Very often, people facing charges where a restraining order has been imposed want to approach the alleged victim after the restraining order expires in order to try to make amends or to find out if the person wants to testify against you. Where children are involved or the relationship is complicated in other ways, the restraining order may have caused excruciating disruption to your life. Is talking to the person protected by the restraining order before or while court proceedings are underway a good idea?
These are some things you should consider before making contact:
1. If you talk to him/her, could you in any way be charged with the crime of dissuading a witness? Dissuading a witness/victim (PC 136.1) is a very serious charge that you do not want added to whatever you are already facing. You may be charged with PC 136.1 if you prevent, dissuade, or intimidate a witness from doing any of the following:
- Attending or testifying at any court proceeding,
- Reporting the crime,
- Aiding in the prosecution of the case, or
- Aiding in the arrest process.
2. Is the alleged victim the person who called the police? Keep in mind that this person got you arrested once and he/she might get you arrested again. If the alleged victim is unstable or extremely angry, he/she may make a false report even if your is completely non-violent and within the bounds of the law.
3. Do you have anyone else who could talk to the alleged victim instead of you? For personal matters, do you have a close friend or family member? Regarding your case and whether the alleged victim is interested in testifying against you, it is best to go through a professional so that neither you nor your friend or family member risks being charged with dissuading a witness. Can you go through an investigator?
4. Can you get a legal opinion before you talk to the alleged victim to find out what you should and should not say or discuss, and to find out whether talking to him/her is really in your interest. The Law Offices of Thomas Greenberg have handled hundreds of these cases and are a good resource. Call today to discuss your case.