In California, a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) is a court order that prohibits an abuser from having any contact with the victim, as well as other relief, such as ordering the abuser to move out of the victim's residence or stay away from the victim's workplace or school. A DVRO can be obtained by a person who has been the victim of domestic violence or who has a reasonable fear of imminent domestic violence.
To obtain a DVRO in California, the victim must file a petition with the court requesting the order. The petition must include specific information about the domestic violence or abuse, including the incidents of abuse, the relationship between the victim and the abuser, and any other relevant information. The victim must also provide their current address and the abuser's current address if known.
If the court finds that there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence, the court may issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) that can last for up to 21 days. A hearing will be held within 21 days to determine whether a longer-term DVRO should be issued, which can last for up to five years.
If a DVRO is issued, the abuser will be prohibited from having any contact with the victim, including in person, by phone, or by email or social media. The abuser may also be ordered to move out of the victim's residence and stay away from the victim's workplace or school.
Violating a DVRO is a criminal offense, punishable by fines and/or imprisonment. Victims of domestic violence can also seek assistance from law enforcement to enforce the order if the abuser violates it.
To obtain a domestic violence restraining order in California, you must meet certain requirements, which may include:
You must be a victim of domestic violence: Domestic violence is defined as abuse or threats of abuse against an intimate partner, a family member, or a person with whom you have had a close relationship. The abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, or economic.
You must have a close relationship with the person you are seeking protection from: To obtain a domestic violence restraining order, you must have a close relationship with the person you are seeking protection from, such as a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, or dating partner.
You must have a credible fear of future abuse: To obtain a domestic violence restraining order, you must demonstrate that you have a credible fear of future abuse from the person you are seeking protection from. This fear must be reasonable and based on evidence of past abuse or threats of abuse.
You must file a petition with the court: To obtain a domestic violence restraining order, you must file a petition with the court in the county where you live. The petition must include specific information about the abuse or threats of abuse you have experienced and the person you are seeking protection from.
You must attend a court hearing: After you file a petition for a domestic violence restraining order, you will need to attend a court hearing to present evidence and arguments as to why the restraining order should be granted.
It is important to note that domestic violence restraining orders are a serious matter and should only be pursued if you have a genuine need for protection. If you are in immediate danger, call 911 or your local law enforcement agency right away.
The laws governing domestic violence restraining orders in California are found in the California Family Code section 6200 et seq. These laws provide for the issuance of restraining orders to protect victims of domestic violence and their children from further abuse. The restraining order may include provisions such as prohibiting the abuser from having any contact with the victim, requiring the abuser to move out of the victim's home, and ordering the abuser to surrender any firearms they may possess.
If the person causing you harm does not fit into one of the proscribed categories above, then your relief is not from a Domestic Violence Restraining Order commonly referred to in the courts as a “DVRO”. The above list of behavior should also make clear that violence is not required in order to obtain an order of this kind. Domestic Violence is broadly defined and liberally construed when dealing with these types of orders.
It's possible that verbal harassment or abuse alone can be sufficient to receive a Domestic Violence Restraining Order if the conduct is severe enough. In more extreme cases of violence it is not uncommon that we file or defend these orders in conjunction with a criminal prosecution for Domestic Violence and/or other related crimes. As criminal defense attorneys we also accept criminal cases arising out of Domestic Violence.
On the Family Law side of things its not at all uncommon that people in the midst of a heated divorce that may or may not involve child custody might exaggerate or even fabricate claims of domestic violence out of revenge or to gain an upper hand in a family law matter, as a domestic violence finding can result in the loss of custody and also impacts support. We are just as willing to defend against these cases as we are to file them.
The consequences of receiving an order of this kind, or any restraining order are quite severe. A single violation of any restraining order can result in a year in the county jail or multiple years for multiple violations and gives the holder of the order considerable power over you. These orders can have a severe affect on your career and employability as they go into a national database, which is easily searchable. A finding of domestic violence can also gravely impact your divorce and custody case and potentially cuts your rights off to custody and visitation with your children.
If you are a victim of this kind of abuse these orders can go a long way to providing your peace of mind. Conversely, if you feel wrongly accused in this proceeding you should absolutely do everything you can to provide yourself the best possible defense and call our office.