How Do Restraining Orders Work?
Restraining orders – or orders of protection – are court orders that help victims of harassment, stalking, and abuse avoid additional contact with the perpetrator. In California, there are four types of restraining orders: emergency protective orders, domestic violence temporary restraining orders, criminal protective orders, and civil harassment restraining orders.
Each of these orders prohibits the offender from:
- Contacting the victim via phone, email, text, etc.
- Harassing, stalking, or physically assaulting the victim
- Coming within a certain distance of the victim
Types Of California Restraining Orders
While each type of restraining order serves essentially the same purpose, they may be issued under differing circumstances:
Emergency Protective Order (EPO): An emergency protective order is issued by a judge upon the request of a law enforcement officer, when there is a risk of domestic violence. This abuse could be physical, sexual, or verbal. These orders can be used to protect a current or former spouse, people currently or formerly dating, and those related by blood – such as a child or parent. These orders are only valid for five days, and protect the victim while at home and at work.
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO): Frequently cited reasons for the issuance of a temporary restraining order are unlawful violence, a credible threat of violence, serious harassment, or substantial emotional stress. To obtain a temporary restraining order, the victim must convince a judge that he will suffer immediate, irreparable harm if the order isn’t issued. If the judge is satisfied that the order is necessary, he may issue it immediately, without informing anyone or holding a hearing. These types of orders are only valid for three weeks, though they can be converted into a permanent order that lasts for up to three years.
Criminal Protective Order (CPO): This type of order is intended to protect a victim of – or witness to – a crime. Cases that frequently result in the issuance of a criminal protective order include assault, battery, sexual abuse, destruction of property, vandalism, and stalking. The length of the CPO will be determined by the reason for its issuance.
Civil Harassment Restraining Order (CHO): Issued by a civil court, these restraining orders are intended to stop harassment or other threatening behavior by people you don’t have a close relationship with – such as co-workers, neighbors, roommates, etc.
What Are The Consequences Of Violating A Restraining Order?
If the perpetrator contacts the victim, or comes within a certain distance of him, his home, or his workplace, there could be serious legal consequences. In most cases, the perpetrator will be held in contempt of court. This offense is typically charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in county jail.
Fighting A Restraining Order In Court
To fight a California restraining order, the respondent must convince the judge that the plaintiff isn’t in need of protection from him. For a restraining order to be valid, you must be officially notified that it has been filed against you – via personal delivery of the order. This document must be legible, and include Form DV-120, the “answer to temporary restraining order.” You must file an answer with the court after being served, in order to respond to the claims made against you at a formal hearing before a judge. At this hearing, the judge will consider your answer in determining whether he will cancel the restraining order, or issue a permanent one.
Failure to hire an attorney gives the alleged victim the advantage, especially if he has legal counsel. Involving a San Diego criminal lawyer early on increases your chances of a favorable resolution, since your attorney will be able to:
- Create and file necessary court documents
- Help you prepare to testify before the judge
- Respond to the judge’s questions and demands
Contact The Law Office Of Gregory Garrison Today
Have you been served with a restraining order in San Diego County? If so, you should contact a knowledgeable criminal attorney immediately. The Law Office of Gregory Garrison has over 28 years of combined legal experience at your disposal. Your future is at stake – contact us today to secure the representation you need.