A civil harassment restraining order is a court order to protect people from serious harassment, violence, stalking, or threats of violence. These are also generally referred to as injunctions and they are issued in different types of cases. In a restraining order hearing, the parties are called “petitioner” and “respondent.” The petitioner is the person asking for the restraining order (the protected person). The respondent is the person responding to the allegation of harassment (the restrained person).
A civil harassment restraining order may be requested when:
A person has abused, threatened to abuse, sexually assaulted, stalked, or seriously harassed you; AND
You are scared or seriously annoyed or harassed.
Who can and who cannot get a civil harassment restraining order?
A civil harassment restraining order is different from a domestic violence restraining order in several ways. One of the key differences is the relationship of the parties. In a domestic violence restraining order, the parties are:
Spouse/former spouse or partner/former partner
Persons that dated at any point previously,
A close relative such as a parent, sibling, grandparent, or in-laws).
In a civil harassment restraining order, the parties are typically:
People not closely related to the Petitioner
A family member removed more than 2 degrees such as an aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin, or other more distant relatives.
Note: if the petitioner is 65 years or older or a dependent adult, there are special laws and a special type of restraining order to protect such individuals: elder or dependent abuse restraining order.
A civil harassment restraining order is a court order that can order the Respondent (restrained person) to:
Not contact the petitioner or any member of the petitioner’s household
Not go near the petitioner, petitioner’s children, others that live with the petitioner, or go near the petitioner
Stay away from the petitioner’s work, school, or the petitioner’s children’s school and/or
Not have a gun
When the court issues a restraining order, it goes into a statewide electronic information system known as CLETS (California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System). The information is made accessible to law enforcement and may have a significant impact on employment. Furthermore, a CLETS restraining order will show up on a background check.
Filing a request for a restraining order involves filling out official forms and filing those with the court. You may print these forms or obtain a packet from your local courthouse but they may charge you a fee. These forms may differ by county or by courthouse and other forms may be necessary in your jurisdiction. They include:
Generally, you may file a request for a restraining order at the courthouse closest to where the alleged abuse took place. However, every jurisdiction is different so please check with your local courthouse. In Los Angeles County Superior Court, you can check the filing locator here to find out where you should file your restraining order.
Once you have filed your restraining order and paid a filing fee or obtained a fee waiver, you must serve the respondent at least 5 days prior to the hearing. You may obtain the services of your local sheriff’s office or hire a process server to serve the respondent. The forms to be served on the respondent include:
Notice of Court Hearing (CH-109) (completed and file stamped by the clerk)
Temporary Restraining Order (CH-110) if granted
Request for Civil Harassment Restraining Orders (CH-100) (completed and file-stamped by the clerk)
Proof of Firearms Turned In or Sold (CH-800) (blank form)
At the hearing, the Respondent is entitled to one extension for a reasonable period. This means the judge will allow the respondent to have more time to prepare if the Respondent asks for an extension. This extension of time only applies to the respondent. The petitioner may ask for more time but the judge is not required by law to grant the request. At the hearing, the judge will hear the petitioner’s allegations and consider the evidence submitted. The respondent may also submit evidence to fight the allegations of abuse. The judge will typically make his decision immediately after both sides have presented their case in chief.
A restrained person, who is subject to either a Temporary Restraining Order (CH-110) Temporary Restraining Order (CH-110) , or a Restraining Order after Hearing (CH-130) , may not own, possess, buy or try to buy, receive or try to receive, or otherwise get a gun while a Restraining Order is in effect; unless the Court applies the firearm relinquishment exemption. If a restrained person violates this order, it can result in jail and/or $1,000.00 fine. A restrained person who owns, or has control of any guns or other firearms, must turn in all firearms to local law enforcement; or sell, or store the firearms with a licensed gun dealer in accordance with the order of the court. If the court makes this order, the restrained person must comply and then file Proof of Firearms Turned In or Sold (CH-800) . If the restrained person does not obey the court order, they can be charged with a crime. Read How Do I Turn In or Sell My Firearms? (CH-800-INFO) .
Appearing in front of a judge by yourself can be an intimidating experience. Additionally, the laws involving a civil harassment restraining order are complicated. If you are facing a restraining order or need help obtaining a restraining order, Garcia Law Group is here to help you. We’ve handled hundreds of cases and represented individuals on both sides of the aisle. We are here to help you get through this stressful situation. Call now and speak to attorney Joel Garcia for a FREE CONSULTATION.
How to File a Restraining Order
How to Fight a Restraining Order
Different Types of Restraining Orders