Do You Need Help With a Domestic Violence Restraining Order in California?
Every year, more than 12 million people in America become victims of domestic violence. The victims are overwhelmingly women. Sadly, children also suffer from domestic violence even when they are not the intended victims. While domestic violence has trended downward over the past two decades, particularly for men, it remains high for women and children. If you are a victim of domestic violence, a Sacramento California family lawyer may protect you and your family from further harm. Unfortunately, we have also seen people misuse this tool for their own ends.
A domestic violence restraining order is a court order that prohibits restrained persons from continuing to abuse or threaten to abuse their victims. In fact, it prevents them from communicating with or visiting the person who successfully filed the order. This offers excellent protection to victims who need it. However, when the filer is not a true victim and has children with the accused person, this can disrupt parent-child relationships.
What Do Courts Consider Domestic Violence?
There is a general consensus in courts and everyday conversations that causing physical harm counts as domestic violence. However, the line is not always as clear when it comes to sexual abuse and defining consent, especially between a married couple.
These differences of opinion are reflected all across the country as lawmakers grapple with defining consent and domestic violence within state lines. In the state of California, courts consider the following instances to be abuse:
- Sexually assaulting an individual
- Threatening harm and causing someone to fear for their safety or someone else’s
- Destroying personal property
- Causing physical harm to someone, whether recklessly or intentionally
- Stalking, threatening or harassing someone
The type of abuse may also determine the type of restraining order the court brings into effect. The main types are temporary, emergency, permanent and criminal protective orders.
How Does a Restraining Order Protect Victims?
California upholds not just its own restraining orders but also those issued by another state. You have the right to register an out-of-state order, but you are not obligated to do so. Even if you choose not to, valid restraining orders are still enforceable. Most people who have DVROs use them to end communication and create physical distance.
Restrained people may be forbidden from communicating with or being near you, your children, other family members, housemates and even your pets. They may also need to stay away from your workplace and your children’s schools. If you currently live together, the DVRO can act as a court order for the person to leave and even complete a year-long program for batterers.
Restraining orders may also include some specific stipulations. For instance, the restrained person could be ordered to pay alimony, pay child support, return personal property, pay bills or transfer certain types of accounts. Some orders may even prevent the restrained person from making changes to their life insurance policies.
How Can Restraining Orders Negatively Impact the Accused?
If the people accusing the abuser are telling the truth, many people are likely to see any effects that benefit victims as justice. There is some truth to this, but what if the allegations are exaggerated or false? How far is far enough and how far is too far? What if the couple has a child together and the restrained person poses no threat to the child?
As a restrained person, you might become temporarily homeless after complying with court orders to leave your home. If you worked in the same building or area as the person accusing you, you might have to give up your job to comply with the order and avoid complications.
You might also lose certain legal rights in the process. For instance, if you are an immigrant, it could affect your ability to remain in the United States. While a DVRO may not lead to the termination of parental rights, it does create difficulties with maintaining a parental relationship with your children.
Gun ownership rights also get taken away in most instances, while the order is in effect. You might find it impossible to legally purchase a weapon or store one. If you already own a weapon, you could get asked to turn it in. If your line of work requires the use of a firearm, such as law enforcement or armed security, this could cost you your income.
Who Can Get a Sacramento California DVRO?
Almost everyone who experiences domestic violence can file for a domestic violence restraining order. However, it’s important to consider the relationship between the individuals involved. If two roommates have a fight, for instance, courts are unlikely to consider this domestic violence unless there is proof that there was more to the relationship than sharing a living space.
To file for a DVRO, you must have suffered either actual or threatened abuse as well as have a relationship with the individual that meets one of the following criteria:
- Married couples or registered domestic partners
- Couples who are separated or divorced
- Couples who live together or used to
- People who are currently dating or used to
- Both parents of a child
- Family members
Parents can file restraining orders on behalf of their children. Children who are 12 years and older also have the right to file a restraining order for themselves.
How Can Judy Ford Attorney at Law Help?
We have spent the past decade and a half serving families through the good times and the bad. Because we handle both sides of DVROs, we review each case thoroughly before making a decision about whether to take on the client. We meet with prospective clients, listen to their sides of the story, review any evidence they can present and then decide.
If you are a victim, you may find that many attorneys in this practice area are eager to represent you in court and get you the justice you deserve. When people are accused of domestic violence, it is often more difficult to find attorneys willing to take the case, even when you’re innocent.