If you have been harmed or fear harm from someone, whether that be physical or sexual harm in the form of abuse, threats, stalking, or harassment, you have the right to request protection in the form of a court-issued restraining order. Restraining orders can prohibit the abuser from a number of activities and behaviors, depending on your situation and the type of order you obtain. Keep reading to learn about what protections you can receive.
4 Types of Restraining Orders
Before going into what protections you can get in a restraining order, it is important to first address the 4 different types of restraining orders that California offers – domestic violence restraining orders, elder or dependent adult abuse restraining orders, civil harassment restraining orders, and workplace violence restraining orders.
Domestic violence restraining orders apply if someone you are closely related to (e.g., by marriage, by blood) has abused you. Elder or dependent abuse orders apply if you are at least 65 years old or an adult with certain mental or physical disabilities that prevent you from being able to do normal activities or protect yourself and you are a victim of:
- physical or financial abuse;
- neglect or abandonment;
- treatment that has physically or mentally hurt you; or
- deprivation by a caregiver of basic things or services you need so you will not suffer physically, mentally, or emotionally.
Civil harassment restraining orders may be issued if you are being harassed, stalked, abused, or threatened by someone you are not as close to as is required under domestic violence cases (e.g., a neighbor, more distant family members like cousins, nieces or nephews).
Lastly, you can ask for a workplace violence restraining order if you are an employer looking to protect an employee who has suffered stalking, serious harassment, violence, or a credible threat of violence at the workplace. Note that the employee cannot ask for a workplace violence restraining order. If they seek to petition for protection themselves, they can do so in the form of a civil harassment restraining order or domestic violence restraining order.
What Can a Restraining Order Do?
Restraining orders can include a variety of terms, depending on the type of order and circumstances surrounding the abuse or stalking. Personal conduct orders can stop specific acts against those named in the restraining order as a “protected person,” including prohibiting the abuser from:
- contacting, calling, or sending any messages;
- attacking, striking, or battering;
- sexually assaulting;
- destroying personal property; or
- disturbing the peace of the protected people.
Restraining orders with stay-away provisions can keep the restrained person a certain distance away (such as 50 yards) from:
- you and other named protected persons;
- where you live;
- your place of work;
- your children’s schools or places of childcare;
- your vehicle;
- other important places you go.
Domestic violence or elder or dependent adult abuse restraining orders may order residence exclusion (“move-out”) terms, which require the restrained person to move out from where the protected person lives and to take only clothing and personal belongings until the court hearing. Under such an order, the abuser:
- will not be able to go to certain places or to do certain things;
- might have to move out of their home;
- lose the ability to see their children;
- may lose their gun rights.
- may experience immigration consequences.
Violating any terms of a restraining order will result in jail time and fines.
You and your children should not live in fear of harm from a domestic partner or stalker. The law exists to protect you, and you have every right to secure legal protection from violence in the form of a restraining order. Depending on the type of order you retain and the circumstances you show in your court hearing, your restraining order could require the dangerous person to stay away from you and your children and refrain from any contact.
Contact Myers Family Lawto get started on your petition for a restraining order in California today.