Home is supposed to be the place to which you retreat at the end of each day. The family comes together for meals and settles into a daily routine. Friends come by to share good times. Neighbors help each other out and form special bonds.
It seems that every neighborhood has the odd ducks, the people who prefer to remain private or who may even be rude. You may ignore them or make exceptions for their behavior. However, occasionally an interaction with a neighbor turns ugly, and you may feel the safety of your family is in danger.
What are my rights when my neighbor threatens me?
If someone is harassing or threatening you, it is likely that you don't feel safe trying to have a reasonable discussion to work things out. In fact, law enforcement may not recommend that course of action if your neighbor is doing any of the following:
- Committing acts of violence against you
- Threatening you with violence
To protect yourself and your family, you may decide to file for a Civil Restraining Order against your neighbor. A judge issuing a CRO may order your neighbor to leave you alone, stay a certain distance away from you and even relinquish any weapons.
What is the process of getting a CRO?
The first step is to complete the forms requesting the order. There are up to five different forms to complete, and you can obtain them from the courthouse or from the website of the California government. You then file them at superior court, and the court will issue a temporary restraining order within 24 hours.
On the date of your hearing, you will go to court and be prepared to testify to the reasons why you have requested the order. To prove your case, you may present statements from witnesses, photos, police reports, medical reports or any evidence of altercations between you and your neighbor. Your neighbor will also have the right to speak in his own defense.
Having an ally at your side
As you can see, filing for a restraining order is a delicate, complex process. There are numerous forms to complete and steps to follow. If you feel unsafe in your home because a neighbor harasses or threatens you, you do not want to take a chance that a mistake on your application for protection will delay that order.
Contacting an attorney to help you will not only provide you with someone to guide you through the process of filing for a restraining order, but will provide someone who will stand up for you and speak on your behalf during your hearing. If the circumstances between you and your neighbor don't improve, a lawyer can also provide legal counsel for dealing with the situation.