Los Angeles Restraining Order Lawyer
Restraining orders are court orders that require an individual to cease contact, abuse, or other behavior These orders can be temporary or permanent and can last up to five yearsand are often in conjunction with divorce proceedings. The lawyers at the Los Angeles law firm of Lieber Williams & Labin can help you if you have had a restraining order filed against you or if you are seeking to file a restraining order.
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Do not make the mistake of assuming that because the other side’s contentions are false that the right conclusion will be reached. The other side can present false allegations that sometimes cannot be easily disproven. Therefore, seeking a restraining order or fighting a restraining order must be done strategically by an experienced attorney. Our attorneys understand the impact a restraining order can have on your personal relationships and your career.
Temporary & Permanent Restraining Orders
Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO): these types of orders may be issued pending the outcome of a permanent restraining order hearing. These types of orders typically last for less than one month.
To obtain a temporary restraining order, the person sought to be restrained must either be served with the documents containing the allegations or a declaration regarding why informing the other side of the temporary request would be dangerous. While the request seeking the temporary order may be “ex parte” or without the other side’s knowledge in certain circumstances, the other side must always be given notice of a hearing seeking a permanent restraining order.
Permanent Restraining Orders: these are the permanent orders that are issued after the party seeking to be restrained has been served with notice and after a judge has heard all evidence in the case. Permanent restraining orders usually are in effect for between one and five years.
Emergency Protective Orders (EPO): may be issued by a law enforcement officer at any time and lasts up to 5 days. When children are involved, the EPO allows for the victim of abuse to receive temporary custody.
Types of Restraining Orders
There are four general types of restraining orders that can be requested in California, and they are outlined below. There are specific qualifications for each of the four types of orders and you should always consult an attorney experienced at handling restraining order matters to determine which is best. Further, the forms and accompanying documents for each type of restraining order are different. The failure to request the proper order or the filing of incorrect documents can result in a judge denying or refusing to hear your case.
Civil Harassment Restraining Order
A civil harassment restraining order is the most common type of restraining order and can be issued in response to any type of violence (such as battery) or in the case of a credible threat of violence. The third way to qualify for a civil harassment restraining order is if there has been a pattern of behavior that reasonable scares, annoys, or harasses you.
The person you are seeking to restrain must also have no legal excuse for his or her behavior (for example, someone cannot file a restraining order against his or her landlord if the landlord is “annoying” when seeking late rent because the landlord had a legal excuse to “annoy” the tenant.
Domestic Violence Restraining Order
A domestic violence restraining order is only issued in cases where a personal relationship exists between the two parties. The relationship must be one that is defined by statute. In order to qualify for a domestic violence restraining order, the person seeking the order and the person he or she is seeking to restrain must be married, registered domestic partners, divorced, separated, dating (or used to date), have a child together, live together (or used to live together), or be closely related. “Closely related” means the relationship must be: parent-child, brother-brother, brother-sister, sister-sister, or grandparent-grandchild. If the person seeking the order is under 12 years old, he or she must have his or her parent or legal guardian file the proper paperwork.
Domestic violence restraining orders can be granted if there is a qualifying relationship and if there is evidence of abuse or the threat of abuse. Finally, the abuse in question does not need to be physical, it can be emotional in nature.
Elder Abuse Restraining Order
An elder abuse restraining order is different from other types of restraining orders because it allows for an order to be issued as a result of financial abuse only or as a result of abandonment, deprivation or neglect. An elder abuse restraining order can also be issued for physical abuse of an elder, similar to other types of retraining orders.
Workplace Violence Restraining Order
A workplace violence restraining order can only be requested by an employer on behalf of an employee (employees must file documents requesting a Civil Harassment Restraining Order). The employee that the employer is requesting the order on behalf of must have suffered stalking, serious harassment, physical violence, or the credible threat of violence (a credible threat of violence is a “knowing and willful” statement or pattern of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety).
Restraining Order Process
While the documents that need to be filed and the requirements for the orders may be different, the process for obtaining or fighting a restraining order is the same for all types of restraining orders that are described above.
The Temporary Restraining Order
The first part of most restraining order processes is the temporary restraining order request. You should always consult with an attorney to determine which type of order to request (or defend) and to determine whether or not “notice” is required in a temporary order request and whether a temporary order is appropriate at all. Some situations will only require a permanent order to be requested.
Once the temporary order is granted (or not granted), a hearing regarding the issuance of a permanent order is scheduled. This permanent restraining order hearing is typically scheduled about three weeks after the temporary restraining order goes into effect. The other side must be personally served (handed) with specific documents stating the time and place of the hearing, the allegations contained within the request, and form documents with which to respond. A permanent restraining order can be denied if all required documents are not properly served.
Permanent Order Hearing
At the hearing to determine whether or not the permanent restraining should be granted, each side is allowed a chance to present evidence. First, the person seeking the restraining order (called the petitioner) calls its witnesses. Witnesses may be eyewitnesses or may provide other types of testimony (called indirect testimony).
The other side (referred to as the respondent) or his or her attorney then has an opportunity to cross-examine all of the petitioner’s witnesses.
After the petitioner has called all of his or her witnesses, the respondent then has a chance to affirmatively have any of his or her witnesses testify. After being examined, the petitioner (or his or her attorney) may then cross-examine all of the respondent’s witnesses.
At the conclusion of testimony and after the introduction into evidence of any exhibits either side is seeking to enter into evidence, each side may present a closing argument. A closing argument incorporates the facts into the law and discusses why the contentions of one side should be favored over the other. At the end of closing arguments, the judge may issue a decision right then or may take the matter under submission (this means he or she will make a decision later and issue the decision in writing to both sides).
Restraining Order Conditions
While the judge decides what conditions to place on a restrained person if he or she decides to grant the restraining order, most restraining orders have similar conditions. Typically, the restrained person is prohibited from having any contact with the restrained person, and may not, harass, attack, strike, hit, threaten, assault, follow, stalk, molest, destroy the personal property, surveil, or block the movements of the protected person. Orders can also restrict the protected person from coming within a certain distance of school, home or place of employment of the protected person. Finally, a restraining order can, at times, force a restrained person to move out of his or her residence.
You are permitted to appeal a judge’s decision in a restraining order. Restraining order appeals are heard by 3 judge panels in the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals for Los Angeles is the Second Appellate District.
Appeals are only granted if the judge made a mistake in his or her application of the law. Appeals of restraining orders will not be successful if the only allegation of error on the part of the judge is that he or she believed the wrong side’s version of events. These “issues of fact” are final. Issues related to the law and its application are not final and may be appealed.
Restraining Orders in Los Angeles
While restraining order violation allegations are handled by Los Angeles County’s criminal courts, the issuance of restraining orders fall within the jurisdiction of the county’s civil courts, specifically, family law courts. Therefore, because different judges and different courthouses handle criminal and civil matters, a judge that issues a restraining order would, absent unusual circumstances, not be the judge that presides over an alleged violation of that restraining order.
Restraining order hearings in most of Los Angeles are handled at the downtown civil courthouse, known as the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, 111 North Hill Street in Los Angeles. Parking is available nearby at the Los Angeles Music Center’s Disney Concert Hall Structure. Criminal restraining order violations that occur in Los Angeles are handled various Los Angeles criminal courthouses, including Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center (210 W Temple Street, Los Angeles), the Los Angeles Airport Courthouse (11701 S La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles), Van Nuys Courthouse West (14400 Erwin Street Mall, Van Nuys).
To be penalized for violating a restraining order, a criminal prosecutor (a city attorney or district attorney) must be able to prove that the restrained person went somewhere or said something that violates either a permanent or temporary restraining order made by a judge. The prosecutor must also be able to prove that the restrained person acted intentionally, knowingly violating the order.
There is no minimum amount of custody required for someone who is found guilty of violating a restraining order. However, if an injury occurs as a result of the restraining order violation, a minimum of 30 days in county jail is required. If the injuries are serious or the restrained person has a previous conviction for violating a restraining order in the last seven years, the penalties can increase and the restrained person can be charged with a a felony. In cases involving injuries or credible threats of violence, criminal prosecutors can also charge defendants with assault, battery, or with making criminal threats.
Call (213) 973-0051 to contact us for a free and confidential restraining order consultation.
Below are pages discussing restraining orders in local courts and links to other pages with useful info: