Are You Looking For a Family Law Attorney to Help With a Protective Order?
Restraining orders are a very serious matter that requires a multi-step legal process.
A restraining order is issued after some clear sign of abuse or intimidation has been discovered by the court. Emergency restraining orders are useful to individuals who need a fast and legal way to prevent an abuser from making further contact with them, but long-lasting restraining orders require more hoops for you and a lawyer to jump through.
The Law Offices of Nigel Burns has provided great service to the people of southern California as a Los Angeles domestic violence attorney. Our firm has compiled the following guide to provide a greater understanding of what a restraining order entails and answer the question of what do I need to get a restraining order. The guide will also help individuals make a final determination as to whether they need a lawyer.
What is a Restraining Order?
A restraining order is a temporary order issued by the court with the intent of preventing further harm from an abuser. The order will instruct your abuser to remain a certain distance away from you, refrain from harassing you, and make no efforts to cause you any physical, mental, or emotional discomfort.
The civil order often includes specific instructions for the other party to stay away from your home, place of employment, and other locations you are known to frequent.
Who Can Obtain a Restraining Order?
Any person that has been a victim of domestic violence can obtain a restraining order, and this means abuse by a spouse as well as former or present household members.
The protections provided by a restraining order are extended to domestic abuse victims of any age who suffer at the hands of a person who is responsible for their parenting. These protections are also extended to individuals who were previously dating.
If you endured any of the following behavior, then you can get a restraining order:
- Criminal restraint, mischief, or sexual contact
- False Imprisonment
- Sexual Assault
- Lewd Behavior
- Criminal Trespass
What Can a Restraining Order Specifically Do?
An Order of Protection signed by a judge will provide a specific list of dos and don'ts for your abuser. Restraining orders typically give orders like the following:
- The abuser is disallowed to initiate contact with you in any manner. There are times when this portion of the order will be extended to other members of your family.
- The abuser may be instructed to vacate the home you share together.
- In most cases, you will maintain custody of your children. The rights of the abuser to visitation is on a case by case basis.
- The court will sometimes order the abuser to pay any bills that resulted from his or her actions. Examples are medical expenses, bills for the house that are currently due, lost wages, and moving expenses.
- The court can order domestic violence counseling or order an abuser to get help with a substance abuse problem.
- A police escort can be ordered for the purpose of a supervised removal of all goods of the abuser from the household.
- The court possesses the power to add any unique provisions to a restraining order that fits your particular situation.
How Long Does Restraining Order Protection Last?
The first protection order you receive is known as a temporary restraining order and will only be good for a set amount of days. Both you and your abuser will be required to make a court appearance on the date specified in the temporary restraining order. The local police or sheriff's department will issue your abuser a copy of the restraining order immediately upon issue. You should keep a copy of the order accessible to you at all times and show it to the police whenever you think there may be a problem.
Once you go through the legal process along with your civil court attorney, you can get a restraining order that will make your abuser stay away from you for several years.
Both you and the other party involved with the restraining will have the opportunity to express your respective sides of the story once you see a judge. You are allowed to bring an attorney with you if you choose but it is not required for you to do so.
Once both sides have stated their case, the judge will determine whether a permanent order is called for as well as the time period and other conditions to be attached to the order.
If your abuser is not present in court, the judge may continue the temporary restraining order. In some cases, the court will make a determination on the final order without the other party if the abuser received sufficient notice of the court date.
What to Expect After Court
You will receive a copy of the protective order from the court. If you retain the services of a civil litigation lawyer, ask him or her to explain any provision of the order you do not understand.
Keep your copy of the protective order with you at all times and do not hesitate to call the police if your abuser does not comply.
What Happens if a Protective Order is Violated?
The police will arrest an abuser that is not fully compliant with a protective order. If the violation includes another crime, the police will charge your abuser with contempt of the protective order. If you are injured by your abuser, you should immediately contact a legal professional.
When Can I File Criminal Charges?
By simply breaking the terms of the restraining order, your abuser is breaking the law. This fact makes it possible for you to file criminal charges on your abuser at any point you choose to do so.
If the actions of your abuser are serious enough, the prosecutor will file criminal charges against him or her whether you decide to do so or not. The police will also file charges on an abuser when there are visible signs of an injury or if a weapon was used to commit the abuse. Your abuser will also not be able to do certain activities like purchase guns.
The Bottom Line
Domestic abuse is a serious matter that can have life and death consequences. If you need an attorney for a restraining order hearing, this is a good sign you need to reach out to a lawyer for a consultation. We are here to help you through the process so that you feel safe and comfortable.