Restraining orders in California
The cop banged on your door so forcefully you can still hear your windows rattling. The details of the visit are still blurry. Now you're left with a stack of papers that say “restraining order” on top, and you don't know what to do.
What to do if you receive a restraining or protective order.
If someone has served you with notice that there is a restraining order against you, the first thing to do is to follow the order. If you have any questions about what you have been ordered to do or stop doing, contact a lawyer before taking any action that may be covered in the order. Don't risk doing anything that will get you in trouble with the court, as that will make it harder to convince a judge that the restraining order is unnecessary.
California criminal defense lawyer William S. Kroger handles restraining orders and can help explain what your options are. He may be able to fight the restraining order or keep its restrictions from becoming permanent. Kroger Law Group today at 323-655-5700 or go to our contact page to send us a message right now.
Important terms used in restraining order cases
The term “restraining order” in California is a general term that describes a category of court orders that protect one party from the actions of another party. That's why most states call it a protective order.
The person who asks for the restraining order is the petitioner. Usually, the petitioner is also a protected person in the order, but they do not have to be. For example, in workplace violence restraining orders, the employer is the one who files to protect an employee when violence happens in the workplace.
If someone is seeking a restraining order against you, in court you would be known as the target of the order or the respondent.
Some restraining orders in California are issued without notice to you, the respondent. These are known as ex parte orders because they are made without hearing from both sides of the issue.
What kind of lawyers handle restraining orders in California?
Restraining orders vary by time period and by the types of conduct they govern. Sometimes orders are granted as part of other criminal charges like assault, stalking, or harassment. Domestic violence cases often have restraining orders attached. That's why criminal defense attorneys routinely handle restraining orders in criminal court.
Other restraining orders may be issued as part of a family court case, like a divorce or child custody dispute. Or there may be a civil restraining order as part of a lawsuit. In those cases, the best place to turn may be an attorney who practices in the court that issued the order. One of the reasons firms like the Kroger Law Group have free, confidential consultations is so we can help you figure out the kind of attorney you need before you commit. We're here to help guide you in the right direction, even if it's to another lawyer.
What kind of restraining orders are there?
Emergency Protective Orders (EPO)
Police can request emergency protective orders by calling a judge if they believe a person is in danger of being hurt by another. A judge can grant the EPO for up to 7 days. This gives the petitioner time to request a temporary or permanent order. The emergency order takes effect immediately, and an officer will inform the target of the order if they are on the scene when the order is granted.
Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO)
Temporary restraining orders can be granted if a judge determines that the target of the order is harassing the petitioner. The judge usually makes this decision based on the allegation of the petitioner.
Because the TRO is issued without hearing from the target of the order, it does not last for a long time. In California, TROs are usually issued for 2 or 3 weeks. At the end of the TRO time period, the court will hold a hearing where both the petitioner and the respondent can be present. At this time, the court will decide if a permanent restraining order will be issued.
Permanent Restraining Orders (PRO)
Permanent restraining orders are issued if a judge determines that the petitioner needs extended protection. They are only granted if the respondent has been given notice of the hearing and an opportunity to respond. You can have a permanent restraining order issued against you if you fail to show up to court, and they can last up to three years.
There are different requirements to get a restraining order depending on which law is being used to seek it. Generally, the law used to request a restraining order depends on the relationship between the petitioner and the target of the order. There are five main types of restraining orders in California:
- Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
- Civil Harassment Restraining Orders
- Elder or Dependent Adult Restraining Orders
- Workplace Violence Restraining Orders
- Gun Violence Restraining Orders
A California restraining order lawyer can help you develop a defense that is tailored to the specific type of restraining order being sought against you.
What can a restraining order keep me from doing?
The once the judge determines that someone needs protection from a respondent, the law gives the judge great power over the respondent's actions.
Personal conduct orders require you to act in a certain way or stop doing certain acts. This may include:
- To pay child support or certain bills
- To return or release certain property
- To turn in or sell guns and ammunition
Stay away orders require you to stay outside of a certain distance from a person or place. This could mean staying 100 yards away from a person or their place of employment. It could also prohibit you from going to certain places they are known to frequent. In one case, a restraining order was sought to keep someone from going to the yoga studio favored by her ex-partner. Restraining orders are also requested to prevent contact through social media, email, and other digital communication.
Residence exclusion orders require you to move out of the home where the protected person is living. When these orders are requested, they often involve intimate partner disputes. But they can also be requested and granted against roommates, adult children, and other relatives living in the home.
What to do if someone seeks a California restraining order against you
Often you find out that someone sought a restraining order when you are served with a temporary restraining order. The first thing you should do is read the order. Follow every single restraint in the order. If you have been ordered to stay away from someone, do not contact them. Violating a restraining order has serious consequences and may lead to a new criminal charge.
If you want to oppose your restraining order or if you have questions about what it means, contact a California restraining order attorney. William S. Kroger is an experienced criminal defense attorney who has handled many restraining order cases. He can help guide you through the process, defend yourself, and make sure you know what the judge has ordered.
How can a California restraining order lawyer help me?
Though protective orders are needed to protect some victims from abuse, the law can also be used as a tool by abusive or vindictive people to control and disrupt someone's life. Often petitioners seek overly broad restrictions that would prevent you from going about your normal life. Or the restrictions could be written in a way that makes it almost impossible to determine what is allowed and what is not. Judges know this, and a restraining order lawyer can help you show if the order against you is unfair or overbroad.
Even if a temporary restraining order has already been issued, you have an opportunity to defend yourself before a permanent restraining order is granted. At the hearing, you can
- give a written response to the allegations in the petition;
- challenge the restraining order by showing it is not supported by law or facts, and
- assert your rights that would be violated by the order, like child custody and visitation.
It is important to remember that anything you do in court can be used against you when the judge decides your case. That's why it can be risky to defend yourself, especially if you need to cross-examine the petitioner.
Your best strategy may be to hire a California restraining order attorney to ask the tough questions for you. The experienced defense team at the Kroger Law Group knows what it takes to win when fighting a restraining order.
Don't get trapped by an overbearing restraining order. Call Kroger Law Group today.
William S. Kroger has dedicated 100% of his career to fighting against the government and protecting people like you from oppressive or arbitrary punishments. At Kroger Law Group, we know that overbroad or confusing restraining orders can make it almost impossible to follow the court's order. Protect yourself. Call us today at 323-655-5700 or go to our contact page to send us a message right now.