If you have been served with a notice that someone has filed a request for a protective order against you in California, you may be surprised or you may be expecting the notification. Either way, it is imperative that you take the matter seriously. One of your first questions may be, “can I contest a request for a protective order in California?” The answer to that question is “yes.” Not only can you contest the request for a protective order in most cases, but you should do so if you believe the petitioner does not have grounds for one.
In the state of California, an individual can request a protective order under a number of different circumstances. Some of the more common types of protective orders include:
- Domestic violence restraining orders
- Civil harassment restraining orders
- Elder and dependent adult abuse restraining order
- Workplace violence prevention restraining order
- Criminal restraining order
With the exception of a criminal restraining order, the process for obtaining a protective order (or restraining order) is essentially the same. An alleged victim must fill out the required paperwork and submit it to the appropriate court. The petitioner must allege facts that would support the issuance of a restraining order, such as abuse, threats of abuse, or harassment. In some cases, if the judge feels there is an immediate threat of harm, the court will issue an emergency ex parte order. That order is only good until the hearing set by the court. The respondent is then served with the petition and any supporting documents. The respondent is also notified of the hearing date set by the court.
At the hearing, both sides are allowed to present evidence and/or testimony. Do not assume, even if an emergency order was issued, that a court will automatically grant a request for a protective order. Judges are aware that the legal system is sometimes abused by vindictive, jealous, or spiteful individuals. If you present evidence that contradicts the allegations made by the petitioner, the court may very well deny the request.
The process for a criminal restraining order is a bit different. If you are actually charged with a criminal offense and the offense includes an alleged victim, the criminal court judge may issue a criminal restraining order as a matter of course. This does not mean, however, that you cannot request the order be vacated.
The key to contesting any restraining order is to have an experienced California criminal defense attorney on your side. If you’ve had a protective order filed against you, contact San Diego restraining order attorney Domenic J. Lombardo immediately at (619) 232-5122 for a free and confidential consultation.