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Restraining orders can be put in place when one party fears harm or harassment from another. In many cases, restraining orders are initiated after a domestic violence allegation, assault and battery, stalking, sex crime, or similar offense.

Whether you are looking to file a restraining order against another party or if someone filed one against you, a reliable criminal defense attorney could be essential. Working with a Walnut Creek restraining order lawyer could ensure your rights are protected and your future endeavors are not jeopardized.

Understanding Restraining Orders

Restraining orders are protective decrees issued by a court to protect an individual from being abused, threatened, harassed, or stalked. In some cases, restraining orders may be put in place to protect multiple parties such as members of the same household or family as the person being protected.

There are four main types of restraining order cases in Walnut Creek: Domestic Violence restraining orders, Civil Harassment Restraining Orders, Elder Abuse Restraining Orders, and Workplace Violence restraining orders.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders are reserved for individuals who shared an intimate or close blood relationship like ex-spouses or brother and sister. Domestic Violence Restraining Orders are not for roommates. Roommates, friends, distant relatives, co-workers, strangers, etc. would file a Civil Harassment Restraining Order. Domestic Violence Restraining Orders are proven by a preponderance of the evidence if a showing is made that a past act of abuse occurred. Civil Harassment Restraining Orders must be proven by clear and convincing evidence and must be established with a physical act of violence, credible threat of violence or a continuous course of conduct that seriously annoys, alarms, or harasses and serves no legitimate purpose. Both a Domestic Violence Restraining Order and Civil Harassment Restraining Order can be granted for a max duration of five years.

Elder Abuse Restraining Orders are those that involve elders (above the age of 60) or dependent adults. The maximum duration of an elder abuse restraining order is five years. Workplace violence restraining orders must be sought out by an employer on behalf of protecting an employee from harm or threats of harm at the workplace. To get a workplace violence restraining order granted, the petitioner must meet a clear and convincing standard and the maximum duration is three years.

There are a few key primary functions that a restraining order can perform. First, a court may grant an order to stop a party from engaging in specific actions such as stalking, threatening, or harassing. Second, orders may force a person to remain a specific distance from a protected party or avoid certain areas such as the protected person’s home, workplace, or vehicle. Restraining orders can also serve to limit communications either directly or indirectly and can include other terms such as debt payments, animal control, recording, etc.

Furthermore, a court can decide to issue an order instructing the restrained party to leave the domicile of the protected person and remove his or her personal belongings until the court holds a hearing in certain types of restraining order cases. A removal or move-out order is typically something the court reserves for cases involving elder abuse or domestic violence. An attorney experienced with restraining orders in Walnut Creek could provide information on how best to avoid violating any above-referenced orders.

What Happens if a Restraining Order is Violated?

In California, it is illegal under California Penal Code 273.6 and Penal Code section 166 to violate a restraining order, even if the restrained party is unaware he or she is violating the order. If the courts determine that someone has broken his or her restraining order, the local prosecutor will most likely bring misdemeanor charges resulting in up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $1000. If a restrained party violates a restraining order in the context of a family law or civil case, the family and civil court may intervene and hold the offender in contempt of court upon the filing of an order to show cause.

Violating a protective order is highly frowned upon by the court. Judges have very little patience for people who undermine their authority, especially if it places another person in potential danger. Contacting a restraining order attorney in Walnut Creek with experience in criminal and quasi-criminal contempt actions may be necessary to mitigate the potential legal consequences after violating a restraining order.

Speak With a Walnut Creek Restraining Order Attorney

If you are being restrained by a protective order in California, your life and freedom are already being severely impacted. On the other hand, if you believe you need to file a restraining order against another party, you may be unsure of how to proceed and need guidance through the cumbersome world of restraining orders. Speaking with a Walnut Creek restraining order lawyer could be highly beneficial whether you are filing or defending against a restraining order. Contact our office and schedule a consultation. We can arrange to discuss your case in detail today.

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