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Why You Need Restraining Order Attorney

If you live in Los Angeles, or anywhere in Southern California, and you are seeking a restraining order of any kind against anyone, an experienced lawyer can help you successfully file and win your petition. A good lawyer can also assist you in understanding what types of restraining / protective orders exist under California law and how to choose the most appropriate order.

On the other side of the coin, if a restraining order has been falsely or unreasonably filed against you, you will also need an attorney with extensive experience in this practice area.

At Restraining Order Attorney, we stand ready to assist you step by step through the process of filing for a restraining order. We know how to file in such a way as to maximize the chances of getting your petition approved, and in as little time as possible. Contact us anytime 24/7 365 days a year by calling 310-928-7581 for a free consultation and quick attention to your needs!

Contact Us Anytime

24/7/365 by calling  310-928-7581

Our phone lines are open to you at all times day or night. We never know when we find ouselves in need of a restraining order or the protection against a falsely petitioned one and because of that we make our office available to you. Put your trust in us, a team dedicated to filing and fighting restraining orders. We service the greater Los Angeles area and are awaiting our chance to help you!!

The Process
for Getting a Restraining Order

The process for getting just about any restraining or protective order in California is basically the same. The only major differences are in which forms have to be filed, precisely which information has to be on them, and who can apply for this or that type of protective order and against whom. But the steps of the process, in all cases, are more or less as follows.

  1. If police have already gotten you an emergency protective order, you have 7 days or less to file for the next step - the temporary protective order. This will require you going to a local county courthouse and filling out and filing the proper form(s). You can print the forms from online or get them at the courthouse.
  2. Next, you generally have to wait till the next business day for the temporary restraining order to be processed. The clerk you gave the completed forms to will have passed them on to the judge, who will assess the case and make the decision. You will have to go back to the court to find out if the judge granted the restraining order request or not.
  3. If the judge does grant a temporary restraining order, then you will be given several copies of the order, which will be valid until your court hearing (usual 3 weeks later). Always keep a copy of the order with you during this interim period, and give one to others in your household as well. Also, at this point, the order has to be served on the one restrained by it. Police may offer to serve it, or else any adult other than you can do so.
  4. Once your hearing date arrives, it is possible to get a "permanent" restraining order put in place, if necessary. Again, you will have to fill out more forms and bring plenty of relevant supporting documents. It's best to get the help of a skilled lawyer for this since any mistake could upset the outcome. Note that a protective order not only can prevent contact but can also stipulate that the restrained person (in domestic violence cases) continue to pay rent/mortgage and utilities, while the protected person lives in the house and has control over a vehicle or other possessions. You'll want to make sure about the exact terms of the order - and an experienced lawyer is the one to ensure you don't overlook anything.

Note that a failure of the person restrained to attend the court hearing will almost certainly ensure the restraining order becomes "permanent." And the failure of the person protected to show up for the court hearing will normally mean that the temporary order will simply expire.

What Exactly Can a Restraining Order Do?

More often than not, restraining/protective orders in California are sought by those alleging domestic violence has been perpetrated against them. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, it's because of stalking or some kind of harassment from a total stranger rather than from a current/former intimate partner (as in domestic violence cases). Thus, we can say that restraining orders can be sought for domestic violence or for civil harassment.

What can a restraining order do? In general, it forbids that a particular individual contact or come within a specified distance of another person for a specified period of time. The duration of such orders varies greatly, some being very temporary, others lasting up to 3 years, and in extreme cases, lasting for life. The court will also require local law enforcement to protect you, and other family members, in accord with the restraining order.

But exactly what a restraining order accomplishes depends on the type that it is. There are three major types of restraining orders provided for under California law:

An emergency restraining order can be issued on short notice and begin immediately, and it can last as long as 7 days. Law enforcement can ask a judge to issue an "EPO" anytime 24/7, and judges with power to issue them keep themselves reachable for this purpose at all times. This kind of protective order can only be issued for domestic violence, criminal activity, or in civil cases for stalking.

To qualify for an EPO, the police officer and judge will have to agree that the victim is in "present danger" of domestic abuse, that a child is at risk of abuse or abduction, that a senior citizen is at immediate risk of elder abuse, and that the order will likely accomplish the goal of protecting the potential victim(s).

The 7 day period of the emergency protective order gives sufficient time to go to court to apply for and get approved a temporary restraining order.

To get a "TRO," you will need to file paperwork explaining what happened and why you believe you need a temporary restraining order. This kind of order is "temporary" in that it lasts up until your court hearing date, where the matter presumably will be resolved. TROs usually last between 20 and 25 days.

A TRO will only be allowed if the court concurs that the alleged victim is in immediate danger of domestic violence or of having some other crime perpetrated upon you. At the hearing, it will be decided whether or not to issue a "permanent" restraining order.

At your court hearing, you may walk in with a temporary restraining order; but you will walk out either with no restraining order at all or with a long-term order, which is oddly dubbed "permanent" in legal talk, that can last up to 5 years for domestic violence cases but up to 3 years only for civil harassment cases.

Basically, the defendant will have to either plead guilty or be found guilty in order for a permanent restraining order, also called a "criminal stay away order," to be enacted.

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Responding to a California Protective Order

Sometimes, those served a protective order also seek legal help to dispute and overcome the order. And even when that's not practical, a good lawyer can help the restrained person respond properly to the order and thus avert a worse situation down the road, which might develop if the order is simply accepted unchallenged on the one hand, or on the other hand, simply not responded to.

When served a protective order (for domestic violence), you will need to fill out form DV 120 and respond to a number of other forms included in the papers you are served. Only by responding in this way to the order do you get a chance to tell your side of the story before your actual court date arrives.

The restraining order's details will go into specific "order" requested by the protected party. Aside from disallowing contact of any kind for a period of time, it may also include issues related to child custody/visitation rights, the inability to legally travel with your own child, an acknowledgement of paternity, and a demand that the restrained party still pay the mortgage/rent and other bills during the duration of the restraining order while not having the use of the home, vehicle, or other property.

It's not automatic that all of these elements will be included in the order and approved by the judge - even if some of them are. Thus, checking the "disagree box" and listing your reasons and evidence is not a futile endeavor.

When served a temporary restraining order, you must turn in your firearms, if you own/possess any, within 48 hours. The papers served to you will explain how to turn in guns, sell them, or legally store them - and get the necessary receipt to include with your response. Additionally, you will be required to provide a financial statement of income and expenses.

Be sure all information on the forms turned in are true to the best of your knowledge, since you sign the forms under penalty of perjury. Be sure that all necessary attachments are included. Your papers must then be served to your accuser by an adult other than yourself. Anyone fighting a protective order is in need of expert legal help both for filing the response papers and for preparing for the court hearing.

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Domestic Violence VS Civil Harassment

If you have suffered from an act of domestic violence OR if you have been threatened with such an act, you can seek a restraining order against the offender. But what constitutes domestic violence under California law? While domestic violence can take many forms, the common thread is that a relationship of "intimate partner" must exist - or it can be a former intimate partner, in order for it to count as domestic violence.

An intimate partner can be a spouse, fiancé, serious dating partner, or romantic live-in partner. The other parent of your child would also count as an intimate partner, regardless of other factors. Common forms of domestic violence include: domestic battery, infliction of corporal injury on a spouse, stalking, issuing criminal threats, revenge porn, and posting of harmful information online.

But restraining orders are not limited to domestic abuse situations alone. After all, it's entirely possible that someone you know but are not romantically involved with or even a total stranger could issue threats or perpetrate abuse of some kind. This is "civil harassment" as opposed to domestic violence.

Civil harassment can also take numerous forms, including stalking, criminal threats, sexual assault, or harassment online, via texts, or by telephone. But a "credible threat" to your safety has to exist in the opinion of the court, or else a threat to the safety of a family member. There must be a willful act of the guilty party, which would make any reasonable person fear for his/her safety.

You can seek a civil restraining order against a neighbor, friend, relative (but not immediate or close family member), acquaintance, or a roommate. Note that if you ever dated someone, then you would have to get a domestic violence restraining order against that person instead.

Elder Abuse & Workplace Violence Restraining Orders

Those 65 and older, along with dependent adults, can still file domestic violence or civil harassment restraining orders just like anyone else. However, there is also a special elder abuse restraining order that is designed for this type of situation and may help the elderly get more help and protection overall throughout the process. Those between 18 and 64 who are dependent for basic care on others and those 65 and above can apply for this type of protective order.

If you are harassed in the workplace in a way that qualifies for a civil harassment or domestic violence protective order, you can file either of those. However, employers can also file what is known as a "workplace violence restraining order" to protect their employee who is being stalked, threatened, or harassed. This is commonly done when an incident occurs on the work site or if the employer fears the offender may show up at the work place to commit violence.

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What Happens If the Restrained Person Violates the Protective Order?

California law is very strict about the enforcement of all restraining orders, and to violate a restraining order is a criminal offense. Those who refuse to follow a protective order can be arrested and face misdemeanor or felony charges. Or, they might just face a contempt of court charge for lesser violations.

Family Code Sections 6250 & 6350 establish the grounds and provisions of emergency and other restraining orders in California. Common violations of these statutes and the corresponding court orders include:

  • Illegal contact made with the protected person, whether at home, at work, or anywhere else. Contact by phone, email, text, letter, or in person are all generally forbidden for the duration of the order.
  • Illegally contacting, going on an excursion with, kidnapping, or hiding a minor child included under the protective order. Kidnapping or similar violations would be a felony.
  • Crossing state lines with an intention to violate the restraining order is a federal offense, violating the Violence Against Women Act.
  • Continuing to possess a firearm after losing that right (temporarily) upon the issuance of the protective order.
  • Stalking, threatening, or otherwise harassing the protected person.

Under PC 273.6, violating a protective order is normally a misdemeanor, punishable by 12 months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If physical injury was inflicted on the victim in violation of the order, however, or if there are other aggravating factors, ignoring a restraining order can be a felony and can subject you to much higher fines and to significant prison time.

Police will be alerted of their responsibility to enforce the protective order and will be on the lookout for potential violations. If you report a violation, the fact of it would have to be established before the violator could be punished for it - but it would immediately create a new charge against the perpetrator, on top of any domestic violence or civil harassment allegation.

Why Choose Restraining Order Attorney?

Unfortunately, domestic violence crimes and to a lesser extent civil harassment crimes are so common in California these days that law firms specializing in assisting people with restraining orders and related matters are also quite common. However, the quality of service and level of expertise of these law firms vary greatly.

Restraining Order Attorney has operated for many years in Los Angeles and has established strong local ties across a wide swathe of Southern California communities. We have earned a sterling reputation the slow, hard way - by consistently winning for our clients, one by one.

We take the time to analyze your case and to guide you step by step through the process of filing for a restraining order. We know how to maximize your chances of getting it approved and how to include in it the maximum amount of benefits and protections. And our familiarity with the details of state law and the complexities of local courtroom procedures puts in an ideal position to get your petition for a protective order filed and approved in the absolute minimum amount of time required.

Effects of a Restraining Order in California

There are many ways in which a restraining order impacts the restrained person and helps to protect the person who filed for the order. Of course, it varies from instance to instance what's included in the order, but here are some common elements:

  • Forbids the restrained person make any contact with the victim or with his/her family/household.
  • Forbids coming near the person being protected or near his/her children or those who live with him/her. The exact distance may vary, but this applies regardless of whether the protected person is at home, at work, shopping, or anywhere else.
  • The person restrained by the order must not show up at the protected person's work place, school, or his/her child's school.
  • Anyone under a restraining order is not allowed to possess a firearm until the order is lifted, which can sometimes be from 3 to 5 years. Very rarely, it could even be for life.

Since there is a state wide data bank accessible to police showing who has a restraining order against him or her, and since local law enforcement are directly instructed concerning the order, there isn't much chance of a restraining order being violated with impunity. Plus, any violations the protected person or some other witness is aware of can be reported to police.

For the person against whom a restraining order is filed, life can be greatly disrupted. There will be a separation from family in the case of domestic violence protective orders. And there will be a restriction on where you can go and on gun ownership. Plus, there can be potential negative immigration consequences for immigrants against who a restraining order is issued. This is why not only those wishing to get an order in place but also those responding to an order or an attempt at getting an order against them, should seek expert legal counsel.

Is There a Statute of Limitations on a Restraining Order?

There is not statute of limitations or "time limit" to file a restraining/protective order in California. That said, there may be statutes of limitations to the underlying offenses that would prompt a petition for such an order and help convince the judge to approve your request. Plus, the longer one waits after the incident in question, the more difficult it will be to gather sufficient evidence, find witnesses, and convince police and a county court judge to act on your request for a restraining order.

There are some special circumstances where approval for a restraining order based on a long ago incident or threat might be more likely, however. These include if someone appears to be taking steps towards making good on a criminal threat made months or even over a year ago, if there seem to be innuendos or body language that are indicating a "half veiled" threat, or if a past abuser just got out of jail/prison and he/she had made a threat to "get even" years earlier after the conviction.

The general point is that, while restraining order are usually issued immediately or very soon after a relevant incident occurs, it is possible (and sometimes happens) that they could be approved much later, given the right set of circumstances.