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The Three Main Types of Restraining Orders in California

Posted in Criminal Defense,Domestic Violence on July 15, 2019

Each year, domestic violence affects thousands of families in California. These incidents range from acts of jealousy and possessiveness to acts of extreme violence. California law rightly presumes that these alleged victims sometimes need immediate protection.

However, when the alleged victim makes a report or makes a request for a protective order, authorities only hear one side of the story. Such reports are particularly questionable when there is a parallel proceeding in family court, like a divorce or a child custody dispute.

So, the victim protection system only works if alleged abusers have assertive Riverside domestic violence attorneys. Otherwise, judges would issue too many protective orders or not enough. Either outcome could be disastrous for alleged victims.

Types of Restraining Order

DVRO

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders are the most common types of protective orders in Orange County. DVROs are available if the alleged victim and alleged abuser have a domestic relationship (husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, or a child in common) and there are alleged physical threats or injuries. There are three types of DVROs:

  • Emergency Protective Order: When officers respond to domestic disturbance calls, they may ask a judge to issue an emergency protective order. The EPO goes into effect immediately and remains valid for up to a week. In some cases, the EPO may exclude the alleged abuser from a shared residence, include a keep-away order, and contain some other orders.
  • Temporary Restraining Order: EPOs are designed to give alleged victims time to request TROs. Judges issue these orders on an ex parte basis (i.e. no hearing). Mechanically, there is not much difference between an EPO and a TRO. Procedurally, TROs last longer and the alleged victim, instead of a police officer, must make the request.
  • Final DVRO: After a hearing, a judge may issue a final order which lasts up to five years. 

Violating a restraining order could be a civil or criminal contempt proceeding. The criminal contempt punishment is much stiffer. However, the burden of proof is much higher in criminal court.

CHO

Civil Harassment Orders are available when a DVRO is unavailable. CHOs contain no relationship restrictions. The other party could be a neighbor or a former co-worker. Additionally, a history of physical violence is not required. CHOs often apply to things like stalking, harassing phone calls, and constant emails.

Alleged victims may ask for temporary CHOs which last up to twenty-five days. Then, the judge holds a hearing to determine if the order should remain in effect. 

At both the application and hearing stage, the applicant must prove that there is a substantial likelihood of great or irreparable harm. That’s a very high bar. Furthermore, the applicant must produce clear and convincing evidence to support the claim, as opposed to a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). That’s the burden of proof in DVRO matters.

Many of the same remedies are available. However, since there is no domestic relationship, a judge cannot order reimbursement or support payments.

GVROs

Gun Violence Restraining Orders protect alleged victims from possible gun violence from an immediate family member. The judge will issue an emergency order if:

  • The respondent could harm himself/herself or another person, and
  • A restraining order is the only available option because other, less restrictive means have failed.

Once in place, a GVRO prohibits the respondent from possessing any firearm, attempting to buy a firearm, or purchasing ammunition.

Judges only grant GVROs in limited circumstances. For example, the applicant must prove that the respondent has committed a violent act with a firearm, or made a credible threat of such violence, within the past six months.

Connect with a Local Attorney

A vigorous protective order defense legitimizes the process and upholds the rights of alleged abusers. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Riverside, contact Graham Donath Law Offices, APC. We have offices in Riverside and Irvine.