In the event that someone feels threatened by the actions or behaviors of another individual, he or she can petition the court to issue a restraining order against his or her offenders. Restraining orders are a way to maintain your safety by making sure anyone who is a threat is kept at bay by the law. But how much do you actually know about restraining orders in California?

Types of Restraining Orders

Depending on the potential threat available, courts can issue a variety of restraining orders.

  1. Civil Harassment Restraining Order (CHO)

CHOs are the most common types of restraining orders across the US. This order of protection is used against people who generally abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten their victims. CHOs apply to cases where the relationship between the petitioner and the respondent is of a non-domestic nature. People who fall under this bracket may include former friends, roommates, or distant family members. In order to qualify for a CHO according to California Courts, the court will only issue you a CHO if:

  • You have been abused
  • Respondent threatens to abuse
  • You have been sexually assaulted, stalked, or constantly harassed
  • There is the fear of imminent threat or serious annoyance
  • You have had no close relationships with the respondent
  1. Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (DVRO)

As the term suggests, this type of restraining order only applies to people who are in a domestic relationship. By law, a domestic relationship is one where the parties are in an intimate relationship or are related by blood or marriage. It is also important to note that couples who have been in a relationship for the past six months also fall under this category.

Contrary to popular belief, abuse doesn’t just include drastic physical harm like hitting or kicking. Domestic violence may include emotional or psychological abuse. Example of this are when a partner threatens to cause harm or stalk the victim. Regardless of the type of abuse one may face, a domestic violence restraining order can only be issued on people who currently or previously shared an intimate relationship or were otherwise related by blood or marriage.

  1. Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO)

As part of the campaign on implementing stricter gun laws, the Gun Violence Restraining Order has come a long way in ensuring the safety of people. The California Pen Code 18100-18122 gives the general provision of what GVROs entail. This type of restraining order is issued to people in order to prevent them from obtaining, handling, or purchasing a firearm or ammunition for a defined period. Just like DVROs, one can only petition for a gun violence restraining order against someone they have or have had a close relationship with, including current or previous household members with no filial relationships. For the longest time, GVROs were only valid for three years, but the AB-12 on Firearms validity for five years.

  1. Workplace Violence Restraining Order (WVRO)

While the victims of a threat or danger are often the ones to petition for a restraining order, the court also offers a leeway for employers to do the same on behalf of their employees. Since this type of restraining order will more than likely affect your workplace dynamics, it is advisable to first seek legal assistance for advice on possible setbacks or adjustments before asking your employer to petition for one.

  1. Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Orders (EDAARO)

Courts can also issue restraining orders for the elderly or dependent adults who face abuse or potential threat. An elderly citizen is one who is 65 years and over in age, while a dependant adult is anyone between 18 years and 64 years with physical or mental restrictions that makes it difficult or impossible to perform daily tasks. Victims in this category go through various kinds of abuse, including neglect, isolation, and financial abuse or any type of behavior likely to cause mental or emotional anguish.

How long do restraining orders last?

Now that you know which type of restraining order to petition for, you may also be wondering about its validity in terms of time. Restraining orders are not meant to last forever since they serve the purpose of offering temporary protection from threats. However, the duration of a restraining order strongly depends on the severity of the threat. Here’s a brief overview of how courts can issue restraining orders within a given period:

TypePeriod Purpose
Emergency Protective Restraining Order5 business days or
7 calendar days
Obtained by law enforcement from a judge or commissioner to prevent an immediate danger
Temporary Restraining Order20 – 25
Issued pending a court hearing by a judge to protect someone leading up to the days of the hearing
Permanent Restraining Order3-5
Issued after a court ruling to solidify a temporary restraining order
Stay-Away Order3 yearsA court issues a criminal protective order against the defendant in an ongoing case temporarily with the possibility of escalating to a permanent restraining order if found guilty.

What’s Next?

Restraining orders can be done individually, and lawyers are not a requirement for filing one. The state has numerous online and courthouse resources petitioners can use at their disposal. The LA Self-Help Center is one such place petitioners can find useful information on how to start the process of getting a restraining order. However, the process, like any other legal process, might be confusing to the layman; hence, having a lawyer to guide you through the process can make the process run smoother. With Don Hammond as your lawyer, you are guaranteed professional services on filing for a restraining order or navigating a situation in which a restraining order has been filed against you.