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Do You Have to Go to Court for a Restraining Order in California?

Male Judge Writing On Paper In Courtroom

If you have been the victim of domestic violence, you can use a restraining order to put distance between yourself and the abuser. In California, you will need to go to court to get a restraining order that lasts, and you might have to go multiple times. For this reason, many people who want to use a restraining order to protect themselves from future abuse choose to work with an attorney at the start of the process.

Asking for a Temporary Restraining Order

The process of obtaining a restraining order usually begins with asking for a temporary restraining order. As the name implies, a temporary restraining order usually lasts for about 30 days.

To get a temporary restraining order, you will technically need to go to court to submit an official court document to receive the restraining order. This process isn’t in-depth and won’t place you in an involved court case before a judge, but it does require the court’s attention.

Arguing for a Long-Term Restraining Order

When a temporary restraining order is scheduled to end soon, a California judge will have to hear the case to decide whether the restraining order should be allowed to expire or if it should be turned into a long-term restraining order that can last up to 5 years. This step is when you will get far more involved with the court.

The process of getting a long-term restraining order approved involves:

  • Explaining to the judge why you need the restraining order to be extended to a long-term restraining order.
  • Bringing witnesses to the court to help your argument.
  • Showing evidence that supports your case, like police reports or medical records.

You should know that the person who you want to limit with a restraining order will get the chance during this court hearing to explain why a long-term restraining order is unjustified. To prepare for what they might say and what the court expects to see in your case, you should always start with the counsel of a family law attorney or domestic violence lawyer.

If the long-term restraining order is approved, the judge will determine how long it should last, with a maximum duration of five years. When the long-term restraining order is set to expire soon, this process can be repeated, with you and the restrained person going back to court to argue your positions again. It’s possible for a long-term restraining order to be reapproved again and again, indefinitely, in certain circumstances.

Using Emergency Protective Orders

It is possible to get an emergency protective order (EPO) without going to court. A law enforcement officer has the authority to grant an emergency protective order on the spot if they respond to a domestic violence call and see clear evidence of abuse. An EPO cannot last more than 7 days, but it still has the power to keep the abuser away from the victim and their family at the threat of criminal consequences. While the EPO is in place, you can decide to use a temporary restraining order to extend it.

Getting Help from an Attorney

Of course, another way you can get a restraining order without worrying about getting caught up in courtroom procedures is by hiring an attorney to act on your behalf. Your lawyer can go to court for you in many situations, such as when filing temporary restraining order papers with the court.

However, judges like to speak directly with the people who request and who will be affected by a restraining order to get a fair assessment of the situation. If you can attend court for any step in the process of getting and using a restraining order, it would be best if you did. Your attorney can still lead the way and represent you in court, but your presence will be helpful if the judge has any questions or concerns about the case.

Do you live in Orange County and need to use a restraining order to protect yourself and your family? Start by contacting Gill Law Group, PC. Our restraining order lawyers can help you understand the process of getting an emergency, temporary, or long-term restraining order and guide you through it from start to finish. You can also rely on us if you think you are being unfairly targeted by an unjustified restraining order, so call (949) 681-9952 the moment you want legal help.