How to prove your case for a California Restraining Order
a. Types of Orders
In California there are generally three options of Restraining Orders, Civil Harassment, Domestic Violence, and Elder or Dependent Adult abuse. Each option deals specifically with the type of relationship shared between the person asking for protection, referred under the law as the Petitioner, and the person whom is accused of the abuse, the Respondent. These rulings and decisions are made by a Judge of the Superior Court and are a court order that will constrict the rights of a respondent’s freedom of movement and will remove the protections of the 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms. These orders are very serious and can result in jail time if they are not followed.
Harassment under California law is shown through unlawful violence. Unlawful violence includes actions such as battery, assault, sexual assault, or stalking. Harassment can also be shown through a credible threat of violence that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously afraid for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family. The law even allows orders to protect against threats that seriously scare, annoy, or otherwise harass another.
2. Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence in California is any of the violence or harassment described above committed by a spouse or domestic partner, or former spouse or domestic partner, anyone you have romantically dated at any time, or a close relative such as a parent, child, sibling, grandparent, or an in-law. When there is a close romantic or familial relationship, a domestic violence restraining order could provide the proper solution.
3. Elder Abuse or Dependent Adult abuse
If you are 65 and older, or between 18 and 64 and living as a dependent adult, you can file a special type of California Civil Harassment Restraining Order called an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order.
A dependent adult is a person that has certain mental or physical disabilities that keep them from being able to do normal activities or protect themselves from abuse.
Abuse is defined in California as physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other behavior that causes physical harm, pain, or mental suffering. Abuse can also be from a caregiver of things or services that the elder or dependent adult needs to avoid physical harm or mental and emotional suffering.
b. How to prove your case for a Restraining Order
Due to the deprivation of rights involved, the hearing to issue a permanent restraining order will give you, the Petitioner, the opportunity to present evidence and call witnesses to testify as to why the order should be extended against the Respondent. Each side the ,Petitioner and Respondent, will have the opportunity to be heard in open court, present exhibits, make arguments, call witnesses, and cross-examine adverse witnesses.
A declaration is a written statement to the court from a victim or witness that will outline the need for the courts action to issue this order. The declaration[s] will be included in the initial filing of the order, and will often be the first impression the Judge will have of you and the Respondent’s actions. For this reason the initial declaration must be clear and strong and outline the most recent and serious accounts of the abuse. If you need any help in formulating your declaration, please contact an experienced family law attorney to organize your declaration for the strongest and most effective declaration possible.
Generally exhibits will be any photos of injures or property damages, recordings of threats, videos of violence or prior violence, or any physical evidence to show the abuse alleged in the declaration. Exhibits can also include police reports, and threatening emails and/or text messages. The rules of evidence can be somewhat relaxed at these hearings and may not require laying the proper foundation for its admissibility.
Witnesses can also be called to testify and give credit to the Petitioners accounts of the violence alleged in the declaration. These witnesses’ can also testify by declaration rather than be in court if they are unable to attend the hearing.
Overall, deciding how to handle your California Restraining Order case depends on your individual circumstances so it’s imperative you contact an experienced attorney to assist your needs. Feel free to reach me directly at The Law Offices of Filer-Palmer: 310.601.7113.