If you are abusive towards someone else, they could seek a restraining order against you in court. Being slapped with a restraining or protective order is not appealing. The order involves a myriad of rules that explain what you may or may not do, in most cases, making your life difficult. The person seeking the orders against you is known as the protected person. In this context, the law recognizes you as a restrained person. There are many different types of restraining orders that anyone can obtain from the court.
Your family members, friends, workmates, or members of the public can obtain restraining orders against you. Failing to obey the orders could attract severe consequences, including jail terms and fines. If you are issued with a restraining order, the initial step is contacting an experienced attorney. Your attorney will help you challenge the case and have the order relaxed. At the Orange County Criminal Lawyer, we will help you understand and fight restraining orders. This article gives an overview of restraining order types and how we could defend against them.
Overview of Restraining Orders
In general, restraining orders seek to prohibit the restrained person from doing certain activities affecting those who sought such orders. They are distinct in their application as per the nature of the abuse. If someone seeks protective orders against you, the orders may forbid you from or ask you to:
- Stop contacting them physically or otherwise.
- Shift or move out of the home.
- Specify a mandatory distance that you must keep from them.
- In domestic violence cases, the orders may deprive you of custody of children and award the same to those who temporarily sought the orders.
By nature, the orders are designed to protect the one who sought them from further or intended abuse. It means that the orders' application only addresses the person's issues, and the court is limited to specific circumstances and the protected individual. As the person restrained, it is vital that you stick to the orders' terms, or else you will face serious consequences.
Different Types of Restraining Orders
There exist several protective orders that seek to protect the victim from being harassed by the person restrained. If you harass, stalk, abuse, or threaten someone else, the victim may seek protective orders against you. These orders include;
Stay Away Orders
In these orders, the court bars you from coming closer than the specified distance to the victim. The court can block you from coming as close as fifty to a hundred yards away from the person protected. Further, the ordered distance will apply to the protected person's car, home, workplace, or even their most frequented places. If the victim has children, the court will also bar you from coming anywhere close to where the children play, school, or frequent.
Personal Conduct Orders
Personal conduct orders aim at stopping specific behavior advanced to the protected person. When one obtains these orders, you will be barred by the court from calling, texting, or contacting them in any way. Furthermore, you cannot physically accost and assault the victim, threaten, stalk, or harass them in any way. These orders are put in place to safeguard the protected person's peace of mind so that they can go about their business without the worry and concern of being harmed. Their property is protected as well, from any harmful actions.
Residence Exclusion Orders
In instances where you live with the victim, they can seek protective orders to ask you to vacate from the premises. These orders usually are sought by victims of domestic violence or dependent elders facing abuse. In most cases, the orders may be temporary, requiring you to collect your items and relocate to another facility as you await a hearing and the case's determination before the court.
Consequences of Protective Orders
These restraining orders are accompanied by specific terms that you should fulfill, and you must abide by them. It would be best if you obeyed the regulations for you to stay away from aggravated legal penalties. If restraining orders are issued against you, you will need an experienced criminal attorney's services so that permanent repercussions are voided as you must not violate the terms. Some of the consequences include:
- If you receive restraining orders that require you to vacate the premises you shared with your spouse, this may be very inconveniencing, as it is unplanned. Such charges may result from a domestic abuse or elder abuse case, requiring you not to share the home you previously shared.
- You will effectively lose the freedom of visiting some spots and joints that you previously enjoyed. For instance, this may apply if you enjoyed a meal at a particular eatery with your spouse or children, as you will be required to distance yourself from such places. It will dent your familial relationships, joint memberships to social or business clubs, or curtail the travel destinations you used to share before getting restraining orders.
- In domestic violence cases, restraining orders may mean that you cannot spend time with your children as before. You may be asked to move out of the shared home until the case is heard and determined. The court might bar you from seeing the children if the victim pleads to the court, asking for the children to be protected from you. This can be very damaging.
- If you possess a weapon such as a gun, the orders will necessitate the gun to be confiscated. You will not be allowed to purchase or own a firearm while the rulings stand.
- For immigrants, such orders will badly affect the chances of you being a resident.
Depending on the matter's specificity before the court, orders may be issued to cover varying circumstances. According to California law, the four recognized types of restraining orders are designed to protect against:
- Domestic violence
- Civil harassment
- Workplace violence
- And the elder or dependent adult abuse
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
If a person feels threatened in an intimate or “close relationship,” they can seek restraining orders. The legal definition of close relationship refers to married or divorced, separated, domestic partners who are dating, live together, or have children together, are in-laws or family members. The orders are issued to the protected person if they are abused in a close relationship. The abuse's nature may be physical, sexual, emotional or a credible threat issued to them.
For the court to sustain the orders, the victim must fulfill certain conditions that would persuade the court of the need for legal protection from you. For these circumstances to qualify as domestic violence, the victim must prove that you carelessly or intentionally harmed them by inflicting physical, sexual, or emotional damage. The victim will also be required to cite the threats you made if the violence's nature is pegged on you threatening to harm them for whatever reason.
The law considers it domestic violence if you stalk, harass, or destroy the victim's property. Verbal and emotional abuse in domestic violence would see you face the consequences as the victim might cite psychological stress and ask for protection from you.
However, it is essential to note that the restraining orders sought in domestic violence can only take effect after a court hearing. They are then issued if the court determines that there are proven grounds that you abused the victim. In this process, the court grants you an opportunity to defend yourself so that the court determines the case's facts. It is because, in most cases, domestic violence restraining orders might remain in place long after they are issued, crippling your chances of maintaining a workable relationship with your children if you had any with the victim.
However, the orders to protect children only apply to those below the age of 12. Above this age, the law is conscious of their ability to identify abuse and seek protective orders. On the brighter side, if your spouse seeks protective orders against you, chances of salvaging your marriage are still possible, as it doesn't amount to divorce. Though sometimes protracted, the orders only seek to protect the victim and the children until the case is determined. Divorce is a separate legal petition that is filed at the family court.
The orders do not seek to deprive you of your parental rights and obligations to your children. Neither do they award the protected person exclusive parenting roles. The orders will be specific on what functions you have to play in raising the children during the enforcement of such charges. You will be required to continue supporting them and rendering support to your spouse as well.
Various Types of Protective Orders in Domestic Violence
Domestic violence has four significant types of restraining orders. The orders are issued based on the nature of the abuse and the circumstances under which it occurred. The court has to determine all the case facts before giving the victim the restraining orders. The length uniquely applies to the orders sought, as it determines the duration they will remain in force. Meaning that some may be short-term, while others may take a while before the court lifts them after the hearings. They are;
Temporary Restraining Orders
As earlier discussed, the accused person can defend themselves in domestic violence charges before restraining orders are issued. If faced with allegations that you abused your spouse or someone you are closely related to, the victim, through their lawyer, can petition the court to have themselves protected against further abuse.
The court needs persuasion that the alleged domestic violence crimes were committed by the accused before handing down restraining orders. For fairness, the court will issue orders that will be effective for not more than 25 days (20-25 days), and you will be allowed to give your side of the story so that details of the case are established. If there are no reasonable and proven grounds for the allegations, the court may dismiss the case and decline to issue the victim's temporary restraining orders.
Emergency Restraining Orders
In some cases, the victim of domestic violence might not be in a position to petition the court and be issued with restraining orders directly. Some of the reasons for this may be that the courts are not immediately accessible by the victim or that the domestic violence acts are imminent, making them fear for their lives. The orders will be issued after the police have requested them on behalf of the victim and will last for a maximum of seven days.
For instance, the police may respond to a case of domestic violence, in which the husband physically injures the wife after beating her severely. She may not be in a position to seek orders against the husband right away, and the police can pursue the same until she can file charges within the specified period.
Since judges are available 24 hours a day, the police only need to show proof that they were first responders at the crime scene and need to advance protection to the victim from further abuse. If the victim doesn't press any charges within seven days, the orders will be rendered obsolete and non-effective. Suppose reasons exist to extend the period due to the victim's inability to petition the court due to aggravated injuries and are admitted to the hospital. In that case, the duration will be elongated.
Permanent Restraining Orders
Permanent restraining orders aren't really "permanent." They are referred to as permanent owing to the more extended period that they remain in force. They are issued after hearing for temporary restraining orders and can be in force for up to five years. The judge has to fully see the necessity of giving these orders after hearing the case from both parties.
If the victim still needs to be protected from you after the initial five years, they can petition the court for an extension of the same for another five years. If faced with such orders, you shouldn't despair as they can successfully be fought by experienced attorneys and see you released from their protracted effects.
Criminal Protective Orders
The district attorney can seek restraining orders against you. Grounds for such orders are in an instance where the victim of the domestic violence files a case against you and proves that you issued threats against them to have the case dropped. You can still fight these orders if you can defend such accusations through a qualified criminal lawyer.
Civil Harassment Restraining Orders
Unlike in domestic violence restraining orders, an unknown person can request the court for protective orders against you. The person will have to prove that they are being abused, harassed, stalked, or threatened by you. The person doesn't need to have a close relationship with you but can be a neighbor, friend, or other than relatives.
For the victim to have the restraining orders issued, there must be probable cause for the same. However, if you have family members whom you are not closely related to, such orders may be sustained against you, if they seek them.
Workplace Restraining Orders
As per the name, these are restraining orders enforced at the workplace. However, an employer can only seek the orders, aiming to protect an employee from confirmed credible threats, abuse at the workplace, or imminent danger. An employee cannot seek workplace restraining orders to protect themselves at the workplace or protect a co-worker. Instead, they can seek civil harassment restraining orders or domestic violence protective orders.
Certain conditions must be fulfilled by the employer seeking the orders. Some of them are;
- That you threatened or caused violence to an employee
- You made the threats and caused violence at the workplace
- You engaged in violating fundamental constitutional rights of the victim and that your behavior was unacceptable
You should note that the orders will limit and restrict you from accessing the workplace, coming in close contact with the protected person or their children, contacting or visiting the other co-workers of the victim, and owning a gun. You would be required to surrender the firearm if you owned one.
The employer can seek different types of orders based on the merits of the case. They can seek temporary restraining orders that will last for between 15 to 20 days, permanent restraining orders that can last for up to three years, and criminal protective orders if proven that the offender repeated the alleged threats or violence. All the facts must be established for the charges to hold, just like domestic violence restraining orders. The judge will grant both parties a chance to present and prosecute or defend themselves and give the petitioner the orders or dismiss the petition.
Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Orders
These types of orders aim to protect elders and dependent elders from abuse. In this context, an elder is someone above 65 years of age. A dependent adult is aged between 18 and 64 years who are physically or mentally disabled. These persons must prove grounds of being victims of abuse or negligence, sustained injuries, or deprivation from a caregiver.
In context, if you are perceived to be in charge of the wellbeing of these individuals, either because you provide for them financially or physically and mentally treat them, the court may issue you with restraining orders if you abuse them in this manner. Similar to domestic violence, such persons may seek orders to protect themselves from you by obtaining;
- Temporary restraining orders if the police respond after complaints that you abuse the victims.
- Emergency restraining orders in case the elder or dependent adult feels threatened or abused by you. Such an order will be in place for at least 25 days, after which it may be sustained and deemed permanent or lifted.
- Permanent protective orders, which can be issued after the expiry of the temporary restraining order. The case will have been heard and determined before the judge issues this order.
- The judge can issue criminal protective orders after a petition from the district attorney. If the court establishes an active criminal case leveled against you, and the elder or the dependent adult fears for their life, these orders will apply.
Elder and dependent adult restraining orders have specific procedures. The alleged abuse victim would have to go to court to obtain the forms and duly fill them by citing the orders they seek. The judge reviews the documents in about a day or two, after which temporary restraining orders prohibiting you from establishing contact with the victim are issued. You are then given temporary restraining orders and allowed to defend yourself.
You must attend court sessions as failure may lead to the judge issuing permanent restraining orders to you. Further, you are allowed to have legal counsel represent you in court, and if the victim fails to appear in court, the restraining orders may be lifted by the court. If the court sustains the charges and permanent restraining orders are issued against you by the court, they will be upheld by the court for a maximum of five years. If the victim feels the need for more protection from you, they may petition the court for an extension.
With expert representation from a qualified attorney, you can easily fight these restraining orders. Strong arguments in your favor from your legal team may absolve you of any blame.
Find a Orange County Criminal Lawyer Near Me
As discussed in this article, restraining or protective orders issued against you can be damaging or have far-reaching repercussions. After receiving restraining orders, it is wise to contact a criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney will help you have the orders dismissed or represent you in court if accused of disobeying the orders. At Orange County Criminal Lawyer, we are on standby to vigorously and expertly defend you after receiving restraining orders. Kindly call us at 714-262-4833 to explore favorable options for your case.