Answers to Common Questions about Restraining Orders
Below, we’ve prepared some answers to a few common questions about restraining orders that we often hear from our clients and the general public. Take some time to review these questions and see if yours is included below.
What Is a Restraining Order & What Does It Do?
Also called an “order of protection,” a restraining order is court order that legally protects someone from physical or sexual abuse, threats, stalking, and harassment.
When a restraining order is in place against someone, that individual (the “restrained person”) is forbidden from engaging in the aforementioned behaviors. It can also prohibit the restrained person from coming within a certain distance of the protected person or their children, relatives, home, workplace, vehicle, etc.
Are There Different Kinds of Restraining Orders?
In domestic violence situations, there are four types of restraining orders that are used:
- Emergency Protective Order – This order is used to provide domestic violence victims with immediate protection from their abusers. It only lasts for seven calendar days.
- Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order – This is a restraining order that protects domestic violence victims for 21 days. It can be converted to a permanent restraining order lasting 1-3 years.
- Criminal Protective Order – Also known as a “no contact” order, this can be issued in domestic violence cases. It prevents an abuser from calling, writing, emailing, or contacting the protected person by any other means.
- Civil Harassment Restraining Order – This restraining order is often used to stop threatening behavior that may include verbal threats, stalking, and other forms of harassment from coworkers, neighbors, roommates, and other individuals.
Who Can I Get a Restraining Order Against?
You can get a restraining order against anyone, including a spouse, other relatives, neighbors, coworkers, roommates, etc. As long as you can prove that the order is necessary, anyone who is harming or threatening you can be subjected to a restraining order.
What Happens When Someone Violates a Restraining Order?
Violating a restraining order is a crime in California that may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon an incident’s unique circumstances.
If a violation is charged as a misdemeanor, the maximum possible sentence can include up to a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. If a restraining order violation is charged as a felony, a conviction can mean serving up to three years in prison and paying up to $10,000 in fines.
Repeat violations of a restraining order are more harshly punished.
How Do I Get a Restraining Order against Someone?
If you wish to get a restraining order against someone, you must prove by a preponderance of the evidence (more than 50% likely) that you were harmed by someone else’s abusive behavior and that more or greater harm if the behavior is allowed to continue.
If you wish to apply for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, it’s advisable to seek legal counsel from an attorney first. Attempting to handle this on your own leaves room for errors that a skilled attorney knows how to avoid. This individual can guide you through the application process represent your interests during a hearing, which can be crucial if your abuser has hired their own attorney.
At Claery & Hammond, LLP, we can help domestic abuser victims get the legal help they need to stop their abusers’ behavior. You’ve put up with enough for long enough – if you’d like to learn more about how we can help, reach out to us today to schedule a consultation.