If an individual has reasons to believe that another person's behavior is putting them at risk of bodily harm, that individual may request a California court to restrain the other person's behavior by limiting what the other party can and cannot do. This procedure is called a restraining order and can be a vital tool in domestic violence cases as well as in civil harassment cases. But what are the steps to obtain a restraining order if you live in Los Angeles County, and why should you speak to an attorney? Get the facts and see how an attorney can help you.
In California, there are four main types of restraining orders. The type of restraining order a victim can file depends on their relationship with the alleged abuser. If the victim and the abuser are married, divorced, separated, dating (or used to date), have children together, live or used to live together, or are closely related (a parent, sibling, child, or close family member), then the victim may file for a domestic violence restraining order.
If the victim and the abuser do not have a qualifying relationship as described above, but the victim has been the target of violence or credible threats of violence, they may file for a civil harassment restraining order. This type of order can apply to anyone who is not in a close relationship with the protected person.
Other less common types of restraining orders include elder abuse restraining orders and workplace violence restraining orders. An elder abuse restraining order can be requested for the protection of an elderly person who has been the target of physical abuse, financial abuse, abandonment, or neglect. A workplace violence restraining order can be requested by employers on behalf of an employee who has been a target of violence, threats of violence, stalking, or severe harassment at the workplace.
Restraining orders can have different levels of restrictions dictating how much contact the defendant can have with the protected party. Restraining orders can vary from full stay-away, no-contact orders, which require the defendant to maintain a set distance from the protected party at all times and cut off all communication, to peaceful contact orders, which allow the defendant to maintain contact with the protected party but prohibits the defendant from engaging in any violent or threatening behavior, or issuing threats through a third party.
In some cases involving civil harassment and, most commonly, domestic violence, the victim may obtain immediate protection through emergency restraining orders or temporary restraining orders. For example, if a domestic violence victim calls 911 and an officer responds to the call, the officer may ask the judge to issue an emergency restraining order to give the victim protection in order to allow them to go to court and request a temporary order. An emergency order typically lasts for not more than seven days.
A temporary restraining order allows a domestic violence victim to obtain protection right away instead of putting themselves at risk and exposing themselves to their abuser while waiting for a court hearing to obtain a permanent restraining order. If the victim believes they are at risk, they may request the court to grant them a temporary order at the time when they file for their permanent orders. A temporary restraining order lasts for about 15 days or until the victim's court hearing date and does not require the alleged abuser to be present in court.
Obtaining a temporary domestic violence restraining order is one of the first steps for a victim to be granted a permanent restraining order protecting them from their abuser. The process to request a permanent restraining order in a domestic violence case is to visit your local court clerk and request all the necessary forms, fill them out, and take them to the court. An attorney can assist you by helping you make sure your forms are completed correctly and that requesting a domestic violence restraining order is the right choice for your case.
Once you turn in your paperwork to the court, you may obtain a temporary restraining order if you requested one. The next step is to attend a court hearing, which usually happens a couple of weeks after your initial application for a restraining order. The person you are seeking protection against will also be required to attend the hearing. At the end of the hearing, the judge will make a decision and may issue a permanent restraining order for a maximum of five years.
If you are looking to obtain a restraining order for a domestic violence case or need help contesting a restraining order that has been issued against you, it may be in your best interest to consult an attorney to discuss your case. Both parties in a restraining order may request the court to modify it and make it more or less lenient, extend it past the five-year mark, or cancel it before it is set to expire.
The attorneys at the Hurwitz Law Group have extensive knowledge of all types of restraining orders available in Los Angeles County and can assist you with the steps required to obtain, extend, or modify a restraining order. We can also provide you with quality legal advice to help you deal with any challenges a restraining order may bring concerning child custody and visitation arrangements. Contact our law firm by calling 323-310-9677 and requesting a free initial consultation to discuss your case and see how we can help you.