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Domestic Violence & Restraining Orders in CA


If you have been arrested for domestic violence in California, not only will you face harsh criminal penalties (e.g., jail time and fines) if convicted, but you can also be subject to a restraining order filed by the alleged victim. Also known as a protective order, a domestic violence restraining order prevents the alleged abuser from contacting the victim and his/her family/household members and visiting them, as well as possessing and purchasing a firearm and even child support, alimony, and the alleged victim’s legal fees. 

The following are the three types of domestic violence restraining orders in California: 

  • Emergency protective order (EPO) – This type of protective order can be obtained at any time, day or night. A police officer responding to a domestic violence call can contact a judge and request an EPO on behalf of the alleged victim. If the judge believes the victim is in immediate or present danger of domestic violence, then an EPO will be issued and valid for either five business days or seven calendar days, whichever is sooner. During this time, the victim can ask for a “permanent” domestic violence restraining order. 

  • Temporary restraining order (TRO) – When the alleged victim requests a domestic violence restraining order at the local court, he/she must complete paperwork, detail the events that have led up to his/her request, and why he/she needs a restraining order. If the judge believes you are in immediate or present danger of domestic violence, a TRO will be issued. The TRO is valid between 20 and 25 days, until the hearing date for the permanent restraining order. 

  • Permanent restraining order – Also known as the final domestic violence restraining order, the judge will decide whether to issue the court order after hearing both parties. If the judge rules in favor of the alleged victim, the restraining order will last up to five years. 

Violating a restraining order in California is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail term of one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000. In order to avoid being subject to a domestic violence protective order, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. 

If you have been accused of domestic violence in Santa Rosa, call the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. at (707) 418-5352 or fill out our online contact form today to request a free initial consultation.