In California, there are legal measures in place to protect individuals who have been subjected to various unwelcome and illegal behaviors. One such measure is a civil harassment restraining order, often simply referred to as a “restraining order.” 

Those enduring ongoing abuse and threats of abuse, sexual assault, and stalking by another party can seek redress from the courts through this order.

As defined under California’s Code of Civil Procedure §527.6, an individual has the right to apply for such an order against anyone perceived as threatening their health or well-being.

No Intimate Relationship Is Necessary

Civil harassment restraining orders differ distinctly from domestic violence restraining orders, which are specifically used in cases involving current or former spouses or intimate partners. Instead, civil harassment restraining orders offer protection when there is no familial relationship between the alleged harasser and the victim.

The Court’s Decision on a Restraining Order

When a civil harassment restraining order is filed, the court works quickly to reach a decision – usually within 24 hours of the filing. This order will start as a temporary protection until an official hearing takes place. However, depending on the circumstances, the order could potentially be extended up to five years.

If there’s a need to renew the restraining order once it expires, fresh evidence of harassment isn’t required. Instead, discretion lies with the judge presiding over the case. They will evaluate all aspects carefully before deciding whether or not an extension is justified.

What Does a Civil Harassment Restraining Order Do?

A civil harassment restraining order grants certain legal protections to the victim. First, it can order an individual accused of harassment to maintain a safe distance from the victim and their family, effectively creating a protective perimeter around them.

Also, if you own firearms while under this order, it is required that you relinquish ownership during its duration. In some cases, it might even influence immigration status.

What These Orders Cannot Do

It’s important to note that there are limits to what this order can do. Unlike other types of legal measures, a civil harassment restraining order cannot force someone to leave their own home or residency. It also cannot order anyone to pay child support, nor does it have the jurisdictional authority to make orders for custody and visitation rights.

Penalties For Violating a Civil Harassment Restraining Order

Disregarding a civil harassment restraining order isn’t just a serious matter – it’s actually criminal. Anyone found guilty of violating such an order can face severe legal consequences.

These penalties may include imprisonment for up to one year and/or the imposition of a fine reaching up to $1,000. 

Defenses To Accusations That You Violated a Restraining Order

If you’re accused of violating a restraining order, it’s essential to know that there are valid defenses that can be raised on your behalf. Below are some commonly used arguments:

Lack of Knowledge

In this defense, an individual asserts they were unaware of the restraining order’s existence and, therefore, could not have intentionally violated its terms.

Lack of Intent

Here, the defendant argues a misunderstanding or lack of clarity regarding the order’s terms, which led to an unintentional violation of the order.

Illegal Issuance

Another line of defense can be arguing the legality of the restraining order’s issuance in itself. If you can provide proof that proper legal procedures were not followed when issuing your restraining order, it will call its enforceability into question.

Before using any of these defenses or other legal strategies, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure you’re making the right decision.

It’s Essential To Work With a Criminal Defense Lawyer If You Were Served a Civil Harassment Restraining Order

Engaging a competent attorney becomes indispensable if you’ve been served with a civil harassment restraining order or accused of violating its stipulations.

We are committed to standing by you every step of the way. With our track record of defending those falsely accused and those who have violated restraining orders, we possess invaluable insights and strategies for navigating complex cases like these.

We will ensure that your side of the story is thoroughly explained at any hearings. If necessary or advantageous, we won’t hesitate to present witnesses in order to bolster your defense.

You don’t need to confront these challenges alone; schedule a free consultation with a San Diego criminal defense lawyer.

Contact a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers Today For Help

For more information please contact the San Diego  Criminal Defense Attorneys at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers for a free consultation, give us a call at (619) 357-4977, or visit our convenient location:

Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers – San Diego Criminal Defense Law Firm
255 Broadway, Ste 1740. San Diego, CA. 92101