Starting January 1, 2016, California courts will begin issuing "Gun Violence Restraining Orders". Follow the link for more information.
Individuals who have suffered harassment or domestic violence in California may appear before a judge to ask for the protection of a restraining order (hereinafter, a "RO"). A RO is a civil injunction which orders the restrained party not to commit certain acts. The person seeking the order is called "the petitioner". The person against whom the order is sought is called "the respondent".
Note: Here's one area where domestic violence restraining orders are a little different from restraining orders based on civil harassment -- in domestic violence cases, the petitioner must prove his or her case by "reasonable proof", which is a lower bar than "by clear and convincing evidence". Also, a domestic violence restraining order may last for up to 5 years.
Of course, many of these terms are subjective and judges often have different opinions regarding their definitions. Parties (and judges) often disagree over whether or not a particular course of conduct serves a "legitimate purpose". Similarly, the definition of "substantial emotional distress" varies wildly from one courtroom to another. This ambiguous language can make restraining order hearings a little unpredictable.
If you've been the victim of harassment, you've been served with a notice that someone is seeking a restraining order against you, or if you're accused of violating an existing restraining order, call my office at (714) 449-3335 for a free consultation. Ask for John. We have experience on both sides of restraining order cases. Showing up to court prepared, accompanied by an experienced attorney can increase your chances of success.
For more information about restraining orders in California, including some tips and advice to help you prepare for your day in court, see Part 2 of this series, available here. When you're done with that, check out Part 3, which includes some answers to frequently asked questions.
Orange County Restraining Order Attorney