offence to fail to comply with a non-molestation order without a reasonable offence. This is a criminal offence which means, if you are accused of breaching the order in any way, you may be arrested.

You will then be tried for breaching the order in either magistrates’ or Crown Court, where you could face a maximum penalty of five years in prison. 

Even if the person holding the non-molestation order against you does not wish to take the case to a criminal court, you may still be charged a fine, given a suspended sentence or sent to prison if you’re found guilty.

If the actions that put you in breach of the non-molestation order constitute as offences in their own right, you may be charged separately for these.

Aggravating factors

If you are found guilty of breaching a protective order, your case judged based on the level of harm that was both caused to the victim and intended by the perpetrator. Certain factors surrounding the case will determine the final sentence, including but not limited to whether:

⦁    The victim is particularly vulnerable
⦁    Children were impacted
⦁    The offender has a proven history of violence or threats
⦁    Contact arrangements with a child were used to initiate an offence
⦁    The victim was forced to leave their home

Examples of what is considered a reasonable excuse

If someone holding a restraining order against you initiated contact first, and up until this point you had complied with the order, the court will take this into account when deciding your sentence. They will need to take the history of your relationship with the victim into consideration as well as the specific nature of the contact you had with them.

Another mitigating factor often accepted by the courts is if the breach was committed after a long period of compliance. Again, your relationship with the victim and the nature of the contact will be taken into account.

The sentencing for a breach of a protective order will always aim to achieve future compliance with the order and to ensure the victim is safe from harm.

Family law solicitors

Do you need help over a charge related to breaching a non-molestation or restraining order? Call 03330096275 (or our emergency 24h line 03330096275) to talk in confidence with one of the UK’s leading family law defence solicitors, Ashmans Solicitors.

You can also use out free online enquiry form or email us at enquiries@ashmanssolicitors.com. We’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

We communicate in plain English with all clients. Depending on your circumstances, Legal Aid may be available.

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Have you been arrested by the police or charged with any Fraud matter? If so, call Ashmans Solicitors in confidence now on 03330 096 275 (24hrs).

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