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The 4 Different Types of Restraining Orders in California

Restraining orders play a crucial role in ensuring safety and protection for individuals facing various forms of harassment or danger.

In California, there are four major types of restraining orders, each designed to address specific situations and relationships:

Let’s delve into these specific restraining orders so we can get a better understanding of their nuances.

Civil Harassment Restraining Orders

These specific restraining orders are typically the most common restraining orders filed, and they are applicable when there is no intimate relationship between the parties involved. Typically, these are filed if there is some form of harassment in a scenario involving neighbors, roommates, friends, coworkers, and even strangers.

This category encompasses a wide range of relationships, from neighbors to coworkers, making it versatile in addressing various conflicts.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

Intended for individuals with an intimate relationship or close blood relation. A domestic violence restraining order covers cases involving spouses, ex-partners, siblings, and more.

If you’re dealing with threats or harm from a person with whom you share an intimate relationship or close blood bond, domestic violence restraining orders can be a great form of recourse. This type of order is particularly vital for ensuring the safety of individuals who may be vulnerable within familial or romantic connections.

Elder Abuse or Dependent Adult Restraining Orders

These restraining orders apply to individuals aged 65 or older and dependent adults requiring care. They can be filed by a caretaker through the power of attorney or legal authority.

Elder abuse restraining orders offer protection to senior citizens and dependent adults in need of care. If you’re in a position to file on behalf of an elderly or dependent adult, these orders ensure their safety and well-being in situations where they might be at risk.

Workplace Violence Restraining Orders

This type of restraining order can only be filed for employers and is done so for employee protection. They are filed when there’s a credible threat of violence at the workplace.
Workplace violence restraining orders are distinct in that they’re initiated by employers to safeguard their employees. If there’s a legitimate threat of violence endangering the workplace’s security, an employer can seek this specific restraining order to ensure a safe working environment.

Understanding the Evidence Needed in Restraining Order Cases

In the legal realm, the “burden of proof” signifies the level of evidence required to establish a claim. The burden of proof varies across these restraining order categories, each reflecting the nature of the relationship and the potential threat.

  • Clear and Convincing Evidence: The burden of proof for civil harassment restraining orders and workplace violence restraining orders requires “clear and convincing” evidence. In simple terms, this indicates that there is a high standard that needs to be met to establish the necessity of the order. This is the second-highest burden in the legal field.
  • Preponderance of the Evidence: Both elder abuse restraining orders and domestic violence restraining orders require a “preponderance of the evidence.” In simple terms, this means that the evidence must prove something is more likely than not.
  • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: In criminal cases, the highest burden of proof is required, emphasizing the need for an overwhelming amount of evidence to prove the claim. All restraining orders have a lower standard of proof than criminal cases.

Note: While percentages aren’t assigned to these standards, they can be roughly visualized. “Preponderance of the Evidence” would be about 51%, “clear and convincing evidence” falls around 75-80%, and “beyond a reasonable doubt” resides in the 90% range. It is important to note that these are not real percentages, but they do provide an idea of the incremental increases in the burden of proof in restraining order cases.

Seeking Legal Assistance for Your Restraining Order Needs

Navigating the world of restraining orders can be complex, especially when considering the specific type of restraining order that best suits your situation. Whether you’re grappling with civil harassment, domestic violence, elder abuse, or workplace violence issues, seeking legal counsel is invaluable.

At The Nieves Law Firm, we handle all aspects of restraining orders, both on the petitioner and respondent sides. With our extensive experience and proven success record, we’re here to guide you through the legal intricacies and ensure your safety and protection.

If you have questions about restraining orders, burden of proof, or need assistance with legal matters, don’t hesitate to reach out. Your safety and well-being are our top priorities. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation, explore your options, and secure the protection you deserve.

Author Bio

Jo-Anna Nieves is the Founder and Managing Attorney of The Nieves Law Firm, an Oakland criminal defense law firm she created in 2012. With more than 11 years of experience in criminal defense, she has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, domestic violence, expungement, federal crimes, juvenile law, motions to vacate, sex crimes, violent crimes, and other criminal charges.

Jo-Anna received her Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named a Super Lawyer Rising Star the past 8 years, the #12 Fastest Growing Law Firm in the U.S. by Law Firm 500 in 2019, and one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. by Inc 5000 in 2023.

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