Restraining orders, also known as protective orders, prevent a specific person from threatening, stalking, harassing, and otherwise abusing another. The person who is being harassed or abused is the “protected person”.  The person who the restraining order is filed against is the “restrained person”. A skilled Orange County domestic violence law firm can help.

In California, there are essentially four different types of protective orders. They are:

  • Elder abuse – or dependent adult abuse
  • Domestic violence cases
  • Workplace violence
  • Civil harassment

These protective orders can be issued for months or may remain in effect for up to five years. The shorter-term restraining orders (in effect for days or months) are temporary restraining orders or emergency protective orders.

If the “restrained person” violates the terms of the order, they have committed a crime in California. Most of these violations are charged as misdemeanors, as opposed to felonies.  The violation is usually punishable by:

  • Imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year
  • A fine of up to $1,000.

Some examples of the terms of some protective orders are:

  • personal conduct orders: these orders stop the restrained party from doing certain things such as making phone calls, harassing, threatening, destroying personal property, or assaulting the protected party.
  • stay-away orders: These orders are designed to keep the restrained party a certain distance away from the protected party. The order may include his/her children, work, home, or some other specified place.
  • Residence exclusion orders: This order demands that the restrained party move out from where the protected party lives.

How Can Someone Get a Restraining Order?

The person, or family law attorney, asking for the protection of the order, can go to a California court (usually Superior Court) and simply complete the necessary paperwork. These forms are complex, and the terms must be worded properly to provide the “protected person” with the full protection of the order.

Your Orange County family lawyer, giving you peace of mind during this difficult time, will make sure that the protected order does all it can to protect them. The party wanting the order, and their family attorney, will have to state the reasons why they are requesting the restraining order. Once that is done, a filing fee is paid and the paperwork is reviewed by a judge.

The judge makes the final decision whether to issue the TRO (temporary restraining order) or not. These orders usually last up to 21 days. After the TRO is approved, it will be served on the restrained person via a process server. Proof of the service of the order also must be filed with the court.

So the first order asked for is commonly more temporary.  This will halt the immediate verbal or physical threat to the protective persons. The court will then hear more detailed evidence on the matter. After the hearing, and all the details, abuses, etc. are heard, the judge may decide to make the order permanent. It then may be in effect for up to five years.

Is There a Difference Between a Domestic Violence Order and a Civil Harassment Order?

Regarding domestic violence restraining orders, the restrained person and the protected party have, or may have previously had, some type of intimate relationship. This could include husbands and wives, ex-spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, and all those who’ve lived together in an intimate relationship. Similarly, blood relatives are also eligible to apply for a domestic violence restraining order.

In civil harassment restraining orders, the parties involved have not been in an intimate relationship. These types of restraining orders include relationships such as roommates, coworkers, and other less intimate relationships. Preventing unwanted attention from a stranger or acquaintance is another appropriate use of a civil harassment restraining order.

Any type of restraining order does require some type of threatening or possibly harmful behavior. Domestic violence restraining orders also include types of emotional, psychological, and of course physical abuse.

If a Restraining Order is Filed against Me, Do I have to Relinquish my Firearms?

In most cases in California, the restrained person would have to surrender any firearms in their possession. They may be required to sell their weapons, store them with the authorities, or part with them in some manner during the length of the order. They also may not be able to purchase any type of weapon until the order runs out or gets legally resolved.

An Orange County family law attorney will advise of other stringent requirements that will directly affect your life. For example, a restrained person may be required to leave their home. This is especially true in domestic violence cases. The judge may not feel it is safe for the restrained person and the protected person to share the same dwelling.

Some of these consequences impact life in a negative manner and can be broad-ranging in scope. Due to the serious impact a restraining order has on your life, it is strongly recommended that you retain a dedicated law firm committed to providing your and your family with the best legal representation.

Can a Restraining Order Ruin My Life?

Many times a California restraining order can go on your record. This act may not affect your current job, but it certainly may affect your future employment. Background checks are more common today in most employment applications. They are even used if you are trying to lease a property. It is relatively easy to find out public information today, and even those you may begin a relationship with may look them up.

There are some reasons for filing orders that are not as serious as others, but you need to know the facts. The Sarieh Law Offices work hard to give you peace of mind during this difficult time. They will make sure you know your rights, the facts of the case, and are represented professionally and compassionately.