What to Do When a Restraining Order is Filed Against You

Restraining orders, often referred to as protective orders, are orders of the court that prohibit certain interactions between individuals. Restraining orders are most frequently filed when there is:

  • Unwanted contact,
  • Harassment, or
  • Domestic violence is occurring

and the victim wants the conduct to stop.

While restraining orders are intended to protect victims of crime and provide a peace of mind to those who seek them, sadly, some people use restraining orders as a tool for leverage in child custody matters or to aid in divorce settlements.

Having a restraining order filed against you may significantly impact your life, so it is important to seek effective restraining order defense attorney right away if a restraining order has been filed against you.

Types of Restraining Orders

California courts broadly divide restraining orders into three categories:

  1. personal conduct orders,
  2. stay away orders, and
  3. resident exclusion

Each of these types of orders may be granted on an emergency basis, temporarily, or permanently. Regardless of the length of the restraining order, the issuance and acceptance of the restraining order itself may affect your legal rights and freedoms.

Employers, landlords, state gun license boards, and others have the ability to access this information as a public record, which may adversely affect your ability to earn a living or find a place to live. Restraining orders are only issued when there are imminent threats of safety to another person and are taken extremely seriously.

Emergency Restraining Orders: These orders are effective for up to seven days and do not require the type of notice required in temporary and permanent restraining orders to the alleged defendant.

Temporary Restraining Orders: These orders are, perhaps, the most common and generally aim to protect a victim for a short amount of time before the matter can be heard in court and the defendant can explain his side of the story at a court hearing. They may be granted as a continuation of an emergency restraining order if the judge determines that the victim is still in danger.

Permanent Restraining Orders: Despite their name, “permanent” restraining orders last only up to five years, though extensions may be granted upon motion to the court. These orders will be issued if a judge determined that an extended protection period is warranted given the circumstances and that the defendant presents imminent harm to the petitioner seeking the restraining order.

Each of these restraining orders may vary in their terms. Some require no contact (usually in the form of harassment) including physical, phone, internet communication, and other contact; some require that the defendant remain a certain distance away from the victim and/or his or her children at all times, and some may require that the defendant move out of a residence for the safety of the other inhabitants.

Each case is different and the terms will vary depending on the nature of the underlying actions and needs of the parties.

Enforcement Considerations

Many people do not take restraining orders as seriously as they should, reasoning that they are “just a piece of paper.” However, due the underlying rationale of the restraining order, particularly in cases of domestic violence or when children are involved, enforcement is taken very seriously.

One breach of a restraining order can lead to jail time, fees, anger management or counseling sessions, or contempt charges. If children are involved or if you are in the middle of divorce proceedings, breaches may negatively impact your ability to visit with or have custody of your children in the future. It may also increase the possibility of a lengthier restraining order being entered against you.

San Diego Restraining Order Attorney

At the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC, criminal lawyer Vikas Bajaj has experience handling all variations of restraining order matters. He understands how frustrating it is to be accused of misconduct, violating a restraining order, and worrying about the impact these allegations or an entry of a restraining order against you may have on your future.

Contact his San Diego office at (619) 525-7005 right away when a restraining order has been filed against you, regardless of the truth or falsity of the allegations behind it. Vikas Bajaj will ensure that your legal rights are protected from the beginning and see to it that you understand what your legal rights and responsibilities are during and after your case.

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