A domestic violence restraining order prevents future instances of violence or threatened violence from occurring by placing certain restrictions on your abuser. The person named in it may be prohibited from contacting you; going near your home, work, or children’s school; and possessing a firearm, among other things.
The restraining order can provide relief from harm or fear of harm for the period it’s in effect. Generally, a permanent restraining order will only last for a few years. Once it ends, you are no longer under protection. Regardless of the amount of time that has passed, your abuser may still pose a threat to you. Having an end date on your restraining order might not be in your best interests.
Fortunately, in California, you can seek to extend your restraining order, allowing you to be protected for a longer period. Depending on your situation, a judge can approve a renewal of your restraining order for a certain number of years or indefinitely.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence involves acts of harm or threatened harm against a family or household member. A wide range of conduct may be considered abuse, including causing physical injury, committing sexual assault, causing someone to fear imminent bodily harm, stalking, or threatening.
The acts are designated as domestic violence when they are directed at a:
- Spouse or former spouse,
- Current or former significant other,
- Current or former dating partner,
- Grandchild, or
To seek protection from your abuser, you likely sought an initial restraining order from the court.
How Long Does a Restraining Order Last?
In a domestic violence case, several types of restraining orders are available: emergency protective orders (EPO), temporary restraining orders (TRO), and permanent restraining orders. Law enforcement officers request EPOs after responding to a domestic violence call. The EPO is effective for 7 days.
The court may issue a TRO if the judge believes that you are in immediate danger of harm. This type of order remains in effect until your hearing for a permanent restraining order – typically 20 to 25 days.
A permanent restraining order is a long-term order of protection. It can last up to five years. The exact end date of yours can be found on the first page of your Order of Protection form.
What If My Abuser Still Needs to Be Restrained?
If the court issued an EPO, and you need protection for longer than 7 days, you could ask for a TRO. If you have a TRO, you can ask the court for a permanent restraining order.
To have the end date of a permanent restraining order extended, you must submit an application with the court before your current order expires. Generally, your request must be made three months before the order ends.
As with your initial request for a permanent restraining order, you must attend a hearing to have your current order renewed. Failure to go to the hearing will result in your current order expiring, meaning you will no longer be protected.
You must also have the restrained person served with a copy of your renewal request, so they know when the hearing date is. Service must be done by a person 18 years of age or older who is not protected under the restraining order you are renewing.
At the hearing, you must tell the judge that you still fear being harmed by your abuser. However, you do not have to show that you have actually suffered abuse. It is important while your current order is in effect that you document any instances of the restrained person disobeying the current order. You can present this information as evidence to the judge.
Note that the person restrained will also have a chance to present their case and argue that the permanent restraining order should be lifted.
The judge will consider all information presented in your case to determine whether to approve your renewal request. If they grant an extension of your current order, they will also decide on a new end date. Depending on the situation, your order could be extended for up to 5 years or permanently.
Get the Legal Counsel You Need
Ensuring that you and your family are protected from violence is important. At Claery & Hammond, LLP, we can help apply for an initial restraining order or renew a current one.
For assistance from our Los Angeles team, please call us at (310) 817-6904 or contact us online today.