When a person claims to be in imminent danger of attack, the court has the authority to impose restraining orders, commonly referred to as protection or no-contact orders. It is important not to dismiss the temporary restraining order, even though it may be temporary. Breaking a restraining order could result in serious consequences, including arrest, jail time, and potential criminal charges.
A restraining order may require you to leave your home and prohibit any contact with specific individuals, including your children. Even if you believe the allegations are unfounded or the order was unjustly issued, it is crucial to comply with the conditions of the order. If a restraining order has been issued against you, the Desert Defense Lawyers can assist you in understanding the terms of the order and providing the necessary assistance. Our team of legal experts in Palm Desert is also available to help you contest a restraining order if necessary.
Different Kinds Of Restraining Orders
The court has the authority to issue and enforce a variety of restraining orders. The following are examples of restraining orders:
Temporary Restraining Orders
The court can first issue a temporary protective order that will be in effect for a few days. Normally, the court issues a temporary restraining order depending on the claims made by the victim without having a court hearing. The judicial system also serves the offender with notice and an opportunity to respond to the allegations. Temporary restraining orders last 20–25 days and are meant to protect until the victim's case is heard in court.
Permanent Restraining Orders
This type of restraining order isn't fully permanent since it lapses within 3 to 5 years. Additionally, given the consequences, the court will need evidence that the offender poses an imminent threat to the alleged victim and warrants legal restraint.
The court hearing serves as an ideal venue for the alleged victims to bring in their witnesses, such as members of their family or friends who might have witnessed the alleged abuse. If the victim talked to a medical professional, they could provide a trail of proof. The evidence reveals a pattern of behavior by the perpetrator. Communication from the abuser can serve as proof itself.
Emails, threatening voicemails, and messages sent via text can all be considered evidence. A permanent protective order can be obtained if the alleged victim has sufficient evidence.
Emergency Protective Orders (EPO)
An EPO normally lasts for a week. This type of restraining order will often be issued when there is an impending and serious threat of violence. Domestic violence cases often demand emergency protective orders. Law enforcement officers frequently request emergency protective orders. Therefore, the victim needs to contact law enforcement to get one. As a result, victims should act swiftly to get an EPO, regardless of the time.
When a court grants an emergency protection order, it takes effect immediately. If the victim and abuser reside together, the abuser will be required to vacate the premises and find a different place to live.
Other Kinds of Restraining Orders
The following are some more common kinds of protective orders under California law:
Restraining Order Against Workplace Violence
The court can grant this restraining order if the victim receives threats at work or has an angry client who uses frightening verbal abuse. If the individual issuing the threats goes forward and finds the whereabouts of the alleged victim, the victim has reason to be concerned that the threat of violence is real.
Only if their employers request it can victims obtain workplace restraining orders. Employees are not permitted to seek this type of directive on their own. They are required to notify their employers about the accused abuser. Victims must communicate their valid concerns to their employers so that they can be assisted.
Restraining Order Against Civil Harassment
This order is similar to a domestic violence protective order in many ways. The main difference is the nature of the relationship between the perpetrator and the protected individual. Relationships that are not close enough to be considered domestic are eligible for this kind of order.
For instance, a victim might find themselves involved in a disagreement with their neighbor and attempt to have a conversation about the matter. However, the neighbor takes the approach of issuing threats to the victim. This includes acting menacingly, such as by shouting at them during their morning commute or engaging in other intimidating behavior, which creates a potential threat of violence. In this situation, the victim may be able to obtain a restraining order against the troublesome neighbor.
A victim of stalking might also ask for a restraining order. However, if the alleged stalker is a former spouse, the restraining order could be considered domestic violence. Stalking carried out by a person outside of their immediate family is considered civil harassment.
Restraining Order Against Elder Abuse
This type of protective order protects those over the age of 65, given that the community continues to file countless incidents of elder abuse. In this situation, the abuser can be someone younger, as long as they're over the age of 18. When a court imposes an order for elder abuse, it also assumes that the abused victim is either incapacitated or unable to protect themselves. Since elder abuse isn't limited to physical aggression, this order takes into account more than just the physical abuse of the elderly.
Any caregiver who denies the elderly necessities such as food and medicine is considered an abuser. Torment can also be defined as depriving a widower of the right to display an image of his or her deceased partner on a window frame.
Restraining Order Against Domestic Violence
Once the victim's close or personal relationship with the alleged abuser has been established, the court can issue a protective order against domestic violence. Close relationships are defined by the law to include intimate partners and other members of the family. The term "close relationship" also refers to former romantic relationships, including same-sex marriages.
Domestic violence does not require you to live in the same house as the alleged victim. Furthermore, domestic violence isn't limited to spouses. It can also be directed against other relatives or in-laws. The following acts of domestic abuse will be considered in violation of this restraining order:
- Direct physical aggression.
- Credible threats of violence.
An ex-spouse who threatens the victim can be found guilty of the act. A spouse can qualify for a domestic violence protective order based on their actions and statements.
For a protective order to be granted, the victim has to submit compelling evidence. For instance, if the victim was physically assaulted, he or she will require medical care to keep a record of the injuries. Taking images of the physical injuries or damage caused could also be used as proof. The alleged victim could also ask for the testimony of those who witnessed the abuse. In most cases, California will not charge the $395 required to issue domestic violence orders.
What To Do If A Restraining Order Is Filed Against You
If you're issued a protective order, don't argue or get aggressive with police officers. Frequently, law enforcement will serve you a court order without understanding the charges against you. If you challenge the law enforcement officers, you could risk being arrested, exacerbating the situation.
Violating a court-ordered restraining order to force the victim to take down the protective order could result in witness tampering allegations, especially if you're already facing criminal charges. However, if someone seeks a protective order against you, you should act swiftly. The court can only allow you a couple of days to submit your response documents as well as prepare for trial.
When a protective order is filed against you, you need to comply with the following:
Make Sure You Understand And Comply With The Restraining Order
You must read and comprehend any restraining order you've been issued so that you don't violate it. Contesting a permanent order can be challenging if you defy a temporary one. Here are some reasons why you ought to go over the complete order:
- It is important to be aware of your legal rights. For instance, you are entitled to receive notice of court hearings, have an attorney present, and submit evidence.
- Learn about the charges filed against you, as well as any proof the alleged victim holds.
- Determine the day and time of the court hearing, as well as the deadline for filing your response.
Just because you have a right to one doesn't mean the court will automatically assign you a lawyer. Since protection orders are considered civil affairs, you will not be entitled to legal representation by the state or the court.
Seek the Legal Assistance of a Lawyer
If you believe that you don't require the services of a lawyer, you have the option to represent yourself. In certain cases, individuals can choose to represent themselves when challenging restraining orders in court. If you have the necessary skills, you can challenge a restraining order. Without the assistance of a lawyer, you can successfully contest your orders in court or through a settlement.
All you have to do is learn how to do the basic tasks on your own and know when to get legal help for certain parts of your case. By gathering your evidence, getting ready for your presentation, and adhering to certain courtroom rules, you can convince the presiding judge.
However, it's recommended that you seek the advice of a restraining order or family law counsel. A legal professional is well-versed in protection orders and has relevant experience. Furthermore, since restraining order proceedings sometimes take unexpected turns, you require legal representation.
Your lawyer will study the restraining order and look over all the allegations and supporting documentation. Additionally, the lawyer will draft your defense and appear on your behalf in court.
Gather and Organize Documents or Evidence
The following actions can be taken, either by you or with the aid of a lawyer:
- Compile a list of potential witnesses, including anyone you believe could have knowledge of the situation, the charges, or the alleged victim in question, and obtain the contact details of the witnesses.
- Gather all relevant records and papers for the case, such as letters, emails, GPS and phone records, computer records, receipts, and records indicating your whereabouts at the time of this event.
- Gather any tangible evidence, such as films, pictures, and clothes, that pertains to any abuse incidents or events the alleged victim mentions.
Before the court imposes the permanent restraining order, the victim has to submit evidence to support their claims. Usually, the victim can do so based on the overwhelming amount of evidence. On the other hand, your evidence might refute or invalidate the victim's claims. For instance, you could argue that you were not in town or attending a music festival when the alleged assault occurred.
Your phone records can dispute the petitioner's claims if they claim you sent threatening messages or made numerous threat-filled phone calls. Similarly, GPS records can be used to challenge the petitioner's claims that you drove past their residence. You need this information to challenge a restraining order.
Show Up for the Hearing
You should show up for the court-ordered hearing. However, if you don't, the court will impose a permanent protection order against you. A permanent order typically has more limitations and requirements than a temporary order. Permanent orders can:
- Issue family pet custody and care instructions.
- Forbid the respondent from owning a firearm.
- Allow the petitioner to have temporary control over the house and vehicles.
- Direct that you cover the petitioner's utility expenses, child support, and mortgage or rent payment.
- Establish temporary rights for child custody and visitation.
At the court hearing, you will have the option to present your case to the judge. You can present the evidence to the court and cross-examine the petitioner regarding the allegations. You should adhere to the general regulations of the court and arrive on time. General guidelines include using the phrase "your honor" when addressing the magistrate and remaining silent unless permitted to speak.
Refrain From Speaking With The Petitioner Or The Witnesses
Even seemingly innocent interactions between the witnesses and the petitioner could potentially lead to accusations of witness tampering. Obstructing a witness's testimony or cooperation in a protection order case is illegal. Attempting to coerce or threaten a witness involves trying to compel them to perform any of the following actions:
- Comply with your requests.
- Refuse to give testimony.
- Destroy or change the evidence that exists.
- Lie or make certain statements under oath.
Additionally, you could get charged if you carry out any of the following actions:
- Block a key witness from appearing in a court proceeding, such as a court hearing or deposition.
- Issue threats against the loved ones or family of the witness.
- Threaten to harm someone's property or use physical force against a witness.
- Bribe a witness with money, material things, or other perks.
In restraining order proceedings, it is illegal for anyone to willfully influence a witness's account by any means.
Don't Destroy the Proof
Tampering, destroying, or hiding tangible proof in a protection order case is illegal when done to influence the outcome of an investigation or court case. It is against federal and state law to destroy any evidence that is part of a restraining order. The prosecution has to show that you knew that the evidence that you destroyed might be used as proof in a current or upcoming case for you to be found guilty of destroying evidence. If the prosecution can demonstrate that you had the intention of obstructing their investigation, you could also be found guilty of compromising the evidence.
Enforcement of California Restraining Orders
Since restraining orders are court-issued, both judges and law enforcement officials are responsible for enforcing them. If a restraining order is violated, the law enforcement department is likely to be informed right away. In addition to witness interviews, law enforcement will look for evidence of the infringement through voicemails, emails, and texts. If the claimed victim had physical injuries, pictures or medical documents can be presented as proof.
Consequences of a Restraining Order Violation
Failing to comply with the terms of a California restraining order can result in hefty fines or serving time behind bars. A first violation is punishable by up to one year behind bars and a hefty fine not exceeding $1,000. If there is any injury sustained, the fine is doubled to $2,000 with not less than 30 days behind bars. For repeat offenders, the penalty is a fine of two thousand dollars and a jail sentence ranging from 6 months to a year.
The consequences of violating a California protection order are harsh. If you have been charged or suspected of violating a California restraining order, consult with an experienced attorney about the specifics of your case and legal rights.
Find A Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me
It is crucial that you or someone you know who is the subject of a restraining order seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer. A lawyer can help defend you if you are accused of violating a restraining order. We at Desert Defense Lawyers in Palm Desert understand the California justice system and can help you navigate all issues regarding restraining orders. Get in touch with us at 888-293-0396 to discuss your issue.