I Have an Active Restraining Order; What’s Next?

A restraining order is a legal document used to prevent a specific person from being able to abuse you or harass you. When someone violates a restraining order, they could face jail time, fines, or both. When filing your civil or domestic restraining order, it will depend on the specifics of your situation. Civil restraining orders are used to protect you from people with whom you do not share a residence. A civil order would also apply to those without a domestic relationship but who have a history of stalking you or showering you with unwanted and threatening attention. A domestic violence restraining order applies to people in your household if they have threatened or tried to harm you.

How to Enforce a Restraining Order

Once you have an active restraining order, you should give copies to everyone who may need one.

  • Always keep a copy of your restraining order on you.
  • Keep another copy of your restraining order in your purse or a bag you carry, like a backpack.
  • Keep a copy of your restraining order in your car glove box.
  • Keep a copy in another location, a safe place.
  • If you have other adults who fall under the protection of the order, give them a copy.
  • Leave copies of your restraining order at locations the restricted person is not allowed.
  • If you live or work in a building with security, give a copy to any on-staff security.
  • File a copy with your local police office and have it entered into CLETS, which is a system that gives police across the state access to the restraining order.

What to Do If a Restrained Person Violates an Active Restraining Order

If you have an active restraining order and you are being stalked by an estranged spouse or someone outside your household, you should follow the steps below:

  • If you see the restrained person and they have violated the order, you must act immediately.
  • Call law enforcement and show them the restraining order.
  • If the restrained person is still on the scene, ask the police to share a copy of the order with them.
  • You will need to have the police complete a Proof of Personal Service (CLETS form DV-200) and return it to you to have it filed with the court.
  • You will need to compile proof, like the names of witnesses who saw the violation and where the violation took place.
  • Ask witnesses to make a statement or declaration on your behalf.
  • Compile other evidence of threatening behavior, like voicemail, text messages, email, or any online listings.
  • Keep copies of any police reports for your records.
  • Medical records will also need to be filed if you were injured.

What Are the Penalties for Violation of a Restraining Order? 

According to CA Penal Code 273.6, if a restrained person violates a protective, there are severe consequences.

Misdemeanor offenses carry the following penalties and fines:

  • A year or less in country jail
  • A fine of $1000 or less

Felony offenses carry the following penalties and fines:

  • A fine of $10,000 or less
  • Three years or less in a California state prison

If the restrained individual has previous violent acts or has violated the order in another instance, the case could become a wobbler case, meaning the prosecutor could decide to charge stiffer penalties and fines.

Is It Hard to Get a Restraining Order in California?

If you need a restraining order, do not hesitate to reach out to a legal representative. You can start by requesting a temporary restraining order, which requires less proof and will give you the opportunity to exhibit why you need the protection. A temporary order is, as the name suggests, for a short time. A temporary restraining order can be replaced with a full restraining order once a hearing is convened and more evidence is presented. If you are in danger and need protection due to harassment, stalking, or domestic violence, the attorneys at Palmer and Rodak are available to assist in your case. Call us today at (760) 573-2223 to schedule a consultation.