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What Evidence Do I Need for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

If you find yourself in a situation where you need protection from domestic violence or have to defend yourself against restraining order allegations, understanding the burden of proof for a domestic violence restraining order is vital.

What Constitutes a Domestic Relationship?

To file a domestic violence restraining order, you must first understand what California defines as a domestic relationship. Basically, in California, you can file a domestic violence restraining order for protection against:

  • A spouse or a former spouse
  • A person you currently are or were formerly dating
  • A person who is closely related to you (father, child, grandparent, in-law, etc.)
  • The parent of your child
  • Someone who lives in the same household as you (cohabitant)

Understanding who can file a domestic violence restraining order is the first step. The second is ensuring you have the evidence needed to show the courts that a restraining order is warranted.

The Burden of Proof in a Domestic Violence Restraining Order

Most individuals have heard the legal term “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the standard of evidence required in criminal courts. However, restraining orders are handled in civil courts and have a lower burden of proof. For a domestic violence restraining order, the burden of proof is a “preponderance of the evidence.” You must show, by a preponderance of evidence, that the court should rule in your favor.

Preponderance of evidence simply means that it is more likely than not. Contrary to popular belief, the preponderance of the evidence doesn’t require a mere 51% likelihood. Instead, it means just slightly over 50%, like a feather tipping the scale. While it may seem like an easy threshold to meet, it’s crucial to understand that presenting evidence correctly is paramount.

At The Nieves Law Firm, our domestic violence lawyers understand the significance of properly presenting your case. Even though the burden of proof is lower than in criminal courts, we do our best to leave no room for doubt and skillfully advocate for your rights.

What Constitutes Violence in a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

To obtain a domestic violence restraining order, the petitioner must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the respondent committed past acts of abuse or harassment as defined by the family code. Abuse can encompass various forms, from physical to sexual to coercive behavior, or anything that disturbs the peace. California Family Code 6203 further explains that abuse does not necessarily mean there was a physical injury.

Proving past acts of abuse often involves gathering various forms of evidence, such as medical records, witness testimonies, and communication logs. Our compassionate team at The Nieves Law Firm is well-versed in the legal intricacies and is dedicated to helping you compile a compelling case.

Seeking Justice with The Nieves Law Firm

We recognize that navigating the legal process can be overwhelming, especially in sensitive matters like domestic violence restraining orders. Our team stands ready to support and guide you through every step of the process.

Your safety and well-being are of utmost importance to us. Whether you need to obtain a restraining order to protect yourself or defend against baseless allegations, we are here to advocate for your rights. If you find yourself in need of a domestic violence restraining order or need to contest a restraining order filed against you, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Author Bio

Jimarielle ‘Mari’ Bowie is a lawyer at The Nieves Law Firm, having joined the firm in March of 2022. Jimarielle is bilingual and represents both Spanish and English-speaking clients. Her care of the injustices in our current system go beyond her job, as she frequently works as an activist, protester, and organizer for causes related to systemic injustices. At The Nieves Law Firm, Jimarielle represents clients facing criminal issues related to assault and battery, DUIs, domestic violence, sex crimes, and theft, along with legal issues related to Motions to Vacate and restraining orders.

Jimarielle received her law degree from Charleston School of Law, graduating Magna Cum Laude. The feat is more impressive when you take into account the fact that she graduated law school and passed the California Bar all while pregnant with her second child. Jimarielle’s legal experience includes working for non-profits in the legal sector and defending clients accused of crimes while at the Solano County Public Defender’s Office.

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