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Defending Against a Domestic Violence Restraining Order

Posted on in Domestic Violence

San Jose domestic violence restraining order defense attorneyThe state of California takes domestic violence very seriously, and state laws allow someone who has been abused or is under the threat of harm to receive a restraining order to protect their safety. While it is important to protect the victims of abuse, false accusations against alleged abusers can result in a great deal of emotional distress, financial hardship, and damage to personal relationships. If you have been served with a domestic violence restraining order, you should understand your rights and the steps you can take to defend against the charges.

Restraining Orders in California

A person can seek a restraining order against a spouse, ex-spouse, domestic partner, close family member, or parent of their child who has abused or threatened to abuse them. When granted by a judge, restraining orders can require someone to stay away from the alleged victims and their children and relatives, move out of their house, pay child support and/or partner support, or follow certain other orders.

There are three types of domestic violence restraining orders in California:

  • An Emergency Protective Order (EPO) is meant to protect someone who is in immediate danger of harm. EPOs can be issued 24 hours a day, they go into effect immediately, and they can last for up to seven days.
  • A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) can provide a victim with protection between when their request for a restraining order is filed and when they have a court hearing. TROs usually last 20 to 25 days.
  • A “permanent” restraining order is issued after a court hearing if a judge believes that it is necessary, and it can last for up to five years.

Responding to a Restraining Order

If a request for a restraining order has been filed against you, you will be served with the restraining order papers before the date of the court hearing in which a judge will decide whether to issue a permanent restraining order. If you have been served with a restraining order, you should take the following steps:

  1. Read the order carefully and follow its instructions. If an EPO or TRO has been issued, you must abide by its terms until the court hearing. As difficult as it may be to refrain from seeing or communicating with your spouse or children, it is important to follow the order’s instructions, since a violation can result in fines and/or jail time.
  2. Surrender any firearms. A person cannot have a gun in their possession while a restraining order is in effect against them. Any guns you own must be surrendered to the police or sold to a gun dealer.
  3. File an answer. If you want to have your side of the story heard in court, you must file a response to the request for a restraining order. This response should also be mailed by someone other than yourself to the person who requested the restraining order at least two days before the date of the court hearing.
  4. Contact an attorney. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights, assist you in filing a response, and represent you in the court hearing.

Contact a San Jose Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

Sadly, false accusations of domestic abuse are all too common, and they can cause long-lasting repercussions in a family’s lives for years to come. If you have been accused of domestic violence and received notice that a restraining order has been requested against you, the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson can help you defend against these charges and work to minimize the disruption to your life. Contact a San Jose, CA criminal defense attorney today at 408-246-3004 to schedule a free consultation.


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