Whenever an individual has reasons to believe their well-being and physical safety may be at risk due to the threats or abusive behavior of another party, they may ask the court for protection by filing for a restraining order. If you are considering taking this step to protect yourself from an abuser, it is important to know how restraining orders work in California and why working with an attorney may be in your best interest. The Hurwitz Law Group helps clients in Beverly Hills and surrounding areas with all restraining order matters. Contact us at 323-310-9677.
An emergency restraining order is most commonly issued in domestic violence cases, usually when law enforcement responds to a victim's call concerning a domestic violence situation at home. It provides the victim with immediate protection from the alleged abuser and usually requires the abuser to leave the home. It may also limit their ability to contact the victim or their children or even be present within a certain distance of the protected party.
Emergency restraining orders can be obtained quickly if there is enough evidence of a credible threat or a history of abuse against the protected party. Emergency orders usually last for a maximum of seven days and are meant to provide the protected person with some physical separation from the abuser and the opportunity to continue the process required to obtain a permanent restraining order.
Once the emergency protective order is in place, the protected person may go to court and file for a temporary restraining order. This type of restraining order is also referred to as an ex parte order, and it extends the protection to the victim until their court hearing date. It is usually valid from the date when it is filed in court (or sometimes the next day), and it ends on the date when both parties in the restraining order should appear for a court hearing, which typically takes place in about 15 days from the filing date.
Both the alleged abuser and the victim should appear for the court hearing. During the hearing, each side will have an opportunity to present their side of the story. The judge will then decide whether to end the protection order or issue a permanent restraining order. If a permanent order is issued, it will typically last for a maximum of five years.
If you are being targeted by someone other than a spouse, dating partner, or close family member, you may still file for a restraining order. However, you may need to file for a type of order called a Civil Harassment restraining order.
This type of restraining order may offer protection from stalking, harassment, and physical and emotional abuse from another party who is not closely related to the victim, such as a roommate, friend, neighbor, or distant relative. It is worth noting that while a civil harassment restraining order can prohibit an abuser from approaching or communicating with the victim, it is a bit more limited than a domestic violence restraining order in the sense that it may require a higher burden of evidence on the part of the victim and it cannot grant the victim the removal of the abuser from a home they may share.
Most commonly, permanent restraining orders may require the restrained party to move out, stay away from, and have no contact with the protected party. In some cases, such as a domestic violence situation, the protected party in a temporary or emergency protective order may come forward and request that their restraining order be downgraded from a no-contact order to a peaceful contact order. That means instead of cutting off all communications with the alleged abuser, the protected party may still be in the presence of the other person, but that individual is limited as far as what they can and cannot do.
If a peaceful contact order is in place, the restrained person cannot verbally or physically abuse the protected party in any way. The order may also prohibit them from destroying property and behaving in an aggressive or disruptive manner. These limitations may also be applicable to children and any other members of the household. This type of restraining order can be an option when the protected party does not wish to cut off all contact with the restrained party but still fears for their safety and wants court protection to stop the other person's abusive or violent behavior.
If you need to file a restraining order, you are not required to hire an attorney, but it may be in your best interest to do so. While you are under the threat of violence or abuse, it may be hard to think clearly and take the right steps to complete the necessary steps and fill out the court forms to obtain your temporary orders. By working with an experienced restraining order attorney, you can avoid common mistakes that can slow down the restraining order process and can also receive legal support to build a stronger case and show the court you have credible reasons to receive a permanent protection order.
The Hurwitz Law Group can assist you in the process of obtaining a restraining order in Beverly Hills and surrounding areas. If you need legal assistance or just have questions, contact our legal team at 323-310-9677.