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What Evidence Do You Need for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order?

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If you plan on filing a civil harassment restraining order, it is important that you understand what evidence will be relevant in your case. A civil harassment restraining order is used when people who don’t have an intimate relationship want someone else to stay away from them. Basically, it is used to stop harassment from a variety of individuals, such as neighbors, friends, and others. Usually, the orders that the judge makes include things like stay away from this person’s school, home, or car. They can also include orders to stay away from their place of business, and the restraining order may list some additional people who can be protected by the restraining order. These are known as protected parties.

So, when you’ve been served with a request for a restraining order, usually that person has made allegations that you’ve either made some credible threat of violence towards them or you’ve been harassing them in some way. Usually, it’s a conclusory statement along the lines of, “I’ve been harassed because of X, Y, and Z.” For example, they may say some something like “They keep speeding past my home or they’re parking in my parking spot or they’ve been looking in my window.” While it can get way more serious than that, those are some common examples of what a person may say about their harassment.

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What Evidence is the Judge Looking For?

When a judge is determining whether a restraining order should be granted or denied, they are typically looking at whether or not there is clear and convincing evidence that either credible threat of violence has been made or there’s an ongoing course of conduct that seriously annoys, harasses, or alarms, and serves no legitimate purpose. So, if somebody has threatened you, threatened your life, threatened your family, has actually done physical harm to you, or other things like that, that’ll fall into the credible threat of violence category.

It’s not just like, “Oh, my neighbor gets on my nerves.” There has to be clear and convincing evidence that you need some sort of protection, either from physical harm or serious emotional distress. If you go into your restraining order hearing and you start talking about a lot of stuff that doesn’t really matter, the judge may not necessarily be able to hear the key points of your argument.

Making a Clear and Concise Argument

It is also important to understand that you must be clear and concise in your argument either for or against a restraining order. Typically, there are going to be multiple cases at the same time as yours and the judge is probably going to give each party in each case about 10 minutes to state their case. So, you’re going to need to get in there and make your case as clearly and concisely as possible so that the judge hears the key elements of your argument. If you have multiple witnesses and substantial evidence to present to the judge, it can often prove beneficial to hire an attorney that is well-versed in restraining order cases.

If you work with our firm, we do our best to effectively and clearly and get those things into evidence and actually considered by the judge by utilizing what’s called a long-cause calendar. In a long-cause calendar, we reserve an afternoon (we maybe share it with one other case) and we set aside a significant amount of time so that your evidence can be clearly and thoroughly considered by the court.

Contact The Nieves Law Firm if You Need Help with a Restraining Order

If you find yourself in need of assistance either filing or contesting a restraining order filed against you, we may be able to help. Our team has substantial experience with restraining order cases, and we’ve been able to secure great case results on behalf of our clients. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your options.

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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