A restraining order is a provisional court order that is issued to prevent someone from approaching or contacting another person. Typically, the person seeking a protective order has suffered an ordeal such as harassment or a credible threat of harm from an aggressor. Businesses, entities, companies, the general public, among others, can petition a court of law for a restraining order against someone or an establishment. In this article, we at the San Diego Restraining Order Attorney will share some critical insights about protective orders and their legal implications.

In many cases, the victim of crime files a protective order to safeguard themselves from further harm or threats to cause damage. Some instances warrant the intervention of a prosecuting attorney to ask the court for a restraining order. The victim may be hospitalized due to physical assault, or they are too afraid and intimidated to pursue the court decree independently. The San Diego Restraining Order Attorney helps clients like you get protective orders from relevant courts even if you lack the know-how of getting such petitions.

Therefore, reporting any incidence of abuse or threats of violence is vehemently crucial so you can hold the aggressor accountable. Abusive romantic partners may have done this to others before you, and they will not relent until they get another victim. Halt this pattern of abuse by contacting authorities and making official statements supported by pertinent evidence of the said behavior.

A judge in San Diego can issue a protective order against anyone who is found to harm another through domestic violence, harassment, and other forms of uncouth behavior. Victims can seek court orders against:

  • Relationship partners (current and former)
  • Household members (current and former)
  • Close or distant family members
  • Other people / entities

Please note, while victims of criminal activity like stalking are encouraged to report their aggressors, you cannot seek a restraining order on an anonymous person. It is not uncommon to find perpetrators hiding their identity so they can terrorize their victims without exposing themselves to criminal charges. Your ex-partner could be calling your home from a payphone at night and then hanging up, or they could be covertly following you around town. Even if your gut feeling makes you believe you know the perpetrator, the court will demand evidence.

There are many reasons why a person, company, or other entity may ask the court for a protective order. While the particular scenarios vary from case to case, the most common problems revolve around the following:

  • Harassment
  • Physical assault
  • Rape/ sexual harassment
  • Domestic violence
  • Stalking

When domestic abuse occurs, the victimized partner may seek a protective order to safeguard themselves and their offspring from attack by the husband or romantic partner. It could be someone you share a child with, someone you dated, registered domestic partners, or a close relative such as a grandparent. Such people apply for a domestic violence restraining order for themselves, on behalf of their child, and other household members.

If you don't qualify for a domestic violence protective order, you may seek other alternatives in court. San Diego Restraining Order Attorney works with many clients in different situations, and we will apply our expertise to your case. If the person doesn't fall in the bracket of domestic abuse, we will advise on what protective order to use to keep yourself safe. There are other forms of restraining orders to suit different circumstances:

  1. Civil Harassment Restraining Order

This decree applies to colleagues, roommates, distant family members, neighbors, etc. Civil harassment law defines harassment as unlawful violence, the reasonable threat of violence, and this violence or promises to harm someone must annoy or scare the intended victim. A credible or real danger of abuse may include sending negative messages to an ex-partner via mail correspondence, phone messages, on social media, or other channels. Following someone's home or showing up at their residence without prior notification can also be classified as a credible threat.

  1. Elder or Dependent Abuse Restraining Order

It is not uncommon to find people taking advantage of older people or persons with specific disabilities like mental health problems. The accused could be misleading the older person to sign cheques or hand over material possessions to them. They could be denying the needy person essential care such as meals, bathing, or even going for a walk. Sexual abuse, verbal abuse, and other unsavory actions against these vulnerable populations can dampen the quality of life considerably, with none being the wiser. If you notice your family member is not being treated well at the nursing home, you can file a protective order on their behalf.

  1. Workplace Violence Restraining Order

When you ponder about harassment at work, most people associate such actions with superiors demanding sexual favors so junior employees can keep their jobs or get promoted. While sexual harassment is pervasive even in Fortune 500 companies, there is another vice that could warrant a protective order from the courthouse.

Bullies in the workplace may result in a physical assault like punching a coworker, shoving them around, locking them in the restroom, etc. There may be policies in place to deter such actions, but without strong reinforcement, workplace bullies will not uphold these laws. If your colleague or boss is harassing you, file a protective order against them and report the matter to human resources.

As you can see, there are many forms of abuse in relationships at home, workplaces, and in general society. In the next section, we discuss the specifics of physical, emotional, financial abuse

There is a worrying trend of physical assault in California and the country at large. According to America's Health Rankings data, there were over 1.2 million violent crimes and 17,284 homicides in 2017 alone. Although these figures were a slight decrease from the previous year, murder remains among the top five leading causes of death. Even when victims of heinous crimes survive, the cost of treating them weighs heavily on the healthcare system.

In 2016, the cost of preparing for violence, prevention, implementing safety within health care facilities was estimated at $2.7 billion. On the whole, the economic burden of violent crime in direct medical expenses and lost productivity is enormous. Healthy People 2020 has lofty goals to combat violent crimes, such as reducing the rate of homicides to 5.5 for every 100,000 people. This initiative also seeks to reduce physical violence by 10% and shift children's exposure to assault from 58.9% to 53%.

Achieving these aims requires concerted efforts from everyone concerned, including potential victims of crime. People who are stuck in bad relationships where assault happens must remove themselves from this yoke before things escalate to permanent injuries or death. As your lawyers, we encourage you to protect yourself from violent crime and protect your children as well. Here are examples of physical abuse in relationships:

  • Slapping or punching
  • Attempted strangulation that is not related to consensual sexual activity
  • Biting or kicking, pulling hair
  • Hauling objects like knives
  • Using a bat, firearm, or other purposes as weapons
  • Grabbing your face, so you look at them or something else
  • Barring you from leaving or forcing you to a room, e.g., the basement

Financial abuse is a common tactic applied by abusive partners to keep their spouses under their control and isolate them from social networks. The experience of this abuse varies from one person to the next, and that is why you must recognize signs of economic exploitation from the onset. It usually starts subtly then progresses over time as the abuser years to gain power and control over their partner.

Economic or financial abuse can happen in any of the following ways:

  • Barring you from getting gainful employment or retaining a job
  • Preventing access to money and other financial resources
  • Taking your cash without permission and possibly misusing it
  • Withholding necessities like groceries and health insurance
  • Stealing your identity on a property, credit cards, etc.
  • Force you to relinquish the power of attorney so they can legally sign documents sans your consent
  • Ensuring you are financially dependent on them
  • Causing problems at your workplace to get you fired
  • Justifying financial abuse as a cultural norm
  • Make business decisions without consulting you
  • Force you to file fraudulent tax returns

Emotional abuse is yet another problem that happens in relationships, and the aggressor uses typically this to subdue the other partner and wield them to their will. California law accords you the liberty to file a protective order if you experience the following kinds of emotional abuse:

  • Calling you names and relentless putdowns
  • Yelling or screaming
  • Using the children as pawns, so you don't report the violation
  • Victim shaming and blaming
  • Threatening to expose immigration status, health status, sexual orientation, etc.
  • Throwing objects or punching holes in the wall to evoke fear
  • Making you feel like you are crazy for noticing the abuse
  • Public ridicule and humiliation like insulting you at a restaurant
  • Keeping you away from friends and vice versa
  • Denying you the right to practice religious and spiritual practices
  • Threatening self-harm or taking one's life as a form of manipulation

The answer to this age-old question is a resounding yes. Being in a closed relationship like cohabitation, domestic partnership, or marriage makes it harder to detect sexual abuse. The partner could be providing well for the family, proclaiming his or her love for you, and gives you attention as a spouse. Abusive partners can often act in a loving and supportive manner to keep you in the relationship and manipulate you.

San Diego Restraining Order Attorney has encountered many clients who were sexually abused by their partners under the guise of consensual intercourse. We advise clients in such situations to be on the lookout for the following examples of sexual abuse inside relationships:

  • Unsolicited touching of genitals or unwanted kissing
  • Forcing you to perform sexual acts such as stripping
  • Sabotaging condoms or other forms of birth control
  • An unwelcome forceful sexual activity like bondage
  • Refusing to use condoms or different types of birth control
  • Justifying undesired sexual activity with the existing bond
  • Overlooking sexual boundaries

If your marital partner, domestic partner, or other romantic partner does any of the above things, you must raise the alarm so the abuse can stop. They may be open to discussing things or downright laugh off your complaints. If sexual violence is unyielding, you may end up pregnant with another child or before you are ready to start a family. Marital rape is treated as a criminal crime in the state of California, and if the rapist is convicted under Penal Code § 262, they will face similar charges as those of other rapes.

Marital rape can occur if:

  • The victim was unconscious and therefore couldn't give consent
  • Force, threats, or violence were applied during the sexual activity
  • The victim couldn't resist these advances because they were under the influence
  • Permission is provided under the threat of deportation or arrest
  • The rapist promised to retaliate if the victim refused to give consent

Victims of spousal rape are encouraged to report such crimes to the police. If convicted, the perpetrator can serve a prison sentence of three, six, or eight years depending on aggravating and mitigating factors. More so, the raping spouse may be required to register as a sex offender just like other rapists in the state of California.

Regrettably, a rapist spouse is not likely to change even when confronted by the police. They may also become more aggressive and cause more physical and psychological harm. We highly recommend you apply for a restraining order to keep them away from you as you figure out the next steps, such as a formal separation followed by divorce proceedings.

San Diego Restraining Order Attorney appreciates that accusing your spouse of many years of rape is not easy. Coming to terms with apparent physical, financial, emotional, and other forms of abuse is difficult, mainly when the harm has transpired for long. Victims of abuse often suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, where they identify and attach positively with the aggressor.

Signs of Stockholm Syndrome include positive regard for the abusive spouse even after heinous acts or refusing to cooperate with authorities.

Appeasement of the abuser for self-preservation or so there is less abuse is common. Eventually, there is learned helplessness where the victim makes little to no effort to escape this horrific situation.  They are unwilling to detach from the wrong relationship, and since they are less loyal to themselves, they cannot heal.

Asking for a restraining order is never easy, but some circumstances warrant having a protective order to deter your aggressor from contacting you. This court decree prevents the adverse party from specified actions like coming near the plaintiff or their property, and demand compliance with specific requirements. If the recipient fails to obey all the stipulations, they can be apprehended and prosecuted according to California law.

Inherently, a restraining order demands the accused to:

  • Avoid coming in direct or indirect contact with a victim
  • Stay away from their property or business premises
  • Maintain a predetermined distance from the victim at all times

The duration of a protective order depends on the specifics of the case, and the specific decree you are granted. Different rules have different durations as follows:

Emergency Protective Order (EPO) – only the police can petition for this by calling a judge during day or night. An EPO often comes after responding to a distress call after domestic violence or other major threat to your wellbeing, such as noticing a strange vehicle following you. This order is valid immediately and can last for seven days until your attorney files for a temporary restraining order.

Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO) – victims can get TROs or have the police request on their behalf. Temporary restraining orders remain active for five to seven days, but you can seek an extension of the threat is still there.

Permanent Restraining Orders (PRO) – these orders last for five years and are subject to extension if there is enough evidence to support such extreme measures. Your lawyer will strive to satisfy the burden of proof in and present this discovery in open court.

Criminal Protective Order (CPO) – extreme harassment or violent crimes may warrant filing criminal charges against the aggressor so court proceedings can commence. The criminal court may grant a "stay-away" order against your abuser until the criminal case finishes. If they are convicted, the protective order remains active for three more years.

As mentioned previously, a victim of abuse can seek a restraining order to bar the aggressor from contacting them, or the prosecuting attorney can request on behalf of a victim who is unable to do so. Hiring an attorney is a desirable move as they have the necessary expertise to obtain this court order in San Diego. While the specific steps may vary from case to case, the normal process of requesting a protective order ensues as follows:

  1. Read extensively to get the right information on specific restraining orders. For instance, Form WV-100-INFO speaks about workplace violence and how to prevent it through a court decree. There are other forms involved, such as below:
    • Confidential CLETS Information (Form CLETS-001) is used in a statewide database to inform law enforcement about your request. This form is confidential, and therefore, no filing is required.
    • Notice of Court Hearing (Form WV-109) is a form that communicates the date and time of arraignment to the entities involved.
    • Temporary Restraining Order (Form WV-110) is sometimes needed to protect the victim until a hearing is held, and the presiding judge can issue a TRO with or without notifying the recipient.
    • Civil Case Cover Sheet (Form CM-010) if you are requesting an order against someone who is not a close family member.
    • Form MC-020 comes in handy when the case description is elaborate and therefore demands more space to justify reasons for seeking a restraining order.
    • Declaration (Form MC-030) or Attached Declaration (Form MC-031) are used when witness accounts are available. For instance, if a domestic violence incident happened on your front lawn, your neighbors can give official statements of how the saga unfolded.
  2. The next step is completing the appropriate restraining order forms and documents provided by a San Diego courthouse. As your attorneys, we will dedicate someone to help with this process and review documents before filing so you don't make mistakes that could affect legal proceedings. We will also make copies of relevant documents for future reference apart from CLETS-001.
  3. File court forms with relevant courthouses for the clerk to file, which means they make these documents as an official part of the court's record.
  4. Your attorney will determine if there is a TRO in place or not, and if yes, they will distribute copies of this protective order and supporting documentation.
  5. Serve the papers to the respondent, and the process server must be a legal adult and not the victim. The server must file proof of service with the same court to prove the respondent (defendant) received the petition, notice of arraignment, and TRO.
  6. Get ready to attend the hearing by gathering evidence such as medical reports, images, threatening correspondence, damaged property, etc. If witnesses are available, you can bring them to court. As your attorneys, we will prepare you adequately for arraignment, so you don't bungle things up on the stand. The judge and defendant's attorney may ask questions to which you will answer concisely as rehearsed beforehand.
  7. Wait for the judge's decision, which may be delivered the same day or some other predetermined date. If the protective order is granted, have a process server provide a copy to the defendant or send it through the mail. You must keep a copy of this decree nearby to show to authorities if need be.

Find a Restraining Order Attorney Near Me

Going through any form of abuse is not easy for children or adults. Things can escalate quickly to extreme forms of violence, thus making it harder to pull away and start anew. San Diego Restraining Order Attorney understands the complexities of acknowledging the abuse and wanting to hold the aggressor accountable. If someone is harassing you in San Diego County, reach out to us at 619-728-6293 to obtain a protective order now. We also invite you to contact us if you have been issued a restraining order or charged with violating the protective order.

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When it comes to legal matters, we know that individuals are only interested in putting their case in the right hands. At San Diego Restraining Order Attorney, we care for you and will do everything possible to protect your rights. However, don’t just take our word for it. We’ve included real testimonials from clients who have unique things to say about our legal team and who were faced with different types of restraining orders and case details.

Our goal is to let you see what our past clients are saying about the outcomes of their cases, and learn why you should choose San Diego Restraining Order Attorney to represent you and provide the level of professionalism you deserve.