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American Judge

Restraining Orders

What you need to know

One of the most important, time consuming, and confusing court hearings is a Restraining Order Hearing. Restraining Orders have devastating impacts on those who are involved. It can protect a party who is in need and it can affect a party that might be unjustly accused. Either way, having legal counsel guide you through the process will help ease the burden or an already heart wrenching situation.

Whatever the circumstances, navigating through the procedural and emotional pitfalls of a restraining order can be overwhelming.

First, it’s important to understand the different types of restraining orders. Typically, restraining orders can be broken up into two main categories, criminal and civil.

The civil harassment restraining orders are broken down into two types as well. A Domestic Violence Restraining Order is heard by a judge in Family Court and requires the petitioning party to have, or have had, a close personal relationship with the party to be restrained. All other restraining orders are heard in civil court.


Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order (DVTRO) / Civil Harassment Temporary Restraining Order (CHTRO)

Both Family and civil courts offer immediate restraining orders to protect a party f they meet certain criteria proving they are in danger. In order to be heard in Family Court, the parties need have defined relationships:

  • You are married or were formerly married to the other party.

  • You have or formerly had an engagement or dating relationship with the other party.

  • You and the other party have a child or children together.

  • You are related to the other party by blood, marriage or adoption, e.g., (mother, father, in-laws, siblings, adult children).

  • You and the other party are living together, or formerly lived together, as members of a "household."

All other restraining order requests are heard in as Civil Harassment Restraining Orders.

Temporary restraining orders are court ordered injunctions that protect one party against another until a judge or commissioner can hear the parties.


Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) Civil Harassment Restraining Order (CHRO)

Twenty-one (21) days after the temporary restraining order is issued, the parties must appear in front of the court and argue their case.  Parties must have all evidence served and ready to present for this hearing takes place.

The ramification of the Restraining Order issued by the court can have wide reaching affects. For example, the restraining party is entered in CLETS (California Law Enforcement Telecommunication System). CLETS in a database for law enforcement to track individuals who are supposed to restrained. CLETS can also be used in background checks for jobs and clearances.

In addition, the Restraining Order will provide protection to the person who needs it from the restrained party.

Providing all that is needed to the court to prove your case in a Restraining Order can be overwhelming.

Other Restraining Orders include EPOs, CPOs and MPOs.

Emergency Protective Order (EPO)

An Emergency Protective Order may be issued on the request of California law enforcement officer anytime of the day or night in a domestic violence case if a law enforcement officer asserts reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be protected is "in immediate and present danger of domestic violence" based on the complainant's "allegation of a recent incident of abuse or threat of abuse by the person against whom the order is sought." (California Family Code Section 6250.)

Criminal Protective Order (CPO) (Form CR-161)

California Code, Penal Code - PEN § 136.2 Criminal protective orders accompany criminal charges and possible conviction. The criminal court can make orders regarding child custody that can be superseded by a subsequent family court order.

Military Protective Order (MPO)

A Military Protective Order (MPO) is a short-term order issued by a unit commander against an active duty servicemember under his or her command. The law permits commanders to issue MPOs under 10 US Code § 1567(a).

Restraining Orders: Welcome
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