How Domestic Violence & Restraining Orders In CA Work

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence & restraining orders In CA are common occurrences nowadays. Domestic violence also called domestic abuse or intimate partner violence is any behavior in a relationship that is used to gain or maintain any form of control or power over a family member or an intimate partner. 

When people hear the word violence, some of them may think of only physical abuse. However, domestic violence can be a lot more than that. It is something that is not only physical but can be emotional, psychological, or sexual.

There are many behaviors one may employ to obtain power over another individual. It can include actions or words that can intimidate, frighten, hurt, or even humiliate someone. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. This may happen to people of any gender, age, or race. 

A child or an adult can both be subject to different forms of domestic abuse. Some cases may be too serious in which certain legal actions may be necessary. It is important to understand how domestic violence & restraining orders in CA work to protect yourself or your loved ones.

Domestic violence is abuse that happens when the alleged victim and abuser are:

  • Married to each other.
  • Domestic partners.
  • Dating or in an intimate relationship with each other. 
  • Members of one household.
  • Have a child or children together.

It is vital to take these factors into consideration to be able to distinguish it from civil harassment. Civil harassment is abuse, any threats of abuse, or sexual assault by anyone who is not in an intimate relationship with you. This kind of harassment can come from neighbors, roommates, or friends you are not dating. 

What Is A Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

A domestic violence restraining order is an order issued by the court in cases when a person experiences abuse or threat from an intimate partner or a member of the family. The conditions in a restraining order may vary but it generally includes terms that will prevent a restrained person from having any contact with a protected person. Contact is defined as: 

  • Physical or personal contact.
  • Any form of interaction on social media platforms.
  • Text messages, phone calls, or emails

Depending on the case, a restraining order may also order a restrained person to do the following:

  • Not get near you, your children, or your family members. 
  • Move out of your home.
  • Obey child custody orders. 
  • Not possess a gun.

There are several types of restraining orders that may be granted. These are emergency protection orders, temporary restraining orders, and permanent restraining orders. Have an experienced attorney in domestic violence & restraining orders in CA by your side to deeply understand when each type of restraining order is necessary and how to request them.  

Emergency Protection Orders

An emergency protection order is issued when a judge believes that there is immediate harm that may come to a person. When a domestic call is made and the police respond to it, they may immediately call a judge and ask for an emergency protection order. This is to prevent any further harm to come to a person or a child who may be exposed to dangers of violence from any member of their family. Family code section 6250 of California law also gives power to a law enforcement officer to issue an emergency protection order if the officer has reasons to believe that there is immediate danger to an individual. 

An emergency protection order gives protection for up to 7 days. This is so you can go to court and request a domestic violence restraining order. This will can be used to immediately remove an abusive family member from home and at the same time grant child custody for the time being. 

Temporary Restraining Orders

Temporary restraining orders are orders that may provide the same restrictions but longer than an emergency protection order. It still depends on the circumstances surrounding the domestic violence case but it usually lasts up to 25 days. 

When a person files for domestic violence & restraining orders in CA, the court might issue the hearing at a later date. A temporary restraining order can provide protection to the victim for the time being. This can also order the restrained person from making any contact with the protected person. It is also possible to make them leave the house and allow you temporary child custody.

Permanent Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

After filing for domestic violence, you will be scheduled to attend a hearing that you may attend in person or remotely. You may be granted by the court a permanent domestic violence restraining order also called a restraining order after the hearing. This type of restraining order can last up to 5 years. 

Generally, if this is issued without a termination date, the order will last up to 3 years from the date of issuance. If the protected person wants to extend the validity of the order, they may do so by making a request from the judge during the last 3 months prior to the order’s expiration. It may be extended to another 5 years or even indefinitely if the judge deems it necessary.  

What Is Domestic Violence & Restraining Orders In CA

California Family Code 6211 defines domestic violence as abuse committed by certain individuals like a current or former spouse, someone you have a child with, a person you are dating, or anyone related to you within the second degree by consanguinity or affinity. CA family codes 6203 and 6320 consider behavior abuse when they do the following:

  • To intentionally or recklessly cause someone physical injury.
  • Sexually assaults an individual.
  • Threatens or harasses a person.
  • Molests a person.
  • Stalking.
  • Destroys a person’s personal property.
  • Other acts that are considered as disturbing someone’s peace.

Being aware of these conditions can help an individual identify abuse and whether there is a need for a domestic violence restraining order. There are different types of restraining orders that can be granted during different phases of a domestic violence case. There is the emergency protection order which may be given immediately after domestic violence is reported. 

In addition that is, the temporary restraining order granted before a hearing, and the permanent restraining order is given after the hearing. A DVRO can prevent further harm from reaching you or any of your family members. Having an experienced lawyer who understands domestic violence & restraining orders in CA can walk you through this process in detail which is an essential part of achieving a more peaceful way of living. 

Who Can File For Domestic Violence & Restraining Orders In CA

A restraining order may be requested for you or your child who is a minor. You may also request an order from a judge if you or any of your children experience any kind of abuse from the following: 

  • A spouse or an ex-spouse.
  • The mother or father of your child or children.
  • The person you have or had an intimate relationship with.
  • A family member, including your in-laws.

A restraining order may be requested as long as terms and conditions are met. A minor who is 12 or older is also allowed to request the order by themselves. However, if the child is under 18, they must send a copy of the restraining order to at least one of their parents or guardian, unless stated otherwise by the judge.  

How To File For Domestic Violence & Restraining Orders In CA

Filing for domestic violence & restraining orders in CA may be done by following several steps. 

  1. Get a request or application – This can be done by going to a courthouse and asking for the forms from a court clerk. The clerk will provide you will all the related forms which you will have to fill out. A request may also be done through the internet.
  2. Fill out the necessary forms – Once a court clerk hands you all the required forms, you must fill them out in order to successfully file for a domestic violence restraining order. The same forms may also be found on the CA court website. 
  3. Issuance of a temporary restraining order – After the submission of the forms, a judge will review them carefully and decide whether to grant your request for a restraining order or not. This can be granted quickly if the court is not a busy one. However, it may be received a bit later in a court that handles a lot of cases.
  4. Get a court hearing date – Once the forms are passed and a temporary restraining order is given, you will also be provided the date for a hearing. The court clerk should write down when and where the hearing will be but it is usually scheduled three weeks later. The temporary restraining order should give you protection from the restrained person while you are waiting for the hearing in court. 
  5. Go to your court hearing – Once the date for the hearing arrives, you are required to appear in front of the judge. This is to give you an opportunity to prove that you or your children are in danger and protection from an abusive family member must be granted to you. If the judge decides it is proper, a permanent restraining order will be granted. You will receive three copies of the forms which will be certified by the court clerk. It is best to bring a lawyer with you to better understand the terms and conditions of domestic violence & restraining orders in CA. 
  6. Give copies to relevant people – After certified copies of the permanent restraining order have been provided to you, it is now time to hand them out to people who need to know the restraining order’s existence. It may be necessary to make even more copies of the order to give out to people like the restrained person, the teacher in charge of your child in school, the front desk, and even the security guard in the place where you work. 

What Happens When A Restraining Order Is Granted

After the hearing and once a judge grants you a restraining order, you need to take all the copies of the forms so they can be certified for you. The court will provide three (3) certified copies that can be used to give to people who need to know about the restraining orders, like the restrained person and the school or institution where your children go. 

In addition to keeping a copy for yourself, it is essential to make several copies of the restraining order since you might have to give it to several individuals or agencies. For the restraining order to be implemented well, some people need to know about it. A copy may be provided to the front desk and security guard in your workplace or even to some people in your neighborhood.

Consequences Of Violating Restraining Orders

If a person has been accused of domestic violence and issued a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO), they must adhere to the conditions that are stated in it. Violation of a restraining order is against the law and can put a restrained person in deep trouble. What exactly happens to a restrained person violating the DVRO?

Laws related to domestic violence & restraining orders in CA identify this violation as a misdemeanor and the violator can be fined up to a thousand dollars or given jail time for up to a year, or both. In deciding what punishment to give, a court will take into consideration the following factors: 

  • Whether the protected person/victim suffered any form of injuries.
  • The number of violations the restrained person has committed.

If the restrained person ignores the restraining order and continues to violate what is stated in it, which leads to the protected person suffering injuries, they will be convicted of a felony. The violater can be charged with more serious punishment and may have to:

  • Pay fines and penalties.
  • Serve up to a year in county jail.
  • Take mandatory counseling.
  • Pay for the victim’s counseling or medical services.
  • Lose their right to possess guns.

There are serious legislations for domestic violence & restraining orders in CA. It is important that both parties deeply understand the terms and conditions to avoid further conflicts and disagreements. 

What Happens When Domestic Violence & Restraining Orders In CA Are Not Granted

There may be situations when a court does not grant you a restraining order. This may be caused by some factors like the possibility of a judge making an error of law. This kind of situation may be unusual but Domestic violence & restraining orders in CA can be complex matters because of the many things that need to be considered like the proof of abuse and the relationship between the victim and the abuser. If this happens, it is best to consult with a lawyer and ask for the possibility of an appeal. 

The appeal process may become complicated and the time given for an appeal can be limited. This is one of the reasons why it is vital to seek the assistance of a professional who is experienced in matters related to domestic violence & restraining orders in CA.

The court may also refuse to grant you a domestic violence restraining order because of the nature of your relationship with the abuser. It is deemed not intimate when you are neither a spouse, a family member, nor someone with a close enough relationship with the accused. If this is the case, you can file for a civil harassment order and find protection that way.

 A civil harassment restraining order is an order that helps protect people who have experienced abuse, threats, or harassment from individuals not considered intimate with them. For example, a neighbor, a friend you’re not dating, or someone with no close relationship with you. 

Find A Lawyer Who Can Help

Going through domestic violence can be a horrifying experience for anyone and it is important that a victim clearly understands their rights. Several factors like false allegations can greatly define the process and the result of a domestic violence case. The abuse can be serious enough to require domestic violence restraining orders that will protect the victim from any forms of abuse. It is important to have a better understanding of how domestic violence & restraining orders in CA work. 

In California, a domestic violence restraining order or DVRO can be obtained in Family court. This is different from a DVRO acquired from a criminal court because the threshold for obtaining the restraining order is lower in Family court. 

Moore Family Law Group has a legal team of professionals who have experience in dealing with such legal issues. The firm understands that it is important to be vigilant when facing such situations to make sure that one is not unfairly disadvantaged. Moore Family Law Group considers both a person’s physical and emotional well-being. Protect yourself and speak with a lawyer immediately for concerns related to domestic violence.

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