Domestic Violence Restraining Orders in California

Domestic violence is a serious crime in California. Not only can domestic violence allegations lead to an arrest, but they can also result in being subject to a restraining order.

Also known as a protective order or order of protection, a domestic violence restraining order is a court order designed to protect individuals from abuse or threats of abuse from someone they have a close relationship with, such as current and former spouses, current and former dating partners, two parties who share a child together, and relatives by blood or marriage.

A restraining order can order a person to not contact or go near the alleged victim and his/her children and other relatives, stay away from places often frequented by the victim and his/her loved ones, move out of the home, have any firearms confiscated, and even complete a 52-week batterer intervention program.

The following are the four types of restraining orders in California:

  • Emergency protective order (EPO) – Law enforcement officials can call a judge any time of day or night to request this type of restraining order on behalf of the alleged victim. If the judge believes that the alleged victim and/or his/her children face an immediate and present danger of domestic violence, an EPO will be issued. An EPO is valid for five business days or seven calendar days (whichever comes sooner), which is enough time for the victim to file for a temporary restraining order in court.
  • Temporary restraining order (TRO) – The alleged victim must file a petition, which details what occurred and the reason behind obtaining a restraining order. If the judge believes the victim needs protection, then he/she will issue a TRO, which lasts between 20 and 25 days, essentially until the court hearing.
  • “Permanent” restraining order – At the final hearing, both parties have an opportunity to present their evidence. If the judge rules in favor of the alleged victim, the restraining order lasts up to five years.
  • Criminal protective order or “stay-away” order – In some cases, when the district attorney files criminal charges against someone, the criminal court can also issue a criminal protective order against the defendant while the case remains ongoing. If the defendant either pleads guilty or is found guilty, the order will last three years after the case ends.

Violating a restraining order, protective order, or stay-away order is a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum jail term of one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000. A second violation is a felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to three years and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Additionally, the police are required to make a mandatory arrest if a person violates a domestic violence protective or restraining order.

If you have been arrested for domestic violence in Norwalk, Los Angeles, or Orange County, call Gibbons & Gibbons, A Law Corporation at (562) 372-6366 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.