If you have been served with a restraining order, you know that it can put you in an extremely stressful situation. Restraining orders are particularly common in domestic violence cases. In California, there are a number of different types of protective orders, which are issued depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. When it comes to restraining orders, the person who filed the restraining order has the burden of proof. In other words that person needs to demonstrate that such an order is warranted.
Individuals facing restraining orders may be able to defend them. If a restraining order has forced you to leave your home, is preventing you from seeing your children or having other devastating effects on your life, it is important that you contact an experienced California criminal defense lawyer who will fight for your rights and work diligently to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
Types of Restraining Orders
Not all restraining orders are the same. Here are the three most common types of restraining orders that are filed in California courts:
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO): This type of restraining order, as the name suggests, is only temporary. It could be effective for about 20 to 25 days and is issued when a judge believes that you are currently in danger and require protection until the court hears your case. When the temporary restraining order ceases to be effective, you will mostly likely attend a court hearing where a judge will determine whether a permanent restraining order needs to be issued.
Permanent Restraining Order: Typically, courts will issue a temporary restraining order before a permanent restraining order is issued. Before issuing a permanent restraining order, a court hearing will be held. During this time, the judge will determine whether the person seeking for the restraining order is actually in danger.
If so, he or she will issue a permanent restraining order. The length of time covered by a permanent restraining order will vary depending on the type of restraining order. For example, a restraining order issued in a domestic violence case may be valid for about five years while an order issued in a harassment case might remain effective for three years.
Emergency Protective Order (EPO): Under California law, a police officer can request an emergency protective order or EPO if he or she has reason to believe that the person who requires the protection is in immediate danger of violence from the person against whom the order is being sought. Such orders can be requested only by a law enforcement officer on behalf of the person who is allegedly being threatened. Judges are required to be available to issue such emergency orders.
Not everyone or every situation will qualify for an emergency protective order. The judge should be provided with sufficient reason to believe that there is the threat of imminent danger. Such orders are also issued in cases where children or the elderly are being threatened. When a judge issues an emergency protective order, it takes effect immediately and is enforceable for a week. If such an order is issued against you, you may be required to leave the home for the period of the restraining order. The purpose of this restraining order is to protect a person while he or she is in the process of applying for a temporary restraining order.
What to Do If You Have Been Served
If you have been served with a restraining order, here are a few crucial steps you would be well advised to take in order to protect your rights:
Remain calm. While this might be difficult to do especially if you are being asked to leave your home or if you can’t see your kids, it is important that you remain calm and collected. It would not be in your interest to yell or display any type of aggressive behavior. Don’t react negatively to the person who is serving your restraining order.
Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you would like to challenge your restraining order, it is important that you retain the services of an experienced California criminal defense lawyer who has successfully challenged restraining orders. While the law allows you to represent yourself, in such situations, where the stress levels and the stakes are very high, having an attorney on your side fighting for your rights can be invaluable. Restraining orders are not simple matters. On the contrary, they are complex legal issues that require a significant and thorough knowledge of the law.
Follow the court’s orders. It is absolutely critical that you follow the judge’s orders while you await your day in court. It might be challenging to stay away from home or not see your own family members. But, not following the conditions outlined in you restraining order could make matters worse and could even land you in jail.
File a response. It is important that you file a response to your restraining order in timely fashion. This response should be filed with the court prior to your scheduled hearing. The form you file will depend on the type of restraining order that has been issued against you. All of these forms can be found on the Judicial Branch of California’s website.
Compile all documents. There are a number of important documents that must be carefully compiled. These are documents that can be used to support your case including the response you filed with the court.
Act appropriately. Be sure to arrive to the court hearing on time. Wear conservative clothing that is appropriate for the courtroom. Always be polite. Answer questions briefly and succinctly and don’t offer up any information. Speak calmly and only when instructed to do so.
Contacting an Experienced Defense Lawyer
A restraining order – regardless of the type of protective order that is issued – can have consequences for defendants that are serious and real. You may be asked to stay way from any place including your own home, your child’s school, your partner or spouse’s place of employment or any location where he or she may be seeking shelter. You may be prohibited from possessing a firearm. A restraining order could have emotional and financial implications. If you are facing a restraining order, please contact the experienced California restraining order attorneys at the Law