Whether dealing with an abusive partner, a harassing neighbor, or a stalking coworker, you may find yourself in a situation that requires you to seek out a restraining order to ensure your safety. To get a restraining order in California, you must complete court-approved forms detailing your situation and appear in court where a judge will decide the validity of your case.
There are three general types of restraining orders. Each type provides protection for increasingly longer periods of time, starting from a week up to several years. Let’s review each type of restraining order below to help you know what to do in your particular situation.
Emergency Protective Order (EPO)
An officer of the law may request an emergency restraining order if there is reason to believe that the person requiring protection is in immediate danger of violence from the person against whom the restraining order is being sought.
This type of restraining order can only be requested by a law enforcement officer on behalf of the individual under threat. For an emergency restraining order to be valid, it must be issued by a judge or a commissioner. Judges are required to be available 24 hours a day to issue an EPO.
The person seeking such a restraining order must present objective facts to demonstrate that his or her life or physical safety was threatened. More specifically, the EPO is issued after the following has been established:
• There is sufficient reason and/or evidence to suggest that there is a present danger of domestic violence
• A child is in immediate danger of being abused or abducted
• An elderly person, or a dependent adult, is in immediate danger
• The EPO will prevent domestic violence, abuse of a child, or child abduction from occurring or from being repeated
• An emergency restraining order will prevent abuse of an elderly person or a dependent adult from occurring or from being repeated
When an officer requests the EPO and it is then issued by a judge, the restraining order takes effect immediately. It is enforceable for one week. If the abuser happens to live in the victim’s home, the judge can order the abuser to leave the house during the period the restraining order is in effect. In most situations, the police department will deliver it to serve the restrained person.
The purpose of the EPO is to protect the victim or abused person while he or she is in the process of applying for a temporary restraining order. Because of this, an EPO cannot be renewed. The EPO gives the victim time to go to court and request a more permanent restraining order. If the judge grants a restraining order, the restraining order will be enforceable for three years.
Summary: An EPO (emergency restraining order) can only be requested by a police officer and issued by a judge or a commissioner. The EPO protects an abused person for up to a week while he or she applies for a temporary restraining order.
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
Once the EPO has expired, the next type of restraining order is the temporary restraining order (TRO), which lasts between 20 to 25 days.
This civil type of restraining order is issued when a judge believes the abused person is in immediate danger and requires protection before the court hears the case for a restraining order. When the three week time period has passed, the individual will attend a court hearing where the judge will determine whether to issue a permanent restraining order.
There are many steps to requesting a temporary restraining order. The person filing the TRO must get the court-approved forms, have the forms reviewed by an attorney, and then take the signed forms to the clerk of the court that the TRO will be issued in. Upon submitting sufficient evidence, the judge may rule the temporary restraining order permanent.
Summary: A temporary restraining order (TRO) is issued by a judge when a person is in immediate danger and requires protection before the court hears his or her case. Once the EPO has expired, the TRO will take effect for a period of 20 to 25 days. After the court-approved form has been issued and sufficient evidence has been submitted, the judge may rule the temporary restraining order permanent.
Permanent Restraining Order
A permanent restraining order follows the issuance of the TRO. Before the restraining order is granted and valid, a court hearing is held where evidence is reviewed. The hearing will be held at the courthouse where the TRO forms were filed. If the hearing is not attended on the date and time listed on those forms, the TRO will expire and the entire process will have to be done over again.
After hearing from both parties involved in the case, the judge decides whether to make the TRO permanent. If during the hearing the judge concludes that the person who filed the restraining order is indeed in danger if left in the presence of the abuser, a permanent restraining order will be granted. If a permanent order is issued, it will last for several years and can be renewed.
The specific length of time covered by the restraining order will vary depending on whether it is under family, civil, or criminal law. For instance, the amount of years varies based on whether the order is for a domestic violence dispute or a civil harassment dispute.
Summary: At the court hearing, the judge decides whether to make a TRO permanent. A permanent restraining order may be issued up to several years and can be renewed depending on whether the order is under family, civil, or criminal law.
Contact An Experienced Attorney To Help You File The Right Restraining Order
If you are in the position in which you need to file a restraining order, it is important to speak to a qualified attorney. An experienced attorney can help you understand which type of restraining order is right for your particular situation. Reach out by phone at (424) 250-9130 or schedule your consultation with a knowledgeable attorney today.
2790 Skypark Drive
Torrance, CA 90505
Phone: (424) 250-9130