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How do I get a Civil Harassment Restraining Order in California

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Recently updated on December 5th, 2023 at 11:17 pm

A Civil Harassment Restraining Order (CHRO) is a type of court order anyone in California can get if they have suffered harassment, which may ask the other party to stop the harassment actions, stay away and impose other restrictions.

In California law (Code of Civil Procedure §527.6), a person who has suffered harassment may seek a temporary restraining order and an injunction prohibiting harassment.

To obtain a Civil Harassment Restraining Order in California, you can follow these general steps:

Step 1. Confirm that the Civil Harassment Restraining Order is the Correct type for your situations

There are a few different types of restraining orders and typically only one of them may apply to your situation. The first step is to see if any of the different types of restraining order applies to your situation or is remotely related as that might help you decide whether to apply .

The types are:

Domestic Violence is for situations involving domestic violence which is when a victim has been abused by a romantic partner (spouse, domestic partner, girlfriend/boyfriend) or a family member. For a complete overview of what is domestic violence please review: What is the legal definition of Domestic Violence in California

 

Civil harassmentapplies to situations involving repeated irritating behavior, stalking, abuse, or threatened by someone you are not as close to as is required under domestic violence cases. So CHRO is suitable for situations involving a a roommate, a neighbor, or more distant family members like cousins, aunts or uncles, or nieces or nephews.

 

Elder Abuse: A senior citizen (or an adult who cannot function independently) is being abused by a caretaker, neighbor or child .

 

 

Gun Violence: Typically, a police officer or sheriff who thinks someone might hurt themselves or someone else with a gun. This can stop that person from buying or owning a gun. It can't order them to stay away from someone.

 

Workplace Violence: An employer usually requests these to protect their employee(s) from a person who has stalked, harassed, been violent or threatened violence at the workplace.

 

 

School Violenceinvolves violence, or threat of, against one or more students of a private postsecondary (after high school) school. This type of restraining order may only be granted if the threat of violence is for an act that would likely take place on the school's campus, and is requested by school official.

 

Step 2. Prepare the Court Forms

In order to apply for a restraining order, you need to fill and submit a specific set of official California court forms. These have questions aimed at understanding your situation and the people involved.

Nothing happens until you file the forms. So its a good idea to step through the forms even if you think you don't plan to file for a protection order right now, to get

You can prepare your court forms anonymously here.

You can then file them online when you've thought through all aspects.  There are special protections for victims, and you're protected even if your immigration status is undocumented in United States.

 

Step 3. File the Court Forms

Typically these are filed at your county's Superior Court. Some of these courts are also called Family Justice Center.

Step 4. Get a Temporary Order 

Depending on the facts and evidence presented, a Judge can issue a restraining order with immediate effect until the hearing, called an Emergency Temporary Order.  In relatively less risky situations, a temporary order is issued in a few days.

If there are no grounds or if the application is incomplete or the jurisdiction is incorrect the application may be rejected.

The temporary order is only valid for about 3 weeks which is the amount of time until the hearing. If the hearing is delayed for any reason, you need to check with the court to ensure the temporary order is renewed until the hearing.

 

Step 5. Present Evidence in a Court Hearing 

Attend a hearing: The court holds a hearing within a couple of weeks where the evidence is examined. If there is sufficient supporting evidence as determined by a Judge, a full restraining order is issued. At this point it becomes a crime for the abuser to break the conditions of the restraining order.

 

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Step 6. Collect the Final Order

After the hearing, a final order may be issued. You can take a paper copy of the order with you. The order is typically valid for five years.

 

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