Oakland Civil Harassment Restraining Orders
Individuals may file civil harassment restraining orders based on allegations of physical violence, a credible threat of violence or an ongoing course of conduct that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses another party with no legitimate purpose. The effects of Oakland civil harassment restraining orders can be harsh, so avoiding the potential repercussions of these orders can be critical. If others have asked a court to issue a restraining order against you, contacting an attorney right away may be the most effective step toward avoiding an unwanted outcome.
A criminal attorney could defend your rights and put together the defense strategy that is most likely to be successful in your case. Defense counsel could analyze and assess the evidence against you and help you determine all available options. By getting the advice that you need, you may be able to minimize the impact of a restraining order on your life.
Defining Harassment in Oakland
California Code of Civil Procedure § 527.6 defines harassment as any of the following behaviors:
- Unlawful violence
- Credible threats of violence
- An intentional course of conduct directed toward a specific person that serves no legitimate purpose other than to alarm, annoy or harass another person seriously
This section also defines a credible threat of violence as an intentional statement or course of conduct that reasonably places people in fear for their safety or the safety of their immediate family. A course of conduct occurs when individuals engage in a pattern of behavior over time, no matter how short, that show a continuity of purpose. These acts may consist of following others, stalking, or making harassing phone calls or other types of communications.
Eligibility for Civil Harassment Restraining Orders
Under Ca. Code of Civ. Pro. § 527.6, qualified individuals can seek a temporary and a permanent order after hearing prohibiting the alleged harassment. Civil harassment restraining orders in Oakland are only available between people who do not have close intimate relationships, such as neighbors, roommates, friends, or acquaintances. If the accused is closely related to the complaining party or the parties previously dated, a civil harassment restraining order is unavailable. Instead, the complaining party would have to seek a domestic violence restraining order.
Other people who may be eligible to become the subject of a civil harassment restraining order might include landlords or family members who are more than two degrees removed, such as aunts, uncles, or cousins. Likewise, if the complaining party is an adult who is at least 65 years of age or mentally or physically disabled, he or she often must seek an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order as opposed to a civil harassment restraining order.
Refuting the Need for Legal Protection
People who receive restraining orders for civil harassment in Oakland may wish to take immediate action to protect their rights. By obtaining legal counsel, they can take the steps necessary to counter the order. For instance, a knowledgeable lawyer may be able to help them file a written response to the temporary civil harassment restraining order.
An experienced criminal attorney also could represent defendants at a hearing on the permanent harassment restraining order, as well as at any related criminal proceedings. As the issuance of a civil harassment restraining order can impact job opportunities, civil liberties, and more, seeking the assistance of skilled legal counsel could be crucial to a positive outcome of the case.
A civil harassment restraining order also can place significant restrictions on where individuals may legally be present and his or her ability to contact the protected persons. Violating a civil harassment restraining order is a misdemeanor criminal offense, so individuals must be aware of the potential consequences of doing so. If a court finds that persons violated one of these orders, they may be required to serve up to one year in jail and pay a $1,000 fine. Violation of a restraining order is also punishable by civil contempt which can result in 5 days in jail per violation (or 120 hours of community service per violation) and a $1000 fine per violation. For example if a restrained party called a protected party 5 times – each phone call could be alleged as a separate civil contempt violation.
Handling Civil Harassment Restraining Orders in Oakland
Fully understanding the provisions of Oakland civil harassment restraining orders, as well as the repercussions for violating them can be critical. If you fail to abide by the terms of even a temporary injunction, you could face criminal charges. No matter the accusations against you, consulting legal counsel in this situation may be wise.
Getting legal advice and working with a skilled restraining order attorney may be the most effective way of ensuring that your legal rights are adequately protected.