Arrested for PC 273.5(a) Based on a Lie? A Controversial Strategy to Stay One Step Ahead

Understanding the Implications of a Domestic Violence Arrest

If you’re arrested for domestic violence in California, particularly under PC 273.5, it’s crucial to understand the legal landscape, especially if the alleged victim is not supporting you. The stakes are high in cases where you share a home or have children with the alleged victim. 

The Role of Restraining Orders in Domestic Violence Cases

After a domestic violence arrest, you might face a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO). This is different from the emergency protective order issued at the time of arrest. A DVRO is often filed in family court and can have immediate and significant consequences, such as barring you from your home and granting temporary custody of children to the petitioner.

Navigating the Legal Process

These restraining orders can be issued based solely on the petitioner’s account, sometimes leading to decisions based on false accusations or misunderstandings. This scenario can be particularly challenging when the restraining order is based on allegations different from those in the police report.

Taking Proactive Steps

One controversial but potentially effective strategy is to file a restraining order first. In California, the first person to file often gains temporary custody of children and residence rights. This doesn’t cancel out a subsequent restraining order filed by the other party but can provide an interim advantage.

Considerations and Risks

Filing a restraining order requires you to document your side of the story, which could later be used in your criminal case. Therefore, it’s advisable to consult with a domestic violence criminal defense attorney before proceeding, especially if the incident in question is the same one for which you were arrested.

Dealing with the Aftermath of a DVRO

Being subject to a DVRO can have far-reaching implications. You might still be obligated to pay rent or a mortgage on a residence you’re barred from entering, and you could lose access to your children, pets, and personal belongings for an extended period.

Defending Yourself in Court

If a restraining order is filed against you, it’s possible to defend yourself effectively at the hearing, even without an attorney. However, the process requires a deep understanding of what the court is looking for and how to present your case effectively.

The Bigger Picture

When dealing with domestic violence allegations, it’s important to consider the broader impact on your life, including potential implications for child custody and living arrangements. Sometimes, taking action, even if it seems counterintuitive from a criminal defense standpoint, may be necessary to protect your long-term interests.


Being falsely accused in a domestic violence case can turn your life upside down. Understanding your legal options and taking proactive steps can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. If you’re facing a domestic violence arrest or a restraining order in California, consider all aspects of your situation before deciding on your course of action.

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