Fisher Law Office

How do I get a restraining order?

If you live in fear, you understand that it is no life at all. Whether your fear stems from a confrontation with a neighbor, your estranged spouse or someone who isn't convinced that you aren't interested in a romantic relationship, you have a right to feel safe in your own home and at work.

Obtaining a restraining order may have crossed your mind, but the thought of undertaking an unfamiliar legal process while you are emotionally distraught may be too much. However, with your safety on the line, it may help to have a general understanding of what to expect after you file for an order of protection.

How do I start the process?

California courts take your safety seriously, so a judge will typically give you a hearing as soon as you file your request for a restraining order. This hearing is called "ex parte," which is a Latin phrase meaning "only one side." You will have a chance to tell the judge the circumstances you are facing and the reason for requesting an order of protection. The judge will review your request and decide if it warrants a temporary restraining order until the date of your full hearing.

While the ex parte hearing involves only you, your abuser or stalker will be permitted to attend the full hearing, so you should be prepared to meet him or her face to face that day. During this hearing, both sides will have an opportunity to tell their full stories to the judge, who will rule whether the situation warrants a permanent order of protection.

What will happen at the full hearing?

It will be understandable if you feel nervous as the date of your hearing approaches. However, if you fail to show up, the judge will automatically deny your request for protection. On the other hand, if the defendant does not come, the judge is likely to grant your request. In addition to you and the defendant, there will also be a deputy sheriff for your protection and a court reporter. A clerk will handle any evidence you or the defendant present, including:

  • Pictures of injuries the defendant caused
  • Medical records related to injuries
  • Police records
  • Pictures of property damage
  • Threatening voice mails, texts, emails or other communication from the defendant

You may also bring along any witnesses who can corroborate your story. Witnesses are often especially convincing. After you have presented your evidence, the defendant will have an opportunity to respond with his or her own evidence. The judge will then make a ruling.

If the judge agrees to your request, the order will remain valid for as long as California law allows. The judge may impose many terms on the defendant, such as paying your medical bills. Your attorney will be able to assist you in requesting additional terms from the judge.

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Fisher Law Office

1322 Morro Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-4028

Phone: 805-706-0205
Fax: 805-542-0464
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