Orange County Criminal Defense
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California Restraining Order Attorney

There are two types of restraining orders in California – civil restraining orders and domestic violence restraining orders. Both types of restraining orders require the petitioner to file a request for a restraining order at a courthouse. However, in domestic violence criminal cases, the court will automatically impose domestic violence protective order if a criminal case has been filed, which is very similar to a restraining order. However a domestic violence protective order can only be issued if criminal charges are filed.

There are three main differences between a domestic violence restraining order and a civil restraining order. First, a domestic violence restraining order requires a special relationship between the parties. Either the parties had to have been married, divorced, separated, had a registered domestic partnership, had a child together, dating or used to date. Domestic violence restraining orders are also used between close family members – where the parties are related within the second degree of affinity or consanguinity. That means, parent or step-parent or parent-in-law, child (including step-child or adopted child) or child-in-law, grandparent or grandparent-in-law, grandchild or grandchild-in-law, sibling or sibling-in-law. The “in-law” must be through a current marriage. A civil restraining order is issued between all other types of parties, i.e. friends, neighbors, roommates, co-workers, etc.

Second, the standard of proof is lower for domestic violence restraining orders than civil restraining orders. In domestic violence restraining order cases, the standard of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence. In civil restraining order cases, the standard of proof is by clear and convincing evidence.

Third, if a domestic violence restraining order is granted, it can last for up to five years. A civil restraining order can last up to a maximum of three years. The exact length of the restraining order is up to the judge. At the end of a restraining order period, the protected person can re-petition to have the restraining order extended.

Restraining Order Process

These orders must be filed at the appropriate courthouse. In Orange County, most domestic violence restraining orders are filed at the Lamoreaux courthouse in Orange, but civil harassment restraining orders are usually filed at the closest branch courthouse. For example, a person filing for a restraining order in Irvine would have their paperwork filed at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach (directly across the street from our main office). The restraining order paperwork must be served on the defendant. If the court believes that the complaining party is in imminent danger, the judge may issue a temporary restraining order that will last until the date of the hearing. Hearings are always required in restraining order cases and are usually heard within three weeks of when the paperwork was filed. However, these hearings can be postponed weeks or months depending on other factors. In order to prove their case, the complaining party must show either violence, the threat of violence or a pattern of harassment.

The Right Lawyer

Our law firm is adept at prosecuting and defending restraining orders. Whether we are assisting the petitioner or defending the respondent, our attorney is fully prepared for the restraining order hearing. Our restraining order law firm does all the research necessary to defend your interests. We interview witnesses, negotiate with opposing counsel and build a compelling case for the judge. Please review some of our success stories in restraining order cases.

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