Seeking an order of protection is a courageous step to securing the safety of yourself and those in your care. If you are being victimized or fear you will be victimized, it is important to know that you are not alone. There is help available and there is nothing to be ashamed or apprehensive about. The only mistake victims make regarding orders of protection is not seeking legal assistance in getting one in place.
There are three types of orders of protection that can provide victims with legal protections to support their safety – emergency protective orders, temporary restraining orders, and permanent restraining orders.
Emergency Protective Orders
An emergency protective order (EPO) is the most immediate form of restraining orders and is issued to provide victims with a short-term, enforceable separation while longer-term protection can be sought through the court system.
The main difference between EPO’s and temporary or permanent restraining orders is that California law requires a law enforcement officer to request an emergency protective order when he or she believes the victim is in imminent danger of harm by the subject of the EPO.
A judge is required to be on call 24-hours a day, seven days a week to hear EPO petitions. In order for an EPO to be granted by the judge, the officer must establish that the subject of the EPO presents an immediate danger of perpetrating domestic violence, abusing or abducting a minor, abusing or harming an elderly person or dependent, and/or that issuing an EPO will prevent any of the above aforementioned actions from occurring.
If the threat of danger persists after an EPO is issued, the petitioner should move forward with requesting a temporary restraining order (TRO).
Temporary Restraining Order
If you are the victim of physical or mental abuse or fear for your safety, it is important not to hesitate in seeking the help of an attorney or legal advocate. A temporary restraining order (TRO) gives victims the ability to petition a judge for a temporary order of protection while a request for permanent action can make its way through the legal system.
A TRO provides a victim with the same safeguards as an EPO and prohibit contact as defined in the order. TRO’s normally last 20 to 25 days after which the petitioner can seek a permanent restraining order.
Permanent Restraining Order
If a victim feels they are still in immediate danger as a TRO is about to expire, they can petition a judge for a permanent restraining order. During a court hearing, a judge will determine if the petitioner remains in danger. If a permanent restraining order is granted, the judge will detail specific safeguards based on the individual case.
A permanent restraining order can last up to five years for domestic violence cases and three years for civil harassment. Consulting an attorney can help maximize the length of a permanent restraining order within what is allowed by state laws.
Three Actions You Must Take To Stay Safe
If you are currently being abused or victimized, or believe you are in danger, it is important to have a plan to stay safe, contact law enforcement if you are in immediate danger, and reach out to us to assist you in securing an order of protection.
We have helped many people seek the legal protections they deserve through a restraining order. Contact us so we can advocate for you and your loved ones.