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Los Angeles Civil Harassment Lawyer

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Knowledgeable Civil Harassment Restraining Order Attorney in Los Angeles, CA, Represents Defendants in Court Hearings in Los Angeles County, Orange County, Ventura County, and Throughout Southern California

Learning that someone has filed a petition for a restraining order against you can come as a shock. It is possible to fight a restraining order petition in California, but you must take action quickly, all while complying with any temporary restraining order in place against you to avoid being criminally charged with a restraining order violation. For help making sense of this situation and figuring out your path forward, turn to a Los Angeles civil harassment lawyer at The Law Offices of Christopher Chaney.

Understanding your options and how to respond to the formal notice of a civil harassment restraining order can be complicated, but you don’t have to do it alone. Contact us today for a free consultation.

818-330-5198Get Help Today. Tell Us Your Story.

Civil Harassment Restraining Orders in Los Angeles, CA

Petitions for restraining orders, including civil harassment orders, are common in L.A. Restraining order matters are typically handled in the county Superior Court, which means the paperwork is filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Areas Where a Los Angeles Civil Harassment Lawyer at The Law Offices of Christopher Chaney Can Assist You

Our restraining order attorneys help clients all over Los Angeles fight unreasonable restraining orders. Whether you live, work, or were served papers in Hollywood, Beach Cities/LAX, Westside, Pasadena, or Downtown L.A., you can count on us to bring to your case decades of legal defense experience.

How to Respond to a Civil Harassment Restraining Order

What should you do when you have received notice that a friend, neighbor, classmate, coworker, or distant relative is seeking to file a restraining order against you?

Carefully Read the Paperwork

The first step you need to take when faced with a restraining order petition is to carefully read all of the documents you have been served. This paperwork contains important information specific to your unique situation, including the name of the person who filed the petition, the specific orders that apply directly to you, and your court date.

Make a note of your court date, and make sure you are prepared to attend. That may include taking a day off of work or school or finding childcare, if necessary.

As you read the forms you have received, take notes on what has already been done (is a temporary restraining order in place?) and what is required of you now (do your orders include stay-away, personal conduct requirements, or the surrender of firearms?). If you have any questions, write them down.

Consult a Los Angeles Civil Harassment Lawyer

The ideal person to bring your questions to is a criminal defense attorney who has experience assisting Los Angeles residents with civil harassment hearings. Not only can a seasoned legal professional explain the process of fighting a restraining order to you, but they can also draw upon the skills they use to defend against criminal charges to build a strong case on your behalf.

Prepare for the Court Hearing

There’s a lot riding on the outcome of this court hearing. If the restraining order against you is granted, you will be forced to comply with the restrictions or else risk criminal consequences, like jail time, for the entire time the order is in effect. That could be up to five years. Because you may have to avoid not only the protected person but also the places the alleged victim regularly visits, you may have to change your routine in numerous ways that negatively affect your life.

Take the approaching court hearing seriously. Your attorney can assist you in preparing to appear in court and gathering the evidence that supports your arguments against granting a restraining order.

What Is a Civil Harassment Order in California?

California law recognizes several types of restraining orders, or court orders that restrict one person’s activities for the intended protection of another person. Each type of restraining order is slightly different, usually in regard to who can request that type of order.

A civil harassment restraining order is the broadest type of protective order a party can file against a defendant (the person being restrained). It allows anyone who is not in an intimate or domestic relationship with the defendant, is not alleging elder abuse at the hands of the defendant, and is not seeking the court order as an employer or a representative of a school to request a restraining order.

Who Can File a Civil Harassment Restraining Order Against You?

Examples of a person who may be able to file a request for this type of restraining order against you include:

  • A friend or former friend
  • A relative who is too distantly related to you to constitute domestic violence, including an uncle, aunt, or cousin
  • A former in-law
  • A roommate
  • A neighbor
  • A coworker
  • A classmate
  • A tenant
  • A landlord
  • A casual acquaintance
  • A stranger

What Does a Civil Harassment Order Mean for the Restrained Person?

When a restraining order is issued, the court will require the restrained person (the defendant) to refrain from engaging in any acts listed in the order.

The orders by which a defendant is bound in a civil harassment restraining order can vary, but they may include:

  • Being restricted from contacting the protected person by any means, for any reason
  • Being prohibited from stalking, threatening, harming, or harassing the protected person
  • Not being allowed within a certain distance of the individual and, potentially, of their home or other places they frequent
  • Being prohibited from possessing firearms, which may mean you must surrender, store, or sell any guns you currently own

If the paperwork you are served indicates that a temporary restraining order has been placed against you, then you must comply with all of the orders it encompasses even before you get your day in court.

Restraining Order Process in California

Once the person petitioning for the protective order submits a Request for Civil Harassment Restraining Orders form and other related forms, you will receive a court date and, potentially, notice of any temporary restraining order (TRO) the judge has granted in your case. This temporary restraining order will take effect immediately, and if you violate this order, you may face criminal charges.

If issued, the temporary restraining order will generally last for 21 days or until the date of a court hearing. This hearing is important because it is where evidence for and against granting the restraining order may be presented to the judge, who will decide whether to put a permanent restraining order in place. Civil harassment restraining orders can remain in effect for up to five years from the court hearing date upon which the order was issued.

Before the restraining order court hearing, the defendant must be served with a copy of this order by a process server or other qualified people, such as an attorney, and proof of service must be filed to the court. You should go to the court hearing, but merely attending is not enough. You need to be prepared with evidence in your favor, an understanding of courtroom rules and conduct, and a compelling argument not to grant a permanent restraining order against you.

This is a tall order for anyone without a legal background to accomplish on their own, especially in the relatively short time you are given to build your case. If you’re serious about fighting the restraining order petition, you should involve an experienced civil harassment restraining order attorney in Los Angeles, CA, in your case.

Fighting a Restraining Order in California

The court hearing before the judge allows you to fight the alleged victim’s efforts to place a restraining order on you. In California, the Code of Civil Procedure governs restraining orders against strangers or non-domestic acquaintances. Your attorney will use these laws as the basis upon which to defend you.

Under California law (Section 527.6. of the Code of Civil Procedure), for a judge to issue a restraining order, the person seeking this court order must present “clear and convincing evidence” of the behaviors that, they claim, constitute unlawful harassment. This means that the burden of proof for obtaining a civil harassment restraining order in California is on the person seeking the protective order, not the person against whom it is being filed.

For the plaintiff to successfully request a restraining order, they will have to provide admissible evidence that the alleged harassment has caused reasonable psychological distress. There must also be evidence that, unless the court issues a restraining order against the accused, the plaintiff will suffer severe and lasting harm or fall victim to violence. With the help of your attorney and the evidence in your favor, you can highlight weaknesses in the alleged victim’s arguments of harassment and refute any untrue or exaggerated claims of your supposed pattern of abuse or threatening behavior.

What Happens at a Restraining Order Hearing in California?

The outcome of the court hearing depends on which parties show up and what testimony and other evidence they are able to provide.

If you, as the defendant, do not attend the hearing, you will have no input on whether it’s reasonable for a permanent restraining order, valid for up to five years, to be issued against you. On the other hand, if the alleged victim does not participate in the hearing, any temporary orders against you will end that day, and no further decisions will be made on issuing a permanent restraining order.

At the court hearing, the judge will listen to testimony from both parties (and their attorneys) and any potential witnesses, such as the arresting law enforcement officer, if applicable.

Then, the judge may do one of the following:

  • Grant the restraining order against you with all requested protections
  • Grant a few of the requested protections, but not all
  • Deny the petition for a permanent restraining order against you
  • Delay the case and reschedule a new court date

If the judge delays the case, the temporary order is in effect until the next hearing date, at which time the restraining order will be granted with all protections, granted with partial protections, or denied.

Throughout the process of preparing for the hearing and presenting your case, you must remain in compliance with the restrictions placed by any temporary restraining order that has been granted against you.

Contact a Los Angeles Civil Harassment Lawyer at The Law Offices of Christopher Chaney Today for a Free Consultation

If you believe that a California civil harassment restraining order has been unfairly issued against you, having solid legal assistance is essential. With our extensive criminal defense background, The Law Offices of Christopher Chaney can help you present the most compelling case possible for denying the restraining order petition.

For help from a civil harassment attorney in Los Angeles, CA, contact The Law Offices of Christopher Chaney online or call (310) 209-3999 today.

Civil Harassment Restraining Order Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

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Regardless of your circumstance, you are not alone in your fight. We are ready to stand by your side and fight for your rights, freedom, and reputation. Contact us today to schedule a free remote or in-person consultation, and let us assist you in finding a solution to your problem.