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What Is a Civil Harassment Restraining Order in California?

If you are being threatened, abused, harassed, or stalked by someone, you can apply for a restraining order. Restraining orders are called protective orders in California.

The court may issue a restraining order prohibiting the person from continuing the behavior. Civil harassment restraining orders are intended for individuals who are not closely related.

Who Can Obtain a Civil Harassment Restraining Order in California?

If you are in a close relationship with the person who is harassing or threatening you, you would apply for a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO). A close relationship means the two parties are family members, domestic partners, parents to a child, live in the same household, or were/are in a relationship.

A civil harassment restraining order is for individuals who are not in a close relationship. That would include parties who are:

  • Co-workers
  • Neighbors
  • Friends
  • Distant family members
  • Roommates

Harassment is defined as unlawful violence or credible threats of violence. It also includes contact that harasses or annoys the protected person.

How Do I Get a Civil Harassment Restraining Order in San Jose, CA?

You must complete and file the restraining order forms with the court and pay a filing fee. A judge reviews your forms to determine whether to issue a temporary civil harassment restraining order.

Judges issue TROs for 21 days if the protected person is in immediate danger. That gives the court time to schedule a hearing and notify the restrained party of the hearing.

The notice of hearing is served on the restrained party. At the hearing, both parties can enter evidence for the judge to consider. The judge determines whether to issue a permanent civil harassment restraining order based on whether the evidence presented in court indicates that the protected party needs protection from the restrained party.

How Long Does a Civil Harassment Restraining Order Last?

A temporary civil restraining order lasts just a few weeks or months. The court can issue a permanent civil restraining order lasting up to five years. The judge determines how long to restrain someone based on the facts and evidence in the case.

What Does a Civil Harassment Restraining Order Include?

A restraining order prevents the restrained party from taking specific actions related to the protected person. Terms and conditions of a civil harassment restraining order may include:

  • Prohibiting contact with the protected person, including phone calls, in-person contact, mail, texts, electronic mail, and all other forms of communication
  • Coming within a certain distance of the protected party’s school or work
  • Coming in contact, trying to visit, or attempting to contact the protected person’s children and family members

In addition to prohibiting contact with the protected person, a civil harassment restraining order may prohibit the restrained person from owning, buying, or possessing a firearm. The judge can add other prohibitions depending on the circumstances.

What Are the Punishments for Violating a Civil Harassment Restraining Order in San Jose, CA?

A restrained person can face several criminal penalties for violating a civil restraining order. For the state to obtain a conviction for violating a civil harassment restraining order, the prosecutor must prove:

  • The court lawfully issued the civil harassment restraining order;
  • The restrained person knows about the restraining order;
  • The restrained person was capable of obeying the court order; and,
  • The protected person violated the court order intentionally.

Under most circumstances, violating a civil harassment restraining order is a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor offense is punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

However, violating a restraining order is a wobbler offense. It can also be charged as a felony offense.

The state can charge the restrained person with a felony if this is their second conviction of the offense and the violation was an act of violence. A felony offense carries a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to three years in state prison.

What Should I Do if I Receive Notice of a Civil Harassment Restraining Order in San Jose, CA?

A civil harassment restraining order has serious implications for you. It can impact numerous areas of your life, including family court matters, your job, and where you live, among other things. If you are notified of a civil restraining order, contact a San Jose restraining order lawyer immediately.

An attorney can represent you in court to argue against the restraining order. Your lawyer investigates the allegations against you and gathers evidence to present to the court. They argue that the restraining order is unnecessary. If the judge agrees, the TRO expires without a permanent restraining order being issued.

If you have questions about a civil harassment restraining order, call a San Jose criminal defense lawyer for a free consultation.

Contact our San Jose Criminal Defense Law Firm of Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys Today For Help

For more information, please contact our Criminal Defense law firm of Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys, at the nearest location for a free consultation.

Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys – San Jose Office
1625 The Alameda, Suite 405San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 217-8818

Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys – Redwood City Office
600 Allerton St Suite 201G, Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 299-0500

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