After reporting a domestic violence matter to the police, victims can file for temporary protection from further abuse before the judge hears and determines their case. Judges issue temporary restraining orders to keep alleged victims safe before they resolve whatever issues they are having with the restrained person. The order remains in effect for only a few days, after which the judge can lift it or issue a permanent protective order, depending on the underlying matter.

If someone has obtained a TRO against you, it helps to know its legal implications and your options. You also need to understand and protect your rights. Our experienced Anaheim criminal defense attorneys at California Criminal Lawyer Group can help you. We will walk the difficult legal journey with you and fight alongside you for a favorable outcome in your case.

An Overview of Domestic Violence Protective Orders

Domestic violence is any kind of violence or abuse against someone you have a close relationship with. A victim of domestic violence can be any of the following:

  • Your current or divorced spouse.
  • A current or past registered domestic partner.
  • Your existing or past cohabitant.
  • A current or past boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Your child, legally adopted child, or step-child.
  • A person you have a blood relationship with.
  • A person related to you through marriage.
  • Your parents/step-parents or grandparents.
  • Anyone you live with in the same residence.

When police officers respond to a domestic violence situation, they will likely arrest someone in most cases. They do so, assuming that the person who has called for help is the victim. The arrest separates the alleged victim and abuser to stop the violence and abuse before the two resolve their matter before a judge. The police will then report the domestic violence case to the prosecutor for filing purposes. Based on the circumstances of the case, the responding officer can advise the alleged victim to obtain a protective order against their abuser for temporary protection before the judge concludes their case.

If the victim of domestic violence is a minor, an adult can obtain a protective order on their behalf. But a child aged twelve or older can receive a protective order on their behalf if they are in a domestic violence situation. Once the victim obtains the order of protection, they can continue their lives without fear of abuse or violence by the restrained person. They can call the police on the restrained person if the person violates the protective order.

In some cases, the police can obtain an emergency protective order on behalf of domestic violence victims. These are crucial issues where the victim faces imminent danger and cannot wait to go through the entire court process to obtain a temporary restraining order. Emergency protective orders are available around the clock. They are also processed quickly to avoid delays that could endanger the victim’s life.

A domestic violence victim can file for a protective order for their safety or the safety of their loved ones. If they feel that their immediate family could also be in danger of harm by the restrained person, the victim can request that the judge include them in the protective order.

It helps to understand how domestic violence protective orders work if a judge has issued one against you. That could happen if you have allegedly harmed or threatened to harm someone close to you. The order will keep your victims safe by stopping you from harming them again or carrying out threats. It could keep you separated at least until the judge issues a final verdict on your domestic violence matter.

Temporary Restraining Orders

A domestic violence partner can obtain a temporary restraining order against their abuser or someone threatening them with abuse or violence. But to do that, they must follow a court process, which includes filling out the required documents and submitting them to the court. In the documents, the applicant must explain their situation in detail and how a temporary protective order will help them remain safe until the resolution of their case. The applicant must explain the nature of abuse or violence they face.

After completing the required paperwork and handing it over to a court clerk, the clerk will give them a return date. It is the day the judge will hear their domestic violence case. If, from the paperwork, it is clear to the court clerk that the applicant is in imminent danger of violence or abuse, the clerk will have them fill out an application for a temporary restraining order. The judge will sign the order, and the clerk will hand it over to the victim.

A TRO’s validity is usually between 20 and 25 days, or when the judge hears and concludes the domestic violence case. It could last for up to three weeks. After that, the judge can lift the restraining order or issue the victim a permanent one. It all depends on the conclusion of the underlying matter.

Note that not all domestic violence cases necessitate the issuance of a protective order. A TRO is only necessary if the victim or anyone in the victim’s family is or will likely face abuse or violence. The victim can file for a TRO without notifying the other party. The restrained person’s presence in court is unnecessary for a judge to sign and issue an order of protection. A judge will not hesitate to grant a domestic violence TRO if adequate facts support its need.

If a person files for a protective order, they must serve it on you (the person the order restrains), together with other court documents. That should happen at least five days before the court hearing. That way, you will know about the restraining order and your limitations. You also deserve to know the hearing dates to prepare for trial. The TRO will be in effect once you have it in your hands. The protected person in the order must ensure that you legally receive the restraining order. They can deliver it in person, through their attorney, the police, or a third-party adult.

A TRO applicant cannot leave the order in your mailbox or on your doorstep. They cannot leave it on your office desk or in your car and assume you will receive it. If a court order is not served correctly, it is ineffective. It means that you cannot be guilty of violating such an order. The TRO applicant must ensure that you have received the order in person.

Once you have the order, you must review it to understand its content and limitations. The order will contain the day and date of your domestic violence case hearing, details of the order, and a copy of documents the protected person will have filed with the court about the underlying case. Once you have the order and supporting documents, you have between 10 and 20 days before the hearing date to respond to the protected person’s claim. The most advisable thing to do is to seek the help of a skilled criminal attorney. Your attorney will study your case's order and other details to advise you on your options.

Judges issue temporary protective orders when they believe that one person has demonstrated violent or threatening behavior against another, affecting the victim to the point that they think they are in danger. Your behavior does not necessarily have to be physical; it can be emotional or psychological. The order keeps you away from the alleged victim until a judge determines that you are no longer a danger to them.

Judges can only issue temporary restraining orders against alleged abusers within their jurisdiction. If you live in another state or country, a local judge cannot issue an order of protection against you. But the judge could have jurisdiction over the matter in the following circumstances, even if you reside outside of California:

  • If you have strong ties to the state, for example, if you travel frequently to see family or for work, or if you lived in California but recently moved to another state,
  • If a court issues a protective order against you while you are still in California,
  • If the victim demonstrates that one act of violence or abuse against them happened in California. For example, if you sent them threatening messages or made a harassing call to them from another state, but the alleged victim read your messages or answered your calls while in California. That means the abuse happened in California, even if you committed the crime while out of the state.

But even when the above circumstances do not apply, the victim can still obtain a temporary protective order against you while in another state. If they apply to the court, the judge will review their case to decide if the circumstances warrant issuing a protective order. If the local judge cannot issue a protective order, the victim can file the same request in the local court where you reside. They can do so if they can appear in court in person and follow through with the case until its conclusion.

The Requirements of a Domestic Violence TRO

The details of your domestic violence TRO will depend on the facts of the underlying case. Typically, protective orders provide limitations you must abide by throughout the order. Here are some of the rules your order can carry:

  • Not to follow, threaten, assault, abuse, stalk or harass the protected person.
  • Not to damage the protected person’s property.
  • Not to disturb the peace of those protected by the TRO.
  • Not to make contact with the protected person, directly or indirectly, through electronic media.

The judge will also issue specific directives for your case and the victim’s situation. Examples of these particular directives are:

  • An order to grant the protected person exclusive control, care, or possession of pets you or your children cared for. You must stay away from that pet and not hurt it.
  • A requirement to move out of the home you shared with the victim, even if you are the tenant or owner of that home.
  • An order to pay child support or alimony if the protected person is your spouse.
  • A requirement to grant the protected person possession or temporary ownership of some of the assets you jointly possess, like a car, computer, or home. The judge could require you to pay any debts linked to those assets.
  • A requirement to compensate the protected person for all the losses they could have incurred due to the abuse or ongoing case. Some of the damages you could be required to pay include medical costs, shelter costs, legal and counseling fees, and dental care costs.
  • The judge could order you to cover the protected person’s legal fee if they cannot afford it and you have the financial ability.
  • A court order to attend a batterer’s therapy program and other counseling and treatment programs the judge deems necessary.
  • The requirement to transfer a mobile phone account you share with the protected person to their name alone to enable them to keep their existing number and the phone number for minors under their care.
  • If the court grants you custody of your minor children, you could be ordered to allow the protected person to visit them. If not, the judge will give the victim sole custody of the children. The judge decides where minor children will live in domestic violence cases. They also decide where and how parents will spend time with their children. You must comply with the judge’s decision.
  • The judge could order you to attend anger management classes or other treatment programs, like parenting classes. Requirements like these depend on the circumstances of your case. The judge will order you to undergo treatment and rehabilitation until they are convinced you have benefited from them.
  • If the judge agrees, you must also give everything else the protected person requests.

How You Can Violate a Temporary Restraining Order

Violating a TRO occurs if you fail to abide by all the terms and conditions of the order. This violation can result in an arrest and fresh criminal charges against you. Remember that you must read and understand the provisions of a protective order once the protected person serves you with one. You could seek the help of a skilled criminal attorney to understand your limitations even better. It is critical to comply with all the restrictions stipulated in the order, even if you feel they are unfair or unjustified. You will have the opportunity to fight the order and its provisions during the court hearing.

Violating a court-issued order is a misdemeanor, punishable by time in jail and a court fine. If you cannot justify your violation, the judge could sentence you to up to one year in jail.

In some cases, violating a TRO is a wobbler offense. It means that the prosecutor can charge you with a misdemeanor or felony. For example, if the violation involved acts of violence or was your second time violating a protective order, you could face felony charges. A felony violation is punishable by a maximum of three years in jail and a court fine of $10,000.

If the protected person reports that you have violated the TRO, the judge can issue a warrant for your arrest. They will also schedule a hearing to determine the circumstances of your violation and its consequences. You can have legal representation during this hearing to fight the order and conviction. Your attorney can present evidence and arguments supporting your actions or seek the court’s leniency. If they succeed, the judge can lift the order, change some of its limitations, or continue the order as it is until its expiration.

Here are some of the strategies your attorney can use to fight your charges for TRO violations:

The Violation Was By Accident

You are guilty of violating a TRO if you intentionally or deliberately violate one or more of its provisions. For example, if the TRO orders you to stay away from the protected person at a given distance, you violate the order if you come close to them in the streets, at home, or at work. But sometimes, that can happen by accident if you find the victim in an area where you least expected to find them. For example, bumping into them at the grocery store, party, or bar. If the violation was only accidental, the judge will not penalize you.

The TRO Was Unlawful

There are several indications of a lawful or valid TRO. First, it must be issued and signed by a judge. The order must be given following a domestic violence case. It must contain the protected person's name, the date and time of the hearing, and the reasons for its issuance. You must receive the order in person, through the means legally allowed for serving court orders. It is not valid if you obtained the order through other than legally acceptable means or did not receive it at all. In that case, you are not guilty of violating it.

The Prosecutor Does Not Have Sufficient Evidence Against You

During the TRO violation hearing, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you violated a court-issued order. They must support their arguments with sufficient evidence. The judge cannot issue a guilty verdict if that does not happen. A mere claim by the protected person that you violated the order is not enough to convict you if there is no evidence to demonstrate the violation.

What To Do After Receiving a Temporary Restraining Order

If someone has obtained a TRO against you, it is advisable to review the order first to understand its content. First, understand that the judge issued the order following a domestic violence report they received. There will be a date and time for your case's hearing and determination. If you fail to attend the hearing, the judge can continue and even issue a final verdict in your absence. Chances are high that the judge will rule in favor of the victim. It is necessary to take time to understand what the order means.

Purpose to adhere to the limitations stipulated in the order. If the order requires you to stay within a particular distance of the victim, take note of that and ensure you honor the order. Some of the order’s conditions will seem unfair or unjustified. But violating the order will have severe consequences and could worsen your legal situation. If you abide by all the conditions of the order, it will be easier for the judge to lift it and not issue a permanent restraining order.

Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney for guidance, support, and legal representation. You need the help of an attorney to understand your TRO’s conditions and options. Your attorney will take time to help you understand the intricacies of your case and establish whether you are a danger to the victim. They will break down the order’s restrictions in a language you can easily understand. They will also plan a strong defense against the underlying domestic violence charges. That way, you can avoid a conviction and the possibility of a permanent restraining order. Your attorney will be with you during your most trying moments. They will guide, advise, and emotionally support you until the end of your case.

Find a Skilled Anaheim Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me

Has anyone obtained a temporary protective order against you in Anaheim?

Judges can issue a TRO in domestic violence situations if the victim fears for their or their loved one’s safety. The order will contain restrictions and requirements you must abide by during the order’s period. A TRO will last a maximum of 30 days, after which the judge can lift it or issue a permanent protective order. Working closely with a skilled criminal attorney will help you in several ways. Your attorney will simplify the order for you, ensure that you abide by all its requirements, and fight alongside you until the judge lifts it. We will also protect your rights and fight for a fair resolution of your case at California Criminal Lawyer Group. Call us at 714-766-0965 for more information about temporary restraining orders.